Anna-Mária Bíró is the Director of the Tom Lantos Institute, an international human and minority rights organization focusing on research and education based in Budapest, Hungary. In 2007-2011, Anna-Mária was a senior consultant to the Managing Multiethnic Communities Programme of LGI/Open Society Foundations and she was the director of the course “Incorporating Ethnocultural Diversity into the Teaching of Public Administration” organised by the Central European University. Prior to this, she directed the Europe Office of Minority Rights Group International (MRG) for eight years. She has also worked as the Advisor on Minority Affairs at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and as an Advisor on International Relations to the President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania. Anna-Mária holds an M.Sc. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and a PhD in political sciences from the Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Budapest, Hungary. Among others, Anna-Mária is co-editor of Diversity in Action: Local Public Management of Multi-ethnic Communities in Central and Eastern Europe (LGI/OSI, 2001) and co-author of Minority Rights Advocacy in the European Union: A Guide for NGOs in South-East Europe (MRG, London, 2006). In 2011 she co-edited with Corinne Lennox volume 18(2) of the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights on civil society contributions to the international regime of minority protection. From 2018 she is Editor-in-Chief of the series International Studies in Human Rights and Identity published by Brill/Nijhoff Academic Publishers.
Joshua Castellino is Professor of Law & Dean of the School of Law at Middlesex University London, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, Ireland. He is the founder of the Annual Summer School on Minorities, first held in June 2001 in Galway, Ireland. Joshua has held visiting positions in Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Italy. He worked as a journalist in Mumbai, India, with the Indian Express Group, was awarded a Chevening Scholarship to pursue an MA in International Law & Politics in 1995 and completed his PhD in International Law in 1998. Joshua has authored seven books in international law and human rights law, on self-determination, title to territory and indigenous peoples rights, besides over fifty academic articles on a range of these and other legal sub-topics. He has completed the third, in a five-book series published by Oxford University Press, on issues concerning Global Minority Rights Law, the latest entitled Minority Rights in the Middle East: A Comparative Legal Analysis (with Kathleen Cavanaugh). Joshua was part of the EU-China Experts & Diplomatic Dialogue and Lawyers for the New Millennium: Support for the Arab Law Union. He regularly engages with multilateral organizations, Law Societies, the judiciary and NGOs in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, on issues of human rights advocacy and public international law. He sits on the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) convened by Jeffrey Sachs under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, where he co-chairs the working group entitled Gender, Social Exclusion and Vulnerable Groups. (confirmation in progress)
Krzysztof Drzewicki is an LL.D., Dr Habil., Professor of Public International Law, University of Gdańsk, Poland. He has written extensively on the international protection of human rights and international humanitarian law of armed conflicts (over 130 publications). From 1989 to 1994 he was an adviser on international labour standards and human rights for the National Commission of trade union ‘Solidarność’.
In 1994 he was appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs an Agent of the Government of Poland before the European Commission and European Court of Human Rights. In this capacity he served as a minister counselor to the Permanent Representation of Poland to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg from 1999 till 2003 where he had continued to plead before the European Court of Human Rights.
In 2003-2010 he was a Senior Legal Adviser to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, The Hague. In 2014-2016 he was a deputy member of the Venice Commission. Since 2015 he has been a member of the Advisory Legal Committee for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
János Fiala-Butora is the graduate of the human rights LLM program of CEU Legal Studies ’04. After his studies as CEU, he served as a Legal Officer at the Mental Disability Advocacy Center in Budapest, and as the Executive Director of Minority Rights Group Europe in Budapest. He is a human rights attorney, representing several clients successfully before the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities and other international bodies. He has also been involved in law reform activities on behalf of persons with disabilities and national minorities in several Central European countries. In 2016, he earned an S.J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, and became a Frederick Sheldon Fellow at Harvard University.
Alejandro Fuentes is a Senior Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He received his PhD (in International Law) and LL.M (in Comparative and European Legal Studies) from Trento University (It.), and Law degree from the University of Córdoba (Arg.).
He is a regular lecturer at the Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, where he directs the course on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, teaches International Human Rights Law I and II, and supervises master theses.
His research focuses on international human rights law, in particular on international and regional systems of human rights protection, cultural diversity and identity, groups, minority and indigenous people rights, and human rights education. He has authored a book on Cultural diversity and indigenous peoples’ land claims: argumentative dynamics and jurisprudential approach in the Americas (Trento University, 2012).
He is a regular peer-reviewer of international scientific journals, including the Journal on Minority and Groups Rights and the Nordic Journal of International law, Brill Nijhoff, Leiden/Boston.
Alejandro Fuentes also has extensive experience in developing and implementing international programmes aimed to strengthen institutional capacities of judicial authorities and academic institutions in different regions in the world, especially in the field of human rights applied research and human rights education (HRE). He is currently closely collaborating with institutional partners in South-East Asia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Belarus, and with different European academic institutions.
Dr. Fuentes started his career in the Judicial Power of the Province of Córdoba (Arg.), where he worked for seven years as a judge’s assistance.
Gábor Kardos was born in 1956 in Budapest. He finished his J.D. at the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences, Eötvös University, Budapest (1980). He has PhD. in International Law at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995), and Doctoral Habilitation at the Eötvös University (2005).
After graduation Gábor Kardos became Assistant Professor, and later lecturer in the Department of International Law, Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences, Eötvös University, Budapest. Since 2007 he has been a fulltime professor at the same faculty. The main teaching and research interests of Professor Kardos are International Law, International Human Rights Law, Law of European Union, International Protection of Minority Rights, and Non-Military Aspects of Security.
Since 1998 he is a member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (Council of Europe).
Dolkun Isa is a former student-leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations at Xinjiang University in 1988. He founded the Students’ Science and Culture Union at the university in 1987 and worked on programs to eliminate illiteracy and to promote science and to lead other students in East Turkestan. He was then dismissed from university but completed his physics degree via independent study, and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Politics and Sociology from Gazi University in Turkey and a degree in Computer Science in Munich, Germany. After enduring persecution from the Chinese government, Isa fled China in 1994 and sought asylum in Europe, and became a citizen of Germany in 2006.
In November 1996, he played an important role in establishing the World Uyghur Youth Congress in Germany and served as Executive Chairman and President. In April 2004, he also played an important role in the establishment of the World Uyghur Congress through the merger of the East Turkestan National Congress and the World Uyghur Youth Congress and was elected General Secretary. He has since been presenting Uyghur human rights issues to the UN Human Rights Council, European Parliament, European governments and international human rights organizations. Dolkun Isa is the current President of the World Uyghur Congress.
Isa was also the leader of the students demonstration on 15 June 1988 and was expelled from the university in September, 1988 after four months of house arrest and a six hour-long dialogue with government officials about the students’ demands. Following this, he operated a small business and travelled to various cities in China and East Turkestan to collect information about the Chinese government’s Uyghur policy between 1988 and 1990. From 1990 to 1994, he learnt English and Turkish at Beijing Foreign Language University, and engaged in copying and distributing relevant Uyghur history books to the Uyghur community. In 1994, he was forced to leave China and fled to Turkey, where he received his Master’s Degree in Political Science from Gazi University in Ankara. He then founded the Eastern Turkestan Youth Union and served as the Chairman during his time in in the country.
Dolkun Isa has consistently advocated for the rights of the Uyghur people and has raised the issue in the United Nations, the institutions of the European Union and in individual states. He has worked to mobilize the Uyghur diaspora community to collectively advocate for their rights and the rights of the Uyghur population in the Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. He was recognised for his efforts in raising awareness of the human rights situation facing the Uyghur people and for calling for greater democracy and freedom in China by receiving the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Human Rights Award on 30 March 2016. In 2017, he was elected as the Vice-President of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), of which the World Uyghur Congress is a member. In this capacity, he works with other marginalised or unrepresented peoples to collectively strive for democracy, freedom and respect for basic human rights.
Dr Corinne Lennox is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Co-Director of the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Her research focuses on issues of minority and indigenous rights protection, civil society mobilisation for human rights and on human rights and development. She has worked for many years as a human rights practitioner with various NGOs, including at Minority Rights Group International, and has been an advisor on minority and indigenous rights to governments, the UNDP and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (Routledge 2015), editor of the open-access book Contemporary Challenges in Securing Human Rights (School of Advanced Study, University of London 2015), and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Human Rights. She is Programme Director of the new distance-learning MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights, University of London. Dr. Lennox is a Fellow of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, Vice-Chair of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK, and on the Advisory Board of the Tom Lantos Institute. Her current research projects include a major study of the UN Forum on Minority Issues, and a study on the intersections between pluralism and human rights for the Global Centre for Pluralism. She holds a PhD and MSc in International Relations from the LSE, and an MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex.
Tommaso Nodari is the Programme Director of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), an international, nonviolent, and democratic membership organisation that advocates for the rights of indigenous people and minorities. Its members are indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised States or occupied territories that have joined together to protect and promote their political, social and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to promote their right to self-determination. Tommaso Nodari holds an LLM in International Law from the University of Edinburgh and a MSc in Law from Bocconi University.
Gaetano Pentassuglia, Juris Dr, PhD, is a Reader (professor) in International Law and Human Rights at Liverpool University. He has published widely in the field, especially on human rights issues relating to minority groups, including indigenous peoples, and broader aspects of public international law (particularly customary international law-making). He has taught as a visiting professor at several universities such as Munich, Lund, Toronto, Palermo, Milano-Bicocca, and the European University Institute in Florence, and was recently a Visiting Professor at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain). Professor Pentassuglia’s latest books include Minorities in International Law (2002), Minority Groups and Judicial Discourse in International Law: A Comparative Perspective (2009) and Ethno-Cultural Diversity and Human Rights: Challenges and Critiques (2018). He has acted as consultant to a number of international and nongovernmental institutions and is a former member of the International Law Association Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Professor Pentassuglia is also a frequent contributor to online magazines and discussion forums.
Alan Phillips is an independent expert with decades of experience working in the field of minority rights. During his career, Phillips implemented global refugee scholarship programs for the World University Service (UK), and worked as the Deputy Director of the British Refugee Council and the Director of Minority Rights Group International. More recently, he served as a consultant on minority rights to international organizations working in the Western Balkans, such as the UN, OSCE, and the Council of Europe (CoE). In recent years, Phillips was closely involved in implementing the CoE Framework Convention on National Minorities (FCNM), first as the UK nominated independent expert to the CoE, and later as the President of the CoE FCNM. After leaving his position at the CoE, he has continued to work as a strategy consultant, most recently with the Roma Education Fund.
Manjula Pradeep brings with her over three decades of experience in human rights activism. In 2004, Pradeep was elected as Executive Director of Navsarjan, a grassroots Dalit organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination based on untouchability practices and ensure equality of status and opportunities for all. As the first woman to join Navsarjan in 1992, her work at the organization began as strengthening their legal aid program. Then for seven years, she worked in the rural areas of Vadodara District in the southern part of Gujarat on the implementation of the minimum wages act pertaining to agricultural labourers and bonded labourers. Since being elected Executive Director, she has been instrumental in growing and building the organization.
Pradeep has also advocated for human rights on an international level. From 2001 to 2004 she participated in the second preparatory committee meeting at the United Nations in Geneva on behalf of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) lobbying for caste-based discrimination to be included in the agenda of the World Conference against Racism. She also took part of the delegation of 200 representatives from NCDHR to address the issue of caste-based discrimination in the United Nations World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa.
Over the course of several years she has worked to build leadership of marginalized women in eight states of India under Women in Governance-India, a network of women leaders from Dalit communities and from North East of India. She assists women in enrolling in trainings as well as working with them directly to build their confidence and skills. She trained 575 Dalit activists from Gujarat to participate in the World Social Forum held in Mumbai in 2004. Pradeep has also led an in-depth study on Understanding Untouchability in 1589 villages of Gujarat during a period of three years. In 2013, the Joan B. Kroc Institute of the University of San Diego awarded her Women PeaceMaker. Under her directorship, Navsarjan was awarded Times Social Impact Award for 2012 in Advocacy and Empowerment category. Ms. Pradeep is also a member and former co-chair of the Executive Committee of International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), member of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies (IAWS) former Chairperson of Janpath a state-level network in Gujarat, India and Trustee of ANANDI, and SWATI, women’s organization in Gujarat, India. Currently Ms. Pradeep is associated with Manuski, Pune, an Organisation working on building national network of social activists from marginalized communities in India.
Manjula Pradeep holds a Bachelors Degree in Law from the Gujarat University and a Masters Degree in Social Work from University of Baroda from Gujarat, India.
Roberto Rojas Dávila
Mr. Rojas is Chief of the Groups on Situation of Vulnerability Section of the Department of Social Inclusion of the Organization of American States (OAS); Member of the Inter-American Bar Association; Member of the Latin American Studies Association – LASA; Member of the Dialogue Network DH – Network of Human Rights Activists in the Southern Hemisphere; Member of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora. Mr. Rojas was Legal Officer and consultant of the Department of International Law of the Secretariat of Legal Affairs of the OAS where he had been a principal advisor on International Human Rights Law and Anti-Discrimination Law. Also, he was in charge to monitor the implementation of the Inter-American Program for the Development and Promotion of International Law and to coordinate the courses of International Law, Refugees, Statelessness, and Inter-American System. Mr. Rojas holds Law degree and Postgraduate in Social Management from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. As well he holds a Master degree in International Law of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from American University – the Washington College of Law. Currently, he is a PhD candidate on Citizenship and Human Rights at University of Barcelona.
Graduated in law at the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), he received PhD in political science from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in 2006. He has specialized in international human and minority rights law. He is associate professor, head of department at the Department of International Law, Faculty of International and European Studies of the National University of Public Service. He is also senior research associate at the Institute for Minority Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Senior Non-Resident Research Associate at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI, Flensburg). Balázs Vizi is author of several publications on minority issues in the context of the European Union and co-editor of several books on minority rights protection.
Director, Dalit Solidarity Network UK
Meena has been Director of Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK) since 2007.
DSN-UK campaigns against the atrocities, humiliation and poverty that over 260 million Dalits or ‘untouchables’ suffer due to caste discrimination – in South Asia and also with the Diaspora Dalit population in the UK. Our current campaign in the UK is for domestic legislation to be introduced in the UK’s Equality Act against caste- based discrimination.
Members of both Houses of Parliament were so concerned about the issue in the UK that an ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP for DALITS was formed in October of 2010. This is a cross party group and now has more than 30 members from both Houses. Meena Varma is the Coordinator of the Group
DSN-UK lobbies political leaders nationally and internationally, as well as putting multinationals working in the Indian sub continent under pressure to acknowledge their responsibility to help tackle caste discrimination. We work with the Ethical Trading Initiative a tripartite organisation working with NGOs, trade Unions and Companies.
Meena is the Chair of the Board of the International Dalit Solidarity Network and Vice Chair of the Council of Minority Rights Group International. She was Board member and Treasurer of the Ethical Trading Initiative until March 2017.
She was previously Interim Director, Bootstrap Enterprises Ltd and Deputy Chief Executive of the Directory of Social Change – an organisation dedicated to ensuring a vibrant, thriving and professional voluntary sector.
Fernand de Varennes
Dr Fernand de Varennes completed his law degrees in Canada (LLB, Moncton), the United Kingdom (LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science), and the Netherlands (Dr Juris, Maastricht). He is the former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Moncton (Canada), Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), and from 2019 Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China). He also holds the mandate of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. He is renown as one of the world’s leading experts on the international human rights of minorities with more than 200 publications in some 30 languages and has focused particularly on issues surrounding languages. He was also as Editor-in-Chief of the Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law and has worked and written in areas of international law such as the prevention of ethnic conflicts, the rights of migrants, the relationship between ethnicity, human rights and democracies.
Evelin Verhas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. Evelin worked at Minority Rights Group Europe in Budapest and Amnesty International Secretariat in London. From 2010 to September 2016, she worked as conflict prevention programme officer and then legal cases officer at Minority Rights Group International in London. She was responsible for delivering programmes aiming to promote and protect rights of minority communities in Europe, East-Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and South-East Asia. Her work focused on international advocacy, litigation and capacity building. She joined TLI in October 2016 as Human and Minority Rights programme manager and currently is TLI’s Head of Programmes.
Adam originally came to the ERRC in 2013 as Legal Director to channel his passion for strategic litigation into change for Roma. Raised in a Jewish community with a deep education about the Holocaust, he keenly feels how serious and widespread antigypsyism in Europe is today. He wants to be part of fighting the everyday racism Roma experience, and realising the European ideal of equal societies based on human rights that he was raised to believe would be the legacy of what happened in the Second World War. He is a member of the New York State bar and holds an LLM from King’s College (University of London), a JD from Columbia Law School, a diplôme d’études approfondies from the Université de Paris-IV (La Sorbonne), and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. He has nurtured expertise in strategic litigation, non-profit management, and professional activism, and, as a lawyer, specialises in European Union migration law and litigation before the European Court of Human Rights. Weiss has been involved in the litigation of a wide range of cases before the European Court of Human Rights, as well as cases before domestic courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union. He has lectured widely on European law to judges, lawyers and NGOs and has published numerous academic articles and blogs on human rights and non-discrimination.
Dr Tegegn completed an MA in Development Studies: Politics of Alternative Development Strategies at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague and a PhD in Sociology, concentrating on development, freedom and democracy in Ethiopia, at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. He has worked as a Development Consultant and coordinator for a number of country and regional development programmes with regional NGOs. His areas of expertise include civil society, gender, ethnicity and ethnic conflicts, indigenous and pastoral peoples’ issues and communication for development media. From 2001-2005 he lectured part time at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Addis Ababa and at the Institute of Gender Studies, on issues including civil society, globalization, gender and development and advocacy. For a few years now, he has been the coordinator of the annual course on indigenous peoples’ human rights at the University of Pretoria. He is the author of ‘State’ and ‘Civil Society’ in Ethiopia (2013) and the forthcoming, The More Kenya ‘Changes’, the more it Remains the Same (2019) and a memoir (2018). His many publications include Power Politics: Kinijit in the 2005 Elections; in Zegeye, A., Togia, P., and Tegegn, M., Ethiopia: Ethiopian Millennium Special Publication (SAGE, New Delhi, forthcoming), and The Ethiopia-Eritrea Conflict: A Critical Observation, with Abebe Zegeye, (Institute of Global Dialogue, Occasional Paper No. 54, Johannesburg, 2007). He is a member of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.