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Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo - 3/15/06

Who We Are

Who We Are

Charlotte McClain-NhlapoCharlotte McClain-Nhlapo is trained as a human rights lawyer. She obtained a Master of International Law at the University of Warsaw in Poland, and thereafter studied for an LLM at Cornell Law School in New York.

In August 1999, she was appointed by the President of South Africa Nelson Mandela to the South African Human Rights Commission. She was subsequently reappointed in October 2002. At the Commission she focuses on socio-economic rights, disability rights and child rights. In addition to the thematic areas she is responsible for two provinces Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

She currently is on a leave of absence from the South African Human Rights Commission and for the last year has been at the World Bank where she is the disability advisor to the East Asia and the Pacific region and the South Asia region.

Over the years she has worked primarily in the area of human rights, with a particular interest in marginalized groups, children, women and people with disabilities. Before joining the Commission she was a Project Officer on Child Protection for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). She helped draft provincial policy for street children and convened a task team to establish a national register for sexual offenders against children. She was appointed by the former Minister of Justice Dullah Omar as a member of the South African Law Commission Project Committee on sexual offences by and against children. In 1996, she was Legal Advisor to the Disability Desk in the Office of the Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, where she worked on the Integrated National Disability Strategy. Previous to that she was a senior researcher for the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape in the child rights unit. 

She has served as an expert on child rights, the right to food and the rights of people with disabilities issues to various UN agencies. She also represented the National Human Rights Institutions at the UN during the process of developing a Convention for People with Disabilities. She serves on a number of community boards and was until recently chair of the board of RAPCAN (Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect).

She is currently the deputy Chairperson of the Council of the University of South Africa (UNISA). Ms McClain-Nhlapo has written widely on human rights issues and is committed to social justice.

Information provided by Ms. McClain-Nhlapo, February 22, 2006