Chief Justice Dr Mathilda Twomey, who has recently been appointed Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway’s School of Law, has been awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights. Chief Justice Twomey is one of 15 people to receive this prestigious annual award which marks Human Rights Day and recognises the efforts of all those who work endlessly to advance the causes of human rights and the rule of law.
The award commends Chief Justice Twomey’s work in the protection of minors. Earlier this year, Chief Justice Twomey was appointed as Chairperson of the Child Law Reform Committee. In this role she has led the committee’s work in identifying and reviewing the laws of Seychelles to prevent and punish child abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation. This work seeks to strengthen the legal protection offered to children in accordance with the Constitution of Seychelles, and with international and regional human rights law.
Chief Justice Dr Mathilda Twomey said: “I am humbled by the award. I head a small group of women who have more than me worked tirelessly to bring reform to the law regarding the abuse of children in its multifarious forms. They are the unsung and unseen heroes. It is to them that I offer this award. However, I will use this prize and my platform to continue to champion the rights of the most vulnerable persons in society.”
Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to see the Chief Justice Twomey receive this prestigious award for her work on promoting the human rights of children. This recognises a lifetime of public service and advocacy promoting and defending human rights and the rule of law. Chief Justice Twomey is joining NUI Galway as an Adjunct Professor in Law and we are looking forward to her contribution to teaching and research in the School of Law and the Irish Centre for Human Rights.”
Chief Justice Twomey was the first female judge in the history of the Seychelles. As a member of the Constitutional Commission, she helped draft the country’s new constitution between 1992 and 1993. She also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Seychelles from August 2015 to September 2020.
She is an alumna of NUI Galway’s School of Law having completed both an LLM and a PhD. She received both a James Hardiman Scholarship from NUI Galway and an Irish Research Council Scholarship, by the Government of Ireland to support her PhD entitled ‘Legal métissage in a micro jurisdiction: the mixing of Common Law and Civil Law in Seychelles’. In 2016 NUI Galway awarded Chief Justice Twomey an Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government in recognition of her contribution to scholarship and her significant achievements throughout her distinguished career.
Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: “Congratulations to Chief Justice Twomey on this award, which recognises her enormous contribution in the promotion and protection of child rights and human rights. Throughout her career, in the judiciary, the legal profession and in academia, Chief Justice Twomey has worked tirelessly to promote access to justice, accountability for human rights abuses, and women’s empowerment. We are delighted that our students and colleagues will have the opportunity to benefit from her immense experience, expertise and deep commitment to human rights.”