Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, a human rights lawyer and Programme Manager at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa from Ghana, has been appointed as Board Member of the newly created Oversight Board of Facebook and Instagram.

 The Oversight Board will review certain content decisions by Facebook and Instagram and make binding decisions based on respect for freedom of expression and human rights. 

She joins two other Africans – Julie Owono, a digital rights advocate and Executive Director of Internet Sans Frontières from Cameroon and Maina Kiai, a human rights activist and Director of Human Rights Watch’s Global Alliances and Partnerships programme from Kenya – on the 20-member Oversight Board.

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei

The human rights lawyer, together with her team, will tackle increasingly complex and contentious debates about what types of content should and should not be permitted on Facebook and Instagram and who should decide.

The Board will prioritise cases that potentially impact many users, are of critical importance to public discourse, or raise questions about Facebook’s policies. Decisions made by the Board must be implemented by Facebook, as long as they do not violate the law.

Oversight Board Members are independent from the company, funded by an independent trust and cannot be removed by Facebook based on their decisions.  

Members contact directly with the Oversight Board, are not Facebook employees and cannot be removed by Facebook. Members will serve for a maximum of three three-year terms and case panels will be confidential and assigned at random

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei

Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei

She is the Programme Manager at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, where she focuses on human rights, women’s rights, criminal justice, access to information and media freedom issues, and previously worked at Save the Children and the United States Agency for International Development.

She is a human rights lawyer and development professional with extensive experience in strategy development, programme design, grant management, research and stakeholder engagement in Southern, Western and Central Africa.

Of Ghanaian and South African citizenship, she has a varied background in supporting and developing transformational social programmes and advocacy strategies through the provision of technical advice and input into policy and programming of civil society organisations on issues like access to information, freedom of expression, human rights and substantive justice, especially as they relate to the inclusion, equality of opportunity and empowerment of vulnerable and under-represented groups such as women, children, persons with disabilities and LGBTIQs.

She has also worked for a number of international development and philanthropic organizations in different capacities in Africa.

She is passionate about Africa, its development and has a working knowledge of African regional mechanisms and institutions.

She is a graduate of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research interests include women, children and disability rights, critical race feminism and socioeconomic rights of the poor.