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María Cristina “Marita” Perceval is an Argentine diplomat and politician and currently Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

She has over 30 years’ experience as a human rights advocate, working to safeguard the rights of the most vulnerable. Over her long career, she has been the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Argentina to the United Nations (2012-2015), being appointed during her tenure to various important regional positions in different United Nations agencies. She chaired the Security Council between 2013 and 2014, when Argentina was a non-permanent member, was elected Vice-President of the General Assembly, and was Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council.

She was also Undersecretary for Human Rights in Argentina (2010-2012) and, as Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, promoted policy reforms and legislative measures to strengthen democracy and guarantee civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights. She has been a member of the MERCOSUR Parliament and chaired regional networks for the promotion and protection of human rights, such as the Commission on Equality, Gender, Children and Youth of the Latin American Parliament, the International Council of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development (2005-2009).

She was elected Senator of the Republic for her native province of Mendoza and held her seat from 2001 to 2009, being the first woman to chair the Defence Committee. From this position she sponsored many laws relating to the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities, working hard in particular to secure the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

In the academic sphere, she founded the Institute of Social Management at the University of Aconcagua, becoming its Director, and served as President of the Institute for Women in Mendoza between 1993 and 1995. She is the author of numerous articles and studies on children’s and women’s rights. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of Cuyo National University (Argentina), where she specialized in gender, epistemology and human rights.

María Cristina “Marita” Perceval

Marita Perceval

Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)