IGLHRC Welcomes New Africa Program Coordinator and Ric Weiland Research and Policy Associate

In June 2009, we welcomed two new staff members to IGLHRC, both of whom will significantly enhance our capacity to respond to human rights violations around the world.

Monica Mbaru joins IGLHRC as our new Africa Program Coordinator. Monica was previously the Programme Officer of the African Human Rights and Access to Justice Project in the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), where she provided strategic leadership and management of that organization’s regional work. A prominent human rights lawyer, Monica has undertaken protective litigation on behalf of women, people with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. She provided invaluable support to Victor Mukasa and Oyo Yvonne in their landmark victory against the Attorney General of Uganda, and has been a consistent and outspoken defender of the rights of those who experience discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Monica recently spoke in support of LGBT rights at the May 2009 session of the African Commission. Click here to read the transcript of her speech, and click here to watch a short extract from the session.

“There can never be world peace unless everyone's rights are protected, respected and guaranteed irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Monica said. “When states fail to have constitutions and legislative provisions that protect all people within their borders equally, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, they fail to live up to their human rights obligations.”

Monica will manage IGLHRC’s Cape Town, South Africa regional office.

Sara Perle also joined IGLHRC as our Ric Weiland Research and Policy Associate. A passionate feminist and LGBT activist, Sara studied women's studies at Vassar College and law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she focused particularly on international law and social justice issues. Sara has founded a chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, interned at the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Global Justice Center, and is also a former IGLHRC legal intern.

“We are very pleased to welcome Sara Perle back to IGLHRC,” said Program Director Adrian Coman, who worked closely with Sara when she interned at IGLHRC two years ago. “She is a brilliant young woman and an example that internships can engage, train, and provide opportunities for young advocates.”

Sara is IGLHRC’s first Ric Weiland Research and Policy Associate in human rights law—a position created to honor the memory of philanthropist Ric Weiland, who died in June 2006. Sara will be based in IGLHRC’s New York office.