Madeleine Rees began life as a lawyer in 1990 and within four years was made partner in a large UK law firm, specialising in discrimination law.
In the UK, she also worked on behalf of both the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission, mainly on developing strategies to establish rights under domestic law.
Extending her skills to the international sphere, Madeleine brought cases to the European Court of Human Rights and The European Court in Luxembourg. She was cited as one of the leading lawyers in the field of discrimination in the Chambers directory of British lawyers.
In 1998 Madeleine began working for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the gender expert and Head of Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Supporting the OHCHR’s extensive work on the issue of trafficking, Madeleine was a member of the expert coordination group of the trafficking task force of the Stability Pact, which was then known as the Alliance against Trafficking. Within this role, Madeleine also worked on the rule of law, gender and post-conflict, transitional justice and the protection of social and economic rights.
From September 2006 to April 2010, Madeleine Rees served as the Head of the Women’s Rights and Gender Unit for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Her work involved describing and outlining how men and women can experience events differently, particularly in post-conflict situations.
The aims of her work were:
- To better understand and interpret the concept of Security, by drawing on human rights law and humanitarian law.
- To make the human rights machinery more responsive and therefore more effective from a gender perspective.
Madeleine Rees has been the Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom since 2010.