Plenary Line-up

Rashida Manjoo / South Africa



Rashida Manjoo is a Professor and convenor of the Human Rights Program in the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is also a Visiting Professor at Queen Mary University, London.

Until July 2015, she held the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, a post she was appointed to in 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council. Her UN work over six years has  included monitoring and reporting on States' compliance in responding  to and preventing violence against women, its causes and consequences, both generally and in different country contexts. Her research and teaching has focused on the intersectional nature of discrimination, including on the basis of sex, gender, race, class, location, (dis)ability, socio-economic conditions, and historical and cultural contexts. She has particularly highlighted the interaction of interpersonal, communal, institutional and structural factors that negatively impact the interdependence and indivisibility of the human rights of women.

Prof Manjoo is the former Parliamentary Commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equality, an institution created by the Constitution of South Africa, with a mandate to oversee the promotion and protection of gender equality and women's rights. She has also been involved in social context training for judges and lawyers, where she has designed both content and methodology.

Prof Manjoo has over four decades of experience in social justice and human rights work both in South Africa and abroad. Her research interests include human rights broadly with a particular focus on women’s human rights. She has authored a number of journal articles, book chapters and reports on women’s human rights, violence against women, transitional justice, and state responsibility to act with due diligence in the quest to promote and protect the human rights of women. Her book  publications include 'Women's Charters and Declarations -Building  Another World'; 'Due Diligence in Addressing Violence Against Women in Sub-Saharan Africa'; and the recent co-edited book 'The Legal Protection of women from violence - normative gaps in international law'. 



Over the past 40 years I have dedicated my professional life to governing various institutions committed to combatting domestic violence against women, children – and also men. My retirement as CEO of ‘Blijf Groep’ in 2018, has not ended my deeply rooted connection to the causes I have been supporting. As an independent expert new possibilities are arisen. My recent publication on current attitudes towards partner violence in the Netherlands is an example. The honorable membership of GREVIO since September 2018 allows me to employ many aspects of my expertise for the greater good. I’m involved in the Global Network of Women’s Shelters since 2008, currently as a board member of the GNWS Foundation in the Hague.

University skilled in social sciences, I have always tried to continue staying in direct contact with the victims of domestic violence seeking shelter and support, predominantly women and children. Listening to what they had to tell has kept me alert, and open to the real problems. Whether or not explicitly presented. The women and children I met during the past decades are my true inspiration. Their problems must be solved, in the most effective way. To me creating the most effective way means creating high quality, innovative and sustainable organisational frameworks.





 Aleid van den Brink / Netherlands


Christine Schuler Deschuryver / The Democratic Republic Of Congo


The Democratic Republic Of Congo has been named the rape capital of the world, and yet people like Christine Schuler Deschuryver have not lost hope in it, creating a transformational leadership community of women who have survived violence. Describing Buvaku as her home, Christine Schuler Deschuryver is a Congolese Activist who has dedicated her life to run and direct a community called City of Joy in Congo. She is an avid advocate for Congolese Women's rights.

Prior to her work in Congo, Christine has worked as a teacher and an administrator for CARE in Canada and the German Technical Cooperation for 13 years. That has given her enough experience to work as the Director of V-Day's work on the ground in the DRC, including the City of Joy and coordinating campaign activities on the local, provincial and national level. Under her leadership, City of Joy has graduated 1,204 women from its program and they do not plan to stop there. She works closely with the creator of V-day Eve Ensler and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Dr. Denise Mukwege to bring solutions to challenges faced by Congolese women. She is revolutionizing the community of Bukavu one woman at a time!

2000~       Secretary of Public Relations Department, SDP

2001~ 2003  General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party

2003~ 2013  Leader of the Social Democratic Party

2009~2010   Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety,

Social Affairs and Gender Equality

2011           Selected as one of “Global Thinker 100 by Foreign Policy”

Current Responsibilities:

Member, Committee on Budget

Member, Committee on Health, Welfare and Labor

Member, Research Commission on the Constitution

Member, Special Committee on Consumer Affairs

Member, Committee on Oversight of Administration


Over 30 books; 'How to use Domestic Violence Law' 'Diversity of the Contemporary Family'  'Marriage and Family'  'Woman's Studies in the Court' 'the Needless Wiretapping Law' etc.




Mizuho FUKUSHIMA / Japan



Nafula Wafula / Kenya


Nafula is a fierce advocate for gender equality and human rights and is passionate about Pan-Africanism and social justice. She is currently the Vice Chairperson for Policy and Advocacy at the Commonwealth Youth Council. She is also the programs director at Brydges Centre , an organization that provides child rescue and protection services, education and economic empowerment to at-risk youth and out-of-school girls. She is an activist having successfully led actions and petitions addressing sexist advertising and gender based violence and is an active contributor to the blog 'African Feminism'. Her consultancy expertise is on gender based violence prevention and intervention, gender mainstreaming, advocacy and youth participation.

Nafula is an East Africa Acumen Fellow (2015), Laureate Global Fellow(2015), a Spark Kenya Changemaker (2015), Common Purpose Fellow (2016) and an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. She is also a founding member of the Commonwealth Youth, Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN) and an executive board member of the Commonwealth Businesswomen Network. She holds a law degree from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.