Alumni Profiles

Whether working as human rights practitioners in their own countries or within regional human rights systems, CCHR graduates play an important part in shaping a more just society. Here are a few of the stories of our alumni and the work they do.



Mbuyiseli Madlanga, LL.M. ’90

South African President Jacob Zuma has appointed Mbuyiseli Madlanga to the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Established in 1994 as the centerpiece of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, the Court is one of the world’s most respected tribunals, known and cited for its jurisprudence in many areas of human rights law, including capital punishment, housing, health care and other economic and social rights issues.

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Steven Watt, LL.M. ’01

Steven Watt, LL.M. ’01, is representing Jose Padilla before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Mr. Watt works as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a petition with the IACHR on behalf of Mr. Padilla and his mother.

Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was designated an “enemy combatant” in 2002 by the Bush Administration for alleged terrorist activities, and was subsequently detained for interrogation. The petition filed before the IACHR alleges that Mr. Padilla was denied contact with his lawyers during the four years of his detention. The petition further claims that Mr. Padilla was tortured and that he was not allowed to practice his religion. The ACLU petition is available at:



Habiba Osman, LL.M. ‘11

Habiba Osman was arrested, detained and charged with treason for her human rights work in Malawi. After securing her freedom she spoke with a newspaper about her experience as a human rights defender.

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Mario Domingo, LL.M. ’08

The night they killed the bishop – April 26, 1998 – Mario Domingo knew that his own life would never be the same. Just 48-hours before, Domingo— a 2008 graduate of Notre Dame’s LL.M. —had been in the National Cathedral in Guatemala City with the bishop, Monsignor Juan Gerardi.

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Ali Qazilbash ’97 LL.M., ’05 J.S.D.

When General Pervez Musharraf suspended the Pakistani Constitution and imposed martial law in November 2008, Ali Qazilbash ’97LL.M., ’05J.S.D. knew that he was facing a crisis for which he had prepared all of his life.

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Yara Sallam ’10 LL.M.

Yara Sallam ’10 LL.M. is the Women Human Rights Defenders Program manager at Nazra for Feminist Studies (Egypt), the first program in Egypt that focuses on women human rights defenders.

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Pablo Saavedra LL.M. '96

A Chilean national who obtained his LL.M. at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Pablo Saaveda serves as Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

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Kolawole Olaniyan LL.M. '98, J.S.D. '03

Legal Adviser in Amnesty International's International Secretariat, Olaniyan has published a new book addressing corruption and its character as a human rights violation.

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Vinodh Jaichand ‘88 LL.M.,’96 J.S.D.

The South African began to study law because he thought it could be a tool for dismantling the system of apartheid. But after he arrived at the University of Notre Dame, he realized that the law may well be part of the problem.

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