Dr Gail Hopkins
Dr Gail Hopkins is an expert on migration and refugees with a focus on West Africa. Her research focuses on integration, resilience and on social and community cohesion, analysing the impact of displacement on refugee livelihoods, education, health and life potential. More recently, her research has included returnee migrants. She has worked as a consultant for UNHCR in The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Europe, and for The Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
Dr Hopkins’ research includes the impact of refugees on receiving communities and of returnees on their home communities and the effectiveness of interventions. Her work includes analysis of the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian and development programmes in order to inform policy, building resilient communities, and increasing capacity among local refugee/migrant focused organisations.
Beginning in 2009, Dr Hopkins has worked with refugees from the Casamance region of Southern Senegal who have fled to The Gambia due to ongoing unrest. Dr Hopkins has also conducted research on Liberian refugees in Gambia prior to cessation, and Somali women refugees who have settled in London and Toronto. She has also conducted research on Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Publications include works on Casamance refugees in The Gambia, Somali women refugees, and global refugee policy approaches. She has also taught at the University of The Gambia.
Dr Benjamin N. Lawrance
Professor of History at the University of Arizona
Benjamin N. Lawrance is the former Conable Chair in International Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology and is currently a professor of history at the University of Arizona.He has conducted field research in West Africa since 1997 and published extensively about political and social conditions. He has served as an expert witness in the asylum cases for over 130 West Africans in the US, Europe and Canada which have involved human trafficking, citizenship, statelessness, female genital cutting, gender issues, gender identity, ethnic and religious violence, and witchcraft accusations.
Dr Pamela Kea
Reader in Anthropology, School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex
Dr Pamela Kea is an anthropologist with extensive research experience in the Gambia and Senegal and returns to this region regularly. Dr. Kea has extensive experience in writing expert reports for asylum seekers in the areas of FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence, witchcraft accusations, homosexuality, trafficking, land disputes, political violence and mental illness, including psychiatric provision in The Gambia. She is fluent in French and Danish.
Ms. Kevashinee Pillay
Miss Kevashinee Pillay is an attorney in the Republic of South Africa, and holds a Masters degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her past experience of living in Senegal (2011) where she completed her Master’s thesis titled Local Integration as a durable solution: the situation of Mauritanian refugees in Senegal at the Université Gaston Berger de St Louis, has provided her with in-depth knowledge of the country. Moreover her previous work experience as a Senior Researcher to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea (2013-2014) has harnessed her knowledge and experience of the situation of human rights in Eritrea. Both these experiences coupled with her work as an attorney at Lawyers for human rights (2008-2010), under the refugee and migrant rights programme (a South African national nongovernmental organisation) has provided her with a solid understanding of refugee issues in Africa generally including specific country situations.
Ms. Diallo Fatima (Ph.D. Candidate)
Fatima DIALLO is a senior Researcher at Law Faculty of University of Cape Town. She is a constitutional lawyer and a legal anthropologist. She have published and conducted research on rule of law, democracy governance and legal pluralism in Africa. She is an expert on African Jurisprudence and Human Rights, access to justice, bureaucracy and transparency and executed extensive research on these issues in different national contexts in Africa. She currently involved in studies on harmful cultural practices such as virginity testing, elopement, and circumcision of boys, levirate marriage, polygamy and different issues of family law and regulations in pluralist contexts.
She has been a Deputy General Secretary of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL) and a co-convener of the working committee on Access to Information. She has been a visiting scholar of the Afrika-Studiecentrum, Leiden University, where she is also currently completing her Ph.D. in Legal Anthropology. Her Ph.D., focuses on issues of management of legal and institutional pluralism and technologies of governance/resistance mobilized for state building in conflict zones. Her geographical expertise spans Francophone Western Africa and Southern Africa.
Dr Bettina Shell-Duncan (FGM/C)
Bettina Shell-Duncan has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, and conducts research on maternal and child health in Africa. She is employed as a Professor of Anthropology and Adjunct Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle. One of her areas of specialization is on the topic of FGM/C. She has been a technical consultant on FGM/C at UNICEF and the World Health Organization, and led the WHO research initiative on behaviour change with respect to FGM/C. She has published two books on this topic (Female “Circumcision” in Africa: Culture, Controversy and Change, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000; Transcultural Bodies: Female Genital Cutting in Global Context, Rutgers University Press, 2007), and written several academic journal articles. In her role a consultant with UNICEF, she prepared a statistical overview entitled, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change. This report was published in 2013, and is available online.
Several times, Dr Shell-Duncan has offered expert statements regarding asylum applications for African women, including cases where applicants are seeking protection on the grounds of fears that they or their daughters will be forced to undergo FGM/C. She is qualified to comment on cases from Senegal because she been studying the practice of FGM/C there since 2003; she was the principal investigator for a World Health Organization study on behaviour change with respect to FGM/C, a three year study conducted in Senegal and the Gambia.
Jacqueline Knörr (FGM/C)
Jacqueline Knörr, Head of Research at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Extraordinary Professor at the Martin Luther University in Halle/Saale, Germany. Professor Knörr was brought up in Ghana and Germany and has for many years conducted extensive field research in Sierra Leone und the Upper Guinea Coast of West Africa more generally, as well as in Indonesia. She has worked as a Lecturer, Senior Researcher, University Professor, Scientific Director, and Political Advisor. She has served as expert witness in about two hundred asylum cases, writing expert reports concerning FGC/M and other human rights issues.
Dr Charles Dotou (FGM/C and LGBTI)
Dr Charles R. Dotou, MD, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Dakar, an MA from the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Strategiques in Paris and an MSc from the University of York, UK. He has completed the medical exams for practicing in the UK and has been also active as a volunteer for both FGM and LGBTI NGOs. He is prepared to write country of origin expert statements for cases where an asylum seeker is fleeing FGM in Senegal. His main practical experiences with FGM in Senegal come from the Tambacounda region where he saw the consequences of the practice; worked to dissuade communities from practicing it, in particular Type 4, a practice which was entrenched in this region. In 1999, he, on behalf of the father of a six-year old girl who had subjected to FGM against her father’s will. Dr. Dotou took a case to the Regional Tribunal of Tambacounda; the father sued his parents and they were punished. This case served as a first after the law against FGM had been enacted, to encourage the law to be used as a deterrence. There have only been six such cases since 1999.