Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh

Lawyer, Director Africa Programme, International Commission of Jurists

Region(s): Africa
Based in Johannesburg

Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh (@kaajal1) is a South African lawyer. She directs the Africa programme of the International Commission of Jurists, an international NGO dedicated to defending human rights and the rule of law worldwide.

Working in the human rights field for two decades, Kaajal has significant experience and expertise in asylum and refugee protection, migration, citizenship, and statelessness. She also has experience in international criminal justice and freedom of expression.

She was Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre 2015 – 2020 where she led strategic cases focused on human rights issues and in particular judicial independence, rule of law, international criminal justice, freedom of expression and association.

Kaajal has been involved in many precedent-setting human rights cases in South Africa, including one which declared the immigration detention of children unlawful. In 2015, her organization initiated much-publicized proceedings to have Sudan’s President Al-Bashir arrested in South Africa to face genocide and war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

She worked at Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa) 2002- 2014 where she headed the Immigration Detention Monitoring Unit 2002-2007 and was Manager of the Refugee and Migrants Rights Programme 2007- 2014. Kaajal was employed at the International Organization for Migration from 2001-2002.

Kaajal sits on the boards of the Centre for Child Law, South African History Archive, Sonke Gender Justice and is the Board Chair of Freedom House’s Advancing Rights in Southern Africa Programme. She was Board Chair of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa 2007-2011. She was on the board of the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network 2017-2020.