A dedicated South African human rights defender, Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane, has joined Amnesty International South Africa as the Executive Director for the national office, the organisation has announced today.
Sicel’mpilo’s role will include leading Amnesty International’s campaigns for accountability and justice in South Africa, engaging in advocacy work on the country’s domestic and foreign policy, and building an even stronger movement for human rights in the country.
She joins Amnesty International South Africa from the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA).
“South Africa is a very important country for Amnesty International because of its progressive laws and constitutionalism. It is important for Amnesty International to strengthen its local office to ensure accountability for human rights in the country,” said Colm O Cuanachain, Senior Director in the Office of the Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Sicel’mpilo has extensive experience in the field of social justice, human rights and addressing issues of inequality. She spent many years working as a Senior Paralegal/Caseworker at the Black Sash, a South African social justice non-governmental organisation, addressing gross human rights violations and ensuring access to justice. She has also worked as an Advocacy Officer, and Deputy Director leading Access to Social Services and other campaign work at the same organization.
“I am honored to be joining Amnesty International South Africa at this time in our country’s trajectory. The country has just celebrated twenty years of democracy. However, the gains made must also translate into real change for the ordinary people many of whom live in poverty, unemployed, face discrimination, and are victims of attacks on a daily basis. Lack of adequate police protection, violation of fundamental freedoms and the deliberate targeting of non-nationals for attacks, looting, xenophobia and attacks of members of the LGBTI community. All these social ills are posing a threat to the country’s future,” said Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane, newly appointed Executive Director for Amnesty International South Africa.
Her appointment comes after the organization, currently having more than seven million supporters and members worldwide, established its regional office for Southern Africa in Johannesburg in 2014 as part of its new global strategy to work closer to the grassroots.