Michelle Staggs Kelsall is a Malaysian/Australian lawyer with a Master’s degree in Public International Law from the LSE (London University) and Bachelor’s Degrees in both Communications and Law from Macquarie University.
She joined the Human Rights Resource Centre as its inaugural Deputy Director in 2013, where she currently oversees all of the Centre’s research, education and training activities and supports the mandate of the Executive Director to foster a rights-based approach to ASEAN integration.
She brings to the role over ten years experience working, first, as a corporate lawyer for Allen & Overy, LLP, and subsequently, on rule of law initiatives in West Africa and Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in strengthening the independence of the judiciary. Prior to joining the HRRC, Michelle spent several years working as Deputy Director of the UC Berkeley’s War Crimes Studies Center and heading the joint War Crimes Studies Center/East-West Center’s Asian International Justice Initiative. She also worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2010 – 2012.
Since 2013, Michelle has led the Human Rights Resource Centre’s partnership with New York-based not-for-profit, Shift and members of the Harvard CSR Initiative on developing the Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (‘RAFI’) which provides companies with a tool through which they can know and show their alignment with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights. Most recently, she has co-edited a recent ASEAN-wide study on state regulation of freedom of religion and its correlation to violent conflict.
She has published for several peer reviewed journals, including the International Journal for Transitional Justice and Law in Context. Her research interests are particularly in the fields of international criminal law, business and human rights and the development of a regional human rights system in ASEAN.
She is a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award from the University of Nottingham, where she will be begin her doctoral research in the Faculty of Law in September 2015.