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Madeleine Rees

Madeleine Rees Headshot

Global Strategies Advisor, Co-Chair of the Legal Strategies Advisory Committee

Madeleine Rees became a lawyer in 1990. She worked for a major British law firm, becoming a partner in 1994. There, she specialized in discrimination law, being particularly involved in the area of employment, and also specialized in public and administrative law. Madeleine worked on behalf of the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission, where she helped establish rights for individuals under domestic law. Discrimination cases brought by Madeleine have been heard at both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. In 1998, she started working as Head of Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina and as a gender expert for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She helped expose human rights abuses related to the sex trade in Bosnia by testifying in support of Kathryn Bolkovac, a United Nations International Police Force monitor who was hired to help end sexual abuse and forced prostitution in Bosnia. Kathryn revealed the use of forced prostitution and sex trafficking by members of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This issue was later turned into a movie called The Whistleblower. Madeleine was portrayed by Vanessa Redgrave.

The Global Strategies Advisor role is an innovation through which a leader of one feminist organization serves as a senior advisor to another. It reflects the long-standing collaboration between WILPF and MADRE and institutionalizes our joint work in the service of partners facing war and disaster around the world. The model expresses our feminist commitment to cooperation over competition, to sharing expertise and resources, and to strengthening the global women's movement as a whole, rather than focusing exclusively on our individual organizations. It is also designed to contribute to deeper cross-fertilization among the multiple vibrant feminist groups, networks, and movements that we need to achieve our vision of a feminist future.