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Justice champion Gay J. McDougall appointed to chair Minority Rights Group International

3 June 2014

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is delighted to announce the appointment of Gay J. McDougall as Chair of its International Council.

Ms McDougall is currently the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Fordham Law School Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, and served as the first UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues from 2005 through 2011. She was Executive Director of the international NGO Global Rights from 1994 through 2006.

‘Gay J. McDougall brings to MRG extensive UN experience and an unparalleled commitment to justice for minority communities. We are excited about working with Ms McDougall to fight against discrimination and strengthen the voices of minorities worldwide,’ says Mark Lattimer, MRG’s Executive Director.

Among her many international roles, from 1997 through 2001 she served as an Independent Expert on the UN treaty body that oversees compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, during which time she negotiated the adoption of General Recommendation XXV on the Gender Dimensions of Racial Discrimination, which requires governments to report explicitly on the situation of women impacted by racial discrimination. She played a leadership role in the UN Third World Conference against Racism.

‘I am thrilled to have been chosen to chair the Board of MRG. The organisation has the highest reputation for professionalism, knowledge of the issues and contacts in minority and indigenous communities around the world,’ says Ms McDougall.

Prior to joining Global Rights, Gay J. McDougall served as one of five international members of South Africa’s 16-member Independent Electoral Commission, which successfully organized and administered the country’s first non-racial elections. From 1980 until early 1994, during the apartheid era, she was director of the Southern African Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which supported thousands of political prisoners in South Africa and Namibia.

Among her recent academic roles have been the Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor in International Law at Fordham Law School (2013); the Robert Drinan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. (2011-2012); Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University Washington College of Law (2006-2008); and Professor in the annual Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the American University (2010 and 2012).

‘MRG looks forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with Ms McDougall, and is honoured that she is now responsible for the stewardship of our governing body,’ added Mark Lattimer.

For more information or to arrange interviews with Gay J. McDougall please contact the MRG Press Office.