Deprose Muchena appointed first Director of Amnesty International Southern Africa Regional Office

Amnesty International today announced that Deprose Muchena, former Deputy Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), will lead its new Southern Africa Regional Office, based in Johannesburg.

The appointment comes as the world’s leading human rights organization prepares for the formal launch of the new office as part of a major drive to increase the impact of its human rights work in the region.

Deprose joins Amnesty International with a wealth of experience that will support the organization’s plans to grow its human rights impact in Southern Africa. In his previous role at OSISA, he worked with governments, civil society, media, and academics to foster human rights and democracy across the region. Previous to this, Deprose ran OSISA’s economic governance programme where he led the foundation’s work on socio-economic rights and programmes to address socio-economic inequalities. 

“Southern Africa is an important priority for Amnesty International and its human rights work,” said Minar Pimple, Senior Director of Global Operations.

“Freedom of expression; empowerment of women and girls; fair trials; ending discrimination and persecution of people based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender—these are real issues which affect people across Southern Africa every single day. We are very excited about the new regional office and about the passion, leadership and expertise which Deprose will bring.”

The new office will include regional and country experts in research, advocacy, campaigns and communications. 

“I am delighted to be joining Amnesty International at a time when the world is fast changing, the African continent is facing a major renewal, and the region of Southern Africa is emerging as a key economic and political block on the continent and in world affairs,” said Deprose Muchena.

“This renewal is threatened by the triple burden of unemployment, poverty and inequality facing the majority of Southern Africans especially women, girls, the LGBTI, people living with disabilities and the youth. It is a critical moment to push the frontiers of freedoms, justice, equality and human rights for all.” 

Similar regional offices are also being established in Nairobi for East Africa, and Dakar for West Africa, as the organization continues to strengthen its work on the continent.

Previously, Deprose has been a Senior Democracy and Governance Advisor at USAID, a programme manager for economic justice at the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, a founder member of the broad-based movement that campaigned for a new constitution in Zimbabwe, and a founder member of the Southern Africa Economic Justice Network. He is also editor of the book Tearing Us Apart: Inequalities in Southern Africa