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Wits human rights lawyer to be knighted


Professor Bonita Meyersfeld is being honoured for her efforts to promote human rights and fight gender-based violence.

Professor Bonita Meyersfeld

Meyersfeld, a human rights lawyer, activist and academic at Wits University, has been named a Knight of the National Order of Merit by the President of France in recognition of her work on gender-based violence.

Meyersfield, the former director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies and current associate professor of law at the Wits School of Law, will be awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite ('Knight of the National Order of Merit') by the French President Emmanuel Macron.

This honour is presented to French citizens and foreign nationals for distinguished military or civil achievements such as "acts of devotion, bravery, generosity, real merit or a measurable commitment to serving others". It is the second national Order after the Legion of Honour. Its purpose is to reward "distinguished merit" and encourage the lifeblood of the country.

Meyersfeld is awarded the honour in recognition of her work promoting human rights in South Africa, and in particular her commitment to combatting gender-based violence by establishing Lawyers against Abuse and through her research.

She served CALS as Director from 2012 – 2017 and currently sits on its Board of Directors, and teaches international law, business and human rights and international criminal law in the Wits School of Law.