“I aim to be a strong advocate for change, using rigorous research and informed advocacy to influence policy and to ensure that the people who are most vulnerable will be empowered to fully enjoy their rights.”

These are Faraaz Mahomed’s aspirations for the future and the reason he chose to join the South African Human Rights Commission. As a senior researcher, his everyday work involves researching and reporting on the rights of vulnerable groups. In this way, he holds the government to account and is responsible for ensuring that human rights are adequately considered in legislation and policy.

One of the passions of this former Fulbright scholar is reducing the stigma around mental illness, an area he feels is under-prioritised and under-resourced. In 2015 he co-organised a conference on the intersection of mental health and human rights in South Africa, and this year he’ll be coordinating a special edition of The South African Journal on Human Rights focusing on this issue.

At age 31, Mahomed holds two master’s degrees, one in international policy studies and the other in clinical psychology, and has worked with organisations like Amnesty International USA and Doctors without Borders.

Find Mahomed on Twitter: @SAHRCommission