Friday in Focus: Victoria Miyandazi (Oxford)
I started my studies in Oxford in 2013 as a Rhodes Scholar a year after completing my LL.B. degree from Kenyatta University in Kenya. I did the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) and MPhil in Law postgraduate degrees before embarking on the DPhil in Law path. My postgraduate studies deepened my knowledge base and expertise in Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law, International Human Rights Law, International Law of Armed Conflict, International Dispute Settlement and Constitutional Law. It also helped me settle on my own standpoints on various prickly legal debates.
Currently, I am in the final leg of writing up my doctoral thesis. It explores the ways in which competing and inter-related conceptions of equality in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution should be conceptualised, interpreted and applied. My thesis aims to provide more clarity in this area of law in Kenya by examining all the equality principles in the Constitution. It gives particular emphasis on the potentially conflicting issues, with the aim of attempting to find a coherent and mutually supportive way of understanding the broader conception of equality in the Constitution. So far, no such comprehensive study has been undertaken in relation to the Kenyan Constitution. The aspiration therefore, is that the thesis will be a significant contribution to equality jurisprudence in Kenya as well as the on-going global conversations on the various understandings of equality.
I first got involved with the Oxford Human Rights as a research volunteer for its pro bono unit, the Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP), while pursuing my BCL in 2013-2014. That academic year, I supported work on the Kenya report on arbitrary detention, which was part of a larger project by OPBP for the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Arbitrary Detention. The report was ground-breaking, and being able to contribute to the conduct of impactful high-quality comparative and international law research, led to my involvement in the OPBP Committee. I later transitioned to Editor of the Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog and am presently a Researcher for the Hub. Working for the OxHRH has kept me up-to-date with global human rights developments and challenges. I have edited over seventy blog posts from all over the world: from India, to Ghana, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Australia, among other countries. I have also contributed blog articles and I am currently in charge of the monthly Newsletter. This task gives me the opportunity to keep abreast with all the blog articles posted each month, podcasts, seminars and other Hub projects.
In addition to working as a Researcher at the OxHRH, this past summer, I worked as a Lecturer and Tutor in the Ohio-State Pre-Law Programme at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. This adds greatly to my previous experience, which include working as: A Legal Researcher for the International Development Law Organization seconded to the Kenyan Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations (now Judiciary Committee on Elections); a Research and Teaching Assistant at Riara University, Kenya; a Research Assistant for the African Centre for International Legal and Policy Research; and as an intern at the International Committee of the Red Cross, Regional Delegation Nairobi, Kenya.
In January 2018, I am looking to start a Research Fellowship with a focus on Anti-Corruption issues.