E. Tendayi Achiume

2023 MacArthur Fellow
Former United Nations Special Rapporteur
Alicia E. Miñana Chair in Law
Former Faculty Director

E. Tendayi Achiume is the inaugural Alicia Miñana Professor of Law, and former Faculty Director of the UCLA Law Promise Institute for Human Rights. She is also a Research Associate with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand.

The current focus of her work is the global governance of racism and xenophobia, and the legal and ethical implications of colonialism for contemporary international migration. More generally, her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, and, international migration.

She received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020—UCLA’s highest honor for excellence in teaching—and the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching.

In November 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Professor Achiume the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, making her the first woman to serve in this role since its creation in 1993. In 2016, she was appointed to co-chair the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), and she is former co-chair of the ASIL Migration Law Interest Group.

Professor Achiume earned her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. She also earned a Graduate Certificate in Development Studies from Yale.

Professor Achiume clerked for Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Following her clerkships, she was awarded the Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship to work for the Refugee and Migrant Rights Project unit at Lawyers for Human Rights in Johannesburg. Professor Achiume also taught on the faculty of the International Human Rights Exchange Programme based at the University of the Witwatersrand. She then joined the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as a litigation associate. Immediately prior to her current appointment she was the second recipient of Binder Clinical Teaching Fellowship at UCLA School of Law.


  • B.A. Yale University, 2005
  • J.D. Yale Law School, 2008

Articles & Chapters

  • Empire, Asylum and Refugee Responsibility Sharing, California Law Review (forthcoming 2022).
  • Racial Borders, 110 Georgetown Law Journal 445 (2022). Full Text
  • Decolonial Regionalism: Reorienting Southern African Migration Policy (with Tamara Last), 2 Third World Approaches To International Law Review 1 (2021). Full Text
  • Race, Refugees and International Law, in Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, (edited by Costello, McAdam and Foster, Oxford University Press, 2021). Full Text
  • Transnational Racial (In)Justice In Liberal Democratic Empire, 134 Harvard Law Review Forum 378 (2021). Full Text
  • Critical Race Theory Meets Third World Approaches to International Law (with Devon W. Carbado), 67 UCLA Law Review 1462 (2021). Full Text
  • Race and Empire: Legal Theory Within, Through and Across National Borders (with Asli Bâli), 67 UCLA Law Review 1386 (2021). Full Text
  • Introduction to the Symposium on COVID-19, Global Mobility and International Law (with Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen & Thomas Spijkerboer), 114 AJIL Unbound 312 (2020). Full Text | Article
  • Migration as Decolonization, 71 Stanford Law Review 1509 (2019). Full Text
  • Putting Racial Equality onto the Global Human Rights Agenda, 28 SUR International Human Rights Journal (2018). Full Text
  • Governing Xenophobia, 51 (2) Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 333 (2018). Full Text
  • The Fatal Flaw in International Law for Migration (Model International Mobility Convention Commentary), 56 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 257 (2018). Full Text
  • Transformative Vision in Liberal Rights Jurisprudence on Racial Equality: A Lesson from Justice Moseneke, in A Warrior for Justice: Essays in Honor of Dikgang Moseneke, (edited by Penelope Andrews, Dennis Davis and Tabeth Masengu, Juta Press, 2018). Full Text
  • The SADC Tribunal: Socio-Political Dissonance and the Authority of International Courts, in International Court Authority, (edited by Karen Alter, Laurence Helfer, and Michael Rask Madsen, Oxford Univ. Press, 2018). (Solicited Peer-Review Chapter) Full Text
  • Re-Imagining International Law for Global Migration: Migration as Decolonization?, 111 American Journal of International Law Unbound 142 (2017). Full Text
  • The Fact of Xenophobia and the Fiction of State Sovereignty: A Reply to Blocher and Gulati, 1 (2) Columbia Human Rights Law Review Online 1 (2017). (solicited essay) Full Text
  • Misreading Mobility? Bureaucratic Politics and Blindness in UN Migration Reports, 48 (5) Development and Change 1 (2017). Full Text
  • Syria, Cost-Sharing and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees, 100 Minnesota Law Review 687 (2015). Full Text
  • Beyond Prejudice: Structural Xenophobic Discrimination Against Refugees, 45 Georgetown Journal of International Law 323 (2014). Full Text
  • Prison Conditions in South Africa and the Role of Public Interest Litigation Since 1994 (with Rudolph Jansen), 27 (1) South African Journal on Human Rights 183 (2011).

United Nations Thematic Reports

  • Racial and Xenophobic Discrimination, Emerging Digital Technologies, and Border and Immigration Enforcement (November 2020). A/75/590
  • Racial Discrimination and Emerging Digital Technologies: A Human Rights Analysis (July 2020). A/HRC/44/57 Full Text
  • Reparations for Racial Discrimination, Slavery, and Colonialism (August 2019). A/74/321. Full Text
  • Global Trends in Anti-Semitic Violence (July 2019). A/74/253. Full Text
  • Neo-Nazi Youth Recruitment (April 2019). A/HRC/41/55 Full Text
  • Global Extractivism and Racial Equality (April 2019). A/HRC/41/54 Full Text
  • The Threat of Nationalist Populism to Racial Equality (October 2018). A/73/305 Full Text
  • Racial Discrimination in The Context Of Laws, Policies And Practices Concerning Citizenship, Nationality And Immigration (April 2018). A/HRC/38/52 Full Text
  • The Use of Digital Technologies in the Propagation of Neo-Nazi and Related Ideology (October 2018). A/73/312. Full Text
  • Contemporary Resurgence And Spread Of Support For Neo-Nazi Ideologies (April 2018). A/HRC/38/53 Full Text

United Nations Country Reports

  • Kingdom of the Netherlands, A/HRC/44/57/Add.2 (July 2020). Full Text
  • Qatar (April 2020), A/HRC/44/57/Add.1 Full Text
  • Kingdom of Morocco, A/HRC/41/54/Add.1 (May 2019). Full Text
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, A/HRC/41/54/Add.2 (May 2019). Full Text


  • Dehumanized for Profit, The F[law] (2022). Full Text
  • Digital Racial Borders, 115 AJIL Unbound 333 (2021).
  • The Interlinking Crises of COVID and Police Violence on the June 2020 Global Anti-Racism Debate, 114 Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting 381 (2020). Full Text
  • The UN Should Establish a Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racism and Law Enforcement in the United States, Just Security (June 16, 2020). Article
  • Fighting racism internationally starts with confronting racism internally (with Dominique Day), UN Today (Nov. 5, 2020).
  • The United States’ Racial Justice Problem is also an International Human Rights Law Problem, Just Security (June 5, 2020). Article
  • The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders, Dissent Magazine (Summer 2019). Full Text
  • What Could Be Bad About A Global Campaign Against Xenophobia? (with Loren B. Landau), IRIN (Sept. 19, 2016). Op-Ed
  • The African Union Migration and Regional Integration Framework (with Loren B. Landau), ACCORD Policy and Practice Brief 36 (2016). Article
  • Focus on Europe Neglects the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Jurist (Nov. 12, 2015). Academic Commentary
  • The Socio-Economics of Xenophobia: A Comment on UNHCR’s Emerging Policy, Opinio Juris, New Voices in International Law Symposirum (July 2013). Article
  • On Kony2012: In Defense of the Armchair, Jadaliyya (March 29, 2012). Op-Ed