Ashwanee Budoo-Scholtz is the Deputy Director of the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. She has worked on different human rights issues across the continent and beyond, with a focus on women’s rights, LGBT rights, civic space, transitional justice, state reporting and African human rights institutions.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, she was the Program Manager of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, where she managed 13 African partner universities and the Global Campus of Human Rights’ governing bodies which is composed of more than 100 universities.
She has also supported the research and standard-setting functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa. In this role, she participated in the drafting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children Already in Marriage, developed the drafts of the joint general comment on ending child marriage adopted by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) and the ACHPR, and compiled the ACHPR’s report on ending child marriage in Africa.
She further co-drafted the Senegalese Talibés case that was submitted to the ACERWC by the Centre and RADDHO. Ashwanee has also consulted on diverse human rights themes for several organizations including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Regional Office for Southern Africa, the African Union, Digital Frontiers, the Network of National Human Rights Institutions, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, American Bar Association, African Network of Constitutional Lawyers, Equality Now, Young Queer Alliance and the Open University of Mauritius.
Ashwanee is the co-editor of the two-volume series on Violence Against Women and Criminal Justice in Africa. A Mauritian citizen, Ashwanee holds an LLB degree from the University of Mauritius, and LLM and LLD degrees from the University of Pretoria. She is fluent in English, French, Mauritian Creole, Hindi and has an intermediate knowledge of Portuguese.