Mildred Fish-Harnack Lecture to feature women’s advocate Rashida Manjoo

“Violence against women violates human dignity as well as numerous rights, including the right to equality, physical integrity, freedom and non-discrimination,” said Rashida Manjoo, an internationally recognized lawyer, teacher, and advocate who works to advance women’s rights and human rights around the world.

Rashida Manjoo (UN Photo)
Rashida Manjoo (UN Photo)

“I believe that equality and equal protection doctrines demand that we address violence against women, in all its manifestations, as discrimination against women. It is my hope to work within this framework during my mandate,” Manjoo said in 2009, when she was appointed Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women for the United Nations Human Rights Council.

As Special Rapporteur, she has documented abuse and called attention to nations that fail to comply with international standards on the human rights of women.

Manjoo, a native of South Africa, will talk about the absence of a substantive focus on women in her country’s transition from apartheid and the current challenges in the promotion and protection of women’s human rights there in the 2012 Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights Lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The lecture, titled After the Violence: The Dream of Another Reality, will be held Thursday, September 20, 6:30 p.m., in the Pyle Center’s VandeBerg Auditorium, 702 Langdon St.; it is free and open to the public

Manjoo serves as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and associate professor in the University of Cape Town’s Department of Public Law. She helped to enshrine the rights of women in South Africa’s constitution, leading to the development of the Women’s Charter during the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy. She also served on South Africa’s Commission for Gender Equality (2001-06), a constitutional body created to promote and protect the rights of women.

She also has brought her expertise to the International Criminal Court, where she serves on the advisory board to the court’s Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice and previously served on the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice. Manjoo also is a member of the International Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations and the Women Living under Muslim Laws Network.

Manjoo also has shared her knowledge on American campuses, as the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow with the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, the E. Desmond Lee Visiting Professor for Global Awareness at Webster University, and a distinguished international fellow at the University of Virginia, where she taught courses and consulted on human rights, women’s rights, and transitional justice.

The Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture is named after a Milwaukee native who was a UW–Madison student in the 1920s. While living in Germany, Fish-Harnack assisted in the escape of German Jews and political dissidents. She is the only American civilian executed under the personal instruction of Adolf Hitler, for her resistance to the Nazi regime.

Made possible with funding provided through the Division of International Studies, the Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture is designed to promote greater understanding of human rights and democracy, and enrich international studies at UW-Madison.

Manjoo’s address opens After the Violence: Memory, a conference sponsored by the UW–Madison Center for German and European Studies and the Department of German. This conference is free and open to the public. For more information about the lecture and/or conference, contact Heinz Klug.

– by Kerry G. Hill