Sexual Rights Lawyer
Keaton Kidist Allen-Gessesse obtained a BA in political science at University of Michigan and a JD at Harvard Law School. As a law student, she was an active in the student protests for free education and to decolonize Harvard’s curriculum, symbols, and history. Her interests include black feminist organizing and social movements and how the law can be used as a tool to support such movement work.
In 2011, Kidist worked in Peru as a Peace Corps youth development coordinator, during which she worked with a local hospital and the Peruvian Red Cross on educational workshops related to youth sexual and reproductive health. She moved to Johannesburg in 2016 to begin a one-year training fellowship in human rights litigation at Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), where she worked on eviction cases, protest arrests, and protecting the rights of informal traders. Kidist then served as a law clerk for Justice Mbuyseli R. Madlanga at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Kidist joined ISLA in 2018 as the legal researcher in the Sexual Rights Programme. She researched substantive issues of comparative and international human rights within the context of sexual rights and developed the capacity strengthening curriculum for the network lawyers.
In 2020, she became the Senior Lawyer in the Sexual Rights Programme, where she works with domestic lawyers in various African countries to provide technical legal expertise on litigating cases before domestic and regional courts.