Emily Nagisa Keehn
Associate Director, Academic Program
Emily Nagisa Keehn is the Associate Director of the Academic Program. She specializes in the intersection of human rights issues with criminal justice, gender, and health. Her experience spans Southern Africa, Cambodia, Israel, and the U.S.
Prior to joining HRP, Keehn was the head of policy development and advocacy at Sonke Gender Justice in Cape Town, South Africa, where she directed strategic litigation, parliamentary engagement, research, and advocacy. In that role, she oversaw projects on gender parity in the judiciary, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, sex worker human rights, and penal reform.
Recently, she co-authored an amicus curiae brief examining the gendered impact of gold mining-related occupational lung diseases for the Bongani Nkala v Harmony Gold case, the largest class action lawsuit in South African history. In partnership with Lawyers for Human Rights, she also developed litigation to remedy inhumane conditions of detention and ill-treatment in Pollsmoor Remand Detention Facility, and to strengthen independent prison oversight systems. Keehn has published research in the journal Feminist Criminology, made submissions to the South African Parliament, and provided commentary to media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, the Mail & Guardian, the Huffington Post, CNN, Equal Treatment, Africa Check, and United Nations IRIN News.
Earlier in her career, Keehn worked for the Health & Human Rights Law Project at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and was an inaugural University of California Global Health Institute Women’s Health & Empowerment Fellow. At UCLA, she co-developed a post-graduate law fellowship in gender, health and human rights for Southern African lawyers. Keehn has also worked for Legal Aid of Cambodia’s Women’s Justice Program, mothers2mothers, The Annenberg Foundation, and Relief International. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. Keehn is a member of the State Bar of California.
“Uneven and Still Insufficient: South African Police Services’ Station-Level Compliance with Sexual Offences Laws” (with Lara Stemple, Cherith Sanger, and Dean Peacock), 9 Feminist Criminology 87 (2014)
“The Equality Courts as a Tool for Gender Transformation” UCLA Center for the Study of Women Thinking Gender Papers (2010)
Reports and Briefing Papers
It’s Frustrating to Us as ICCVs’: The Role and Functioning of Visitors’ Committees of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Detention Justice Forum 2014) Co-authors: Berber Hettinga and Nomonde Nyembe
Current Practices to Increase Uptake, Retention and Adherence for Option B+ in Malawi (mothers2mothers Malawi October 2014) Co-author: Julie Karfakis
Evaluation of South Africa’s Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Sonke Gender Justice July 2013) Co-authors: Nomonde Nyembe and Tanya Sukhija
“Justice is Long Overdue for the Widows of South African Mineworkers”
(The Guardian, 10/25/2016) Co-author: Dean Peacock
“Class Action Lawsuit Against Mining Industry in South Africa”
(Spotlight, Volume 38/2016) Co-author: Dean Peacock
“Overcrowded Jails Deadly, Inhumane” (Bhekisisa, Mail & Guardian, 06/05/2015) Co-authors: Clare Ballard and Czerina Patel
Gold Industry’s Appeal in Miner’s Silicosis Class Action is Shameful (Bhekisisa, Mail & Guardian 06/07/2016) Co-author: Dean Peacock
Miners Seek Justice Over Killer Dust (Mail & Guardian 03/06/2015) Co-authors: Dean Peacock and Anele Yawa
South African Prison Rape Survivors Speak Out for the First Time (The Huffington Post 12/08/2014) Co-author: Sasha Gear
Break the Silence on HIV in Prison (Mail & Guardian 04/11/2014)
Prison Rape is No Joke (Pretoria News 07/24/2013) Co-authors: Sasha Gear and Mbuyiselo Botha
South African Police Much Too Macho (Mail & Guardian 03/06/2011) Co-author: Dean Peacock
Julius Malema and the Equality Courts (Equal Treatment October 2009)