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Africa Regional Office

Arnold Tsunga – Director

Arnold is a highly experienced Zimbabwean human rights lawyer who joined the ICJ in 2008. He is the founding Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and a past Executive Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe. He sits and contributes on a number of Boards of non-profit organizations such as the Martin Ennals Award Foundation (MEA-Geneva); Crisis Action (CA-London); Frontline Human Rights Defenders (Dublin); Pan Africa Human Rights Defenders (PAHRDN-Uganda); Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) South Africa. He is past vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH-Paris); a former Advisory Committee member for the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW); past Chairperson of the CRISIS COALITION in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) among others. He has received international recognition for his role in promoting and protecting human rights including the Human Rights Watch Human Rights Defender Award (2006-7); the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights defenders (2006); Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, 2006 (US Congress) among others.

Nico Bezuidenhout – International Programme Manager

Nico’s career has been devoted to the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights. He worked for Idasa (an African democracy institute based in South Africa) for sixteen years, where he managed projects aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of civil society organizations by building their institutional capacity, providing advocacy support and capacitating civil society leaders to organize their communities better. For three and a half years before Nico joined the ICJ he was an independent consultant focusing on process design, facilitation and project management, with clients as diverse as the University of the Witwatersrand (School of Governance), City of Johannesburg, Lawyers for Human Rights, United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Law Society of South Africa. Nico has wide experience in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, where he has previously worked in South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland.

Mary Pais Da Silva – Associate Legal Adviser

Mary graduated from the University of Swaziland with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 2002 and gained admission as an attorney of the High Court of Swaziland in 2003. A member of Lawyers for Human Rights and also part of a network of Human Rights Defenders in Southern Africa, she works for the realization of the promotion and protection of people’s rights through litigation, education and advocacy and part of the lawyer’s boycott of courts in 2011, calling for the respect for the rule of law. She has been part of the mass democratic movement in the Convenor of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (2010-2013), and for this she has faced arbitrary detention and assault by the police force. She has contributed towards the drafting of legislation seeking to protect children’s and women’s rights in Swaziland, particularly the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act and the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill and drew up the Women’s Charter. She has been named as one MISA’s women to watch in 2015 due to her passion, drive, commitment and selflessness in advancing human rights across the spectrum.

Brian Penduka Legal Consultant

Brian Penduka joined the ICJ in 2012. He is a Zimbabwean lawyer who has been working in the human rights and rule of law field in various roles since 2005. He worked initially in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as part of the secretariat for the “Interministerial Committee on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law”. Brian left the government in 2006 to join the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, where he worked progressively in different capacities.

Constance Vimbai Mukarati – Administrative Assistant

Constance has roles in finance, administrative issues, grant management, office management, and all logistical matters of the Africa Regional Programme. She joined the ICJ in 2009. Prior to joining the ICJ, she worked for 4 years (2005-2008) in the Finance and Administration field.