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18 April 2016

HSRC appoints human rights expert to work on issues of transparency, accountability and constitutionalism

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Mrs Rachel Adams, a senior researcher for Civil and Political Rights at the South African Human Rights Commission, has been appointed as a chief research specialist in the Research use & Impact Assessment (RIA) unit at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) from 1 May 2016.

Adams completed a Master’s of Philosophy in International Human Rights Law, with distinction, and is currently completing her PhD at the University of Cape Town under a merit-based scholarship. Her thesis is a critical appraisal of the modern notion of transparency.

‘Mrs Adams appointment is a perfect fit with the vision of our unit of enhancing the transparency of both the research and programme implementation processes and contributing to rights and evidence-based policy making. Given the calibre of her past work we are elated that she is joining us’, says Dr Temba Masilela, executive director of RIA.

Adams’ work at the Commission included conceptualising and authoring reports in line with the organisation’s constitutional and legislative mandates, drafting submissions on proposed legislation to Parliament, and writing reports on the state of implementation of human rights to the United Nations.

By analysing the assumptions upon which the modern notion of transparency rests, her thesis reveals the inherent contradictions of the concept which render it elusive and exclusionary. The thesis concludes by considering the ways in which the current dominant debate on transparency can be disrupted and re-imagined.

Some of Adams other achievements includes being an executive member of the Access to Information Working Group of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers; and playing a key role to the establishment of a newspaper in Ghana and Liberia, entitled The Vision, which focused on human rights and AIDs awareness for Liberian refugees.

Her current research interests include the discourse of human rights; feminism in Africa; and the effects of privatisation and neo-liberalism.

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