Distinguished Scholar in Residence
Office: 4910 Building - Suite 125
Gay McDougall was Executive Director of Global Rights, Partners for Justice (1994 to 2006). In August 2005, she was named the first United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues. She was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1999 for her "innovative and highly effective" work on behalf of international human rights. In 1998, she was elected to serve as an independent expert on the United Nations treaty body that oversees the International Convention on the elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. She was the first American to be elected to the body of 18 international experts who oversee compliance by governments worldwide with the obligations established under the treaty. At its 1996 session, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights elected her to serve a four year term as a member (alternate) of the U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Human Rights commission.
She also served as Special Rapporteur on the issue of systematic rape, sexual slavery, and slavery-like practices in armed conflict, in which capacity she presented a study to the United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights that called for international legal standards for prosecuting acts of systematic rape and sexual slavery committed during armed conflict. As Special Rapporteur she also toured Sierra Leone with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to assess the devastating impact the civil war had on civilian populations.
Prior to joining Global Rights, Gay McDougall served as one of five international members of South Africa's 16-member Independent Electoral Commission which successfully organized and administered that country's first non-racial elections. During southern Africa's apartheid era, she was director of the Southern African Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law from 1980 until early 1994 and gave direct assistance to the defense of thousands of political prisoners in South Africa and Namibia by financing the defense and collaborating with attorneys.
Degrees & Universities
- L.L.M., London School of Economics and Political Science 1978
- J.D., Yale University School of Law 1972
- B.A., Bennington College 1969