CTI appoints new Head of Secretariat

The Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) and its Core States of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Gayethri Pillay as the new Head of Secretariat as of November 2021.

Gayethri joined the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) in February 2021 as Senior Adviser, with a focus on ratification and Small Island Developing States, and has been Acting Head of the CTI Secretariat as of July 2021. 

Prior to joining CTI, Gayethri was Chargée D’affaires e.p and Head of Seychelles’ Permanent Mission in Geneva. Gayethri has worked in numerous capacities within the Government of Seychelles, including as Director of the International Law and Human Rights Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as the Director of Seychelles’ National Committee on Trafficking in Persons.

Gayethri has a broad range of experience on ratifying and domesticating human rights treaties, reporting to UN Treaty bodies, and advising and collaborating with Governments on issues of international human rights and their effective implementation.

Responding to her appointment, Gayethri said:

“I look forward to building on the excellent work that CTI has been doing, having secured the ratification of 18 new States Parties to UNCAT since its establishment. Time and again CTI has shown the effectiveness of a constructive and collaborative approach – working with Governments to achieve progress – and I hope to continue to utilize this ethos as we head towards universal ratification and improved implementation of the Convention against Torture by 2024.”

On participating CTI’s events in Fiji (2016) and St Lucia (2018) in her former capacities, Gayethri noted that “the importance and impact of CTI’s engagement through events and regional workshops cannot be understated. By bringing together a nexus of States, experts, and non-governmental organizations, CTI continues to provide the highest levels of expertise to support States seeking to ratify UNCAT and implement effective strategies for implementation”.

Only 23 States are left to ratify UNCAT, with the most recent State Party being Sudan in August 2021. More than half of those remaining States are Small Island Developing States, many of whom have signaled their willingness to ratify or accede to the Convention. The unique set-up of CTI – with cross-regional Core States and a diverse Group of Friends – allows for it to engage with States on the basis of shared challenges, concerns, and good practices on the paths to ratification and effective implementation.

CTI’s Core States welcome the new appointment and look forward to working with the Secretariat to support States in their anti-torture efforts.  The new HoS appointment comes following the departure of Dr. Alice Edwards in July 2021, who continues to work with CTI as one of its Expert Friends.


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