Sulini Sarugaser
International human rights law, national human rights institutions, gender, migration

Trained in both common and civil law, and qualified to practice as a solicitor and barrister in Canada, Sulini Sarugaser’s professional experience spans working in a private law firm, with national human rights institutions and intergovernmental bodies, and as an independent legal consultant.

Sulini has deep expertise in evaluating and supporting the governance and operations of national human rights institutions (NHRIs). Working at the global level, she supported the peer-led accreditation process of NHRIs, assessing their compliance with international governance standards (the Paris Principles). She further supported the governance structure of the Global Alliance of NHRIs through drafting sections of its statute, as well as the procedural rules for its accreditation process, and interpretive guidance on the Paris Principles.

Working as legal counsel for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Sulini advised on investigations and resolutions of complaints alleging discrimination, and also pleaded the public interest case before the federal tribunals and courts. She further advised on conducting audits of federally regulated employers’ promotion of the substantive equality of underrepresented groups in the workplace.

Sulini has specific expertise in supporting intergovernmental human rights machinery. She supported the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in issuing advisory opinions on allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty from individuals worldwide. Here, she also led the drafting of the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of His or Her Liberty by Arrest or Detention to Bring Proceedings Before Court.

Sulini has also worked closely with the UN human rights treaty bodies, assisting to identify gaps in states parties’ implementation of convention obligations and to develop recommendations on addressing violations. In the course of this work, she collaborated closely with multilateral partners to develop and test Indicator 5.1.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sulini’s consulting work has been focused on advising on NHRI establishment in a transitional justice context; drafting a legal study on the content of the non-refoulement principle under international human rights law; undertaking an assessment of promising practices in the East and Horn of Africa subregion on identifying victims of human trafficking and investigating and prosecuting human trafficking offences; and supporting the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in its elaboration of the General Recommendation on Trafficking of Women and Girls in the Context of Global Migration. She is presently co-drafting a chapter on the women’s rights dimensions of nationality for the second edition of the Oxford University Press publication, The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: A Commentary.

Sulini holds Juris Doctor and Licentiate of Laws degrees from the University of Ottawa and a joint bachelor’s degree in Computing and Information Science and International Development (honours) from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario). She is an alumnus of the United World College of Southern Africa. Hailing from Mbabane, Swaziland, Sulini is a native speaker of English and has working proficiency in French. She currently resides in Bangalore, India.