The Executive Board of Penal Reform International (PRI) has announced that Olivia Rope has been appointed as the organisation’s Executive Director. Olivia, who has been acting Executive Director since 1 November, is stepping up from her role as Director of Policy and International Advocacy.
Dirk van Zyl Smit, Chairperson of PRI, said “We are delighted with Olivia’s appointment. Olivia has dedicated almost a decade to the organisation with many successes in policy and international advocacy. She brings to the job an exceptional combination of respected expertise in international human rights law and criminal justice reform, along with proven leadership and commitment. We expect Olivia not only to continue PRI’s important criminal justice reform initiatives as it pursues goals set out in the current strategy but to work to help expand PRI’s work to help more people in prison and those in conflict with the law.”
Olivia Rope stated, “I feel honoured to lead Penal Reform International’s pioneering and unique work to protect the rights of people in conflict with the law around the globe. This is an important moment with the spotlight increasingly put on criminal justice systems, and while we face many challenges there are also opportunities to build effective, rights-based justice systems. I am excited to lead PRI’s exceptional team as we work tirelessly to protect some of the most vulnerable – and often forgotten – members of our societies.”
Olivia holds a LLM in International and European Human Rights Law from the University of Amsterdam and has been admitted to the High Court of New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor. She joined Penal Reform International in 2012 after working with Amnesty International in their New Zealand section and European Institutions Office in Brussels.
PRI’s previous Executive Director, Florian Irminger, resigned to take up the position of Secretary General of the Green Party in Switzerland at the end of October 2020.