Jemera Rone, who died on 29 July 2015, in Washington DC, was an early supporter of the Rift Valley Institute, and one of the Institute’s first Fellows. She taught on the first RVI Sudan field course in 2004 and on two subsequent RVI courses held in Rumbek, in South Sudan.
Jemera began her career as a human rights researcher in Latin America, specialising in international humanitarian law and becoming Counsel for Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 1985. In 2003 she became the first HRW researcher on Sudan. Her many reports included the ground-breaking Sudan, Oil and Human Rights (2004).
In an appreciation on the HRW website, her colleague Leslie Lefkow quotes a prescient report that Jemera wrote in 1994, warning of the devastation that we see in South Sudan today:
The leaders of the SPLA factions must address their own human rights problems and correct their own abuses, or risk a continuation of the war on tribal or political grounds in the future, even if they win autonomy or separation.
John Ryle, the Director of the Rift Valley Institute, said "We shall miss Jemera’s spirited conversation, the meticulousness of her research, and her deep commitment to the Sudans."