Julia Harrington

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Julia Harrington

1998 Global Fellow
Founder of Institute for Human Rights & Development in Africa

Julia Harrington 1998 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

Strengthen the African human rights system through offering pro bono legal counsel to victims of human rights abuses, conducting training workshops and publishing and disseminating information on the African human rights system.


While international human rights law possesses the potential to effect social change, it is often difficult to enforce. Presently, human rights advocates do not employ litigation frequently. While there are many reasons for this, there are two reasons that wield the greatest significance: the lack of understanding of the procedures, and the inaccessibility of international tribunals. The Institute for Human Rights & Development (IHRDA) in Africa is a pan-African human rights organization with its headquarters in Banjul, the Gambia. IHRDA specializes in the African regional human rights system, including impact litigation in national and international fora based on African human rights treaties, training and research, and publication in the procedures of African treaty mechanisms. While IHRDA offers three unique program areas (capacity building, litigation and research and publication), all of the program areas work towards a single goal: the advancement of human rights in Africa through the implementation of African human rights treaties.


Julia Harrington Reddy heads the Open Society Justice Initiative’s work on equality and inclusion. After graduation from law school, she was an Echoing Green Fellow, working for two years as a legal officer at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia.

In 1997, Harrington Reddy cofounded and became executive director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, also based in The Gambia, which became a leader in human rights litigation in the African regional system. She and the cofounder of the Institute, Alpha Fall, won Ashoka fellowships for the Institute’s work. Harrington Reddy joined the Justice Initiative in 2003 and is based in the New York office.

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