Panellists and Trainers 2018

  • Alban Muriqi
    Alban Muriqi is a Project Manager at the Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT). In his work, he counsels and represents convicted and pretrial detainees, monitors court cases, and carries out advocacy and lobbying to amend legislation and national strategies. He particularly focuses on human rights in prisons, police detention centers, and mental health institutions.
  • Alexander Lange
    Alexander Lange is the International Development Officer at Civil Rights Defenders, working on international fundraising and major gifts. A German-American dual citizen, he joined Civil Rights Defenders in 2017 after several years working for American political campaigns, including Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and as a political analyst. At Civil Rights Defenders, Alexander specialises in gaining a better understanding of what motivates donors and how to connect with them on that basis.
  • Alfredo Romero
    Alfredo Romero is the president of Foro Penal Venezolano. The organisation consists of more than 4 000 activists who provide assistance to victims of state repression and register human rights abuses against dissident in Venezuela. Alfredo is a Professor of Public Law at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He was a research fellow (2015-2016) at the Carr Center for Human Rights policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and is the author of various articles and books about public and constitutional law, human rights and crimes against humanity. He was named the 2017 laureate of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award​.
  • Ameha Mekonnen
    Ameha Mekonnen is a human rights lawyer and Board Deputy Chairperson of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council. He is one of the few remaining human rights lawyers who bravely dare to represent political prisoners in Ethiopia. Ameha is the former Chief Prosecutor for Addis Ababa. Photo: Benno Müchler
  • Anna Magnard
    Anna Magnard is the Development Director at Civil Rights Defenders. After a decade in the nonprofit sector, working with corporate partnerships and major donor relations, she is still passionate about finding out how a business angle can be connected to the nonprofit cause. Anna believes that it is key to build long-term relationships with donors, understand the incentives behind an investment in a cause, and balance the value for money for both parties in a partnership.
  • Annika Åkerberg
    Annika holds a law degree from Stockholm University and has worked with children’s rights and disability issues at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. She has also participated in several government commissions on human rights. In 2015, the United Nations Association of Sweden awarded her a prize for her work on human rights and discrimination. Annika joined Civil Rights Defenders as a Legal Adviser in September 2015.
  • Ben Leather
    Ben Leather is a campaigner for the protection of land and environmental rights defenders at Global Witness, and also provides training for local activists on security, advocacy and how to interact strategically with international human rights mechanisms. He was previously with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), lobbying for human rights defender protection, corporate accountability, and a stronger UN. Ben also used to live and work in Mexico, providing international accompaniment and support for at-risk human rights defenders with Peace Brigades International (PBI). Follow him at @BenLeather1.
  • Benedicte Berner
    Benedicte Berner is the Chairperson of the Board at Civil Rights Defenders. Benedicte is a lecturer in media and democracy at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). She has also lectured on freedom of expression at Harvard University and is an Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. She has previously worked at the International Red Cross and IOM (International Organization for Migration) in Moscow, and as director of International Issues at the European Institute for the Media.
  • César Rodríguez Garavito
    César is the founding Director of the Global Justice Program at the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), co-founder and current executive director of the Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia) and Co-director of the Global School on Socioeconomic Rights. He is a leader in action-research, combining rigorous scholarship with direct advocacy and institutional development in the area of human rights, as well as the author of numerous books and journal articles on globalisation, human rights, and social movements. César is also the founding director of the Human Rights Lab and he recently founded the JustLabs.
  • Claus Hesseling
    Claus Hesseling is the Director of Journalism Programs and Principal Trainer at Interlink Academy. He started working as an online journalist in 2001 and is a reporter and producer for Germany’s public TV and broadcasting network ARD. As a data journalist, he creates “data-driven” TV documentaries. For more than 15 years now, he has worked as a media trainer for journalism institutions and newsrooms around the globe. On behalf of Interlink Academy he currently is working on the EU-project “INJECT”, which creates a digital creativity tool for newsrooms.
  • Davis M. Malombe
    Davis M. Malombe is Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)'s Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programmes. He is a graduate of political science and international relations. He is an activist, researcher, practitioner, and manager with profound expertise and experience in human rights approaches, good governance, and policy advocacy; strategic, operational, and programmes management; as well as monitoring & evaluation, and resource mobilisation.
  • Debbie Gild-Hayo
    Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo is the Association for Civil Rights in Israel's (ACRI) Policy Advocacy Director. She joined ACRI in 2006 and has since overseen ACRI's policy advocacy work in the Knesset committees and before leading decision makers and government officials. She received a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University, followed by an LL.B. from Tel Aviv University, as well as a master's degree in Public Interest Law at Tel Aviv University. Debbie completed her legal internship in the law division of the Defense Ministry, and went on to work as an attorney in private practice in the field of commercial law before joining ACRI in 2006.
  • Eang Vuthy
    Eang Vuthy the Executive Director of human rights organisation Equitable Cambodia and a land and housing rights advocate. Equitable Cambodia is at the forefront of the Cambodian civil society’s struggle to secure housing, land and natural resources rights for the urban and rural poor. Most recently Vuthy has supported communities affected by the Boueng Kak Lake development in Phnom Penh and the Asian Development Bank-supported Railway Rehabilitation Project, as wells as indigenous communities displaced by rubber plantations in Cambodia’s highlands.
  • Elle Armageddon
    Elle Armageddon is a US-born writer, activist, and street medic with a background in wilderness- and improvised medicine. Elle has spent the past several years learning, using, and sharing best practices for treating the myriad injuries likely to occur at any given protest, with a specialised focus on front-lines emergency care for high-conflict demonstrations.
  • Erik Jennische
    Erik Jennische is the Programme Director for the Latin America Department at Civil Rights Defenders. He holds an MA in Sociology, specialising in democratisation processes. He has also worked with democracy promotion in Latin America as well as in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. From 2010-2013 he worked as a journalist in Brazil.
  • Gabrielle Gunneberg
    Gabrielle Gunneberg works with institutional donor relations at Civil Rights Defenders. She holds a MA in Political Science and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and Lund University. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders she has worked with development issues and human rights for several civil society organisations, mainly in Asia and Sweden. She has also worked at the World Bank as a Social Development specialist, focusing on development and human rights issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • Goran Miletic
    Goran began working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2004 as a Programme Officer for the Western Balkans. Today, he is the Director for Europe at Civil Rights Defenders, and is stationed at the organisation’s Regional Office for Europe in Belgrade. Goran holds a Master of Laws from the Belgrade University, as well as a Master of Arts from the European Regional Master on Democracy and Human Rights in Sarajevo.
  • Jamila Raqib
    Jamila Raqib is a specialist in the study and practice of strategic nonviolent action. She is the executive director of the Albert Einstein Institution, which works to advance the research and application of nonviolent action worldwide. Since 2002, she has worked with Dr. Gene Sharp, the founder of the field of strategic nonviolent action. Jamila is currently a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, where she is exploring how innovations in technology and education can contribute to greater effectiveness in the study and application of nonviolent struggle. Her work includes the development of a curriculum intended to help groups prepare wise strategic plans to conduct struggles for the defence and attainment of their civil and political rights.
  • John Stauffer
    John is the Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders. John is a human rights lawyer with a Master of Laws from Stockholm University. He has previously worked for the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman where he was responsible for investigating cases of discrimination. John also spent time working with human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the conflict. During his four years working with the OSCE mission, John initially focused on creating conditions for the return of displaced persons. Later on, as the Director of the Human Rights Department, he was responsible for the organisation’s work on issues such as war crimes, rule of law, minority rights, and economic and social rights. John joined Civil Rights Defenders in March 2013.
  • Jolanta Cihanovica
    Jolanta Cihanovica is a human rights activist from Latvia and the co-founder of “Mozaika”, which is the only Latvian LGBT organisation. She is also the co-founder of “Dia+Logs”, a resource centre for people affected by HIV/AIDS. She is a clinical psychologist, as well as an internationally acclaimed organisational consultant and trainer. Jolanta does trainings in the field of psychological security, enhancing personal and organisational wellbeing, communication, strategic planning, and media communication.
  • Jonas Ruškus
    Professor Jonas Ruškus is an internationally recognised expert in the area of disability rights. In his current positions, he is a Member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations, a Member of the National Commission of UNESCO, a Board Member of both Kaunas l’Arche Community and the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, a national expert in the Academic Network of European Disability, and the Editor-in Chief of the peer-reviewed journal “Social work: Experience and methods”.
  • Klejda Ngjela
    During her ten years working at the Albanian Helsinki Committee, Klejda has engaged in several areas of human rights. She has particularly focused on the human rights situation of persons deprived of their liberty in closed institutions, such as detention centres, prisons, police stations, and psychiatric hospitals. She has also focused on the rights of vulnerable groups in society, the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers, respect of juvenile rights, and issues related to the functioning of the local government. Klejda has extensive experience in human rights work, and has authored several reports published by the Albanian Helsinki Committee.
  • Krizna Gomez
    Krizna Gomez is a research coordinator at the Colombian think-do tank Dejusticia, focusing on the closing of space for civil society and solidarity support to defenders at risk in the Global South. She has a Master of Laws (LL.M) with a concentration in International Human Rights Law from Harvard, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Juris Doctor from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Krizna started as a human rights lawyer and law lecturer in the Philippines and has worked extensively on issues related to gender-based violence, education, and protection of human rights defenders. Krizna is a facilitator at the Human Rights Lab and JustLabs.
  • Maina Kiai
    Maina Kiai is a Co-director of InformAction, a human rights organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2011 to 2017, Maina served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. As the inaugural UN Special Rapporteur for his issue, he developed a strong mandate that brought the voices of civil society to the forefront and defended democratic space in an increasingly hostile international environment. Concurrently, he continued to lead InformAction, an organisation he founded with the goal of using the power of film to engage and activate everyday citizens in Kenya.
  • Marcin de Kaminski
    Marcin de Kaminski is the Programme Director for the Human Rights Defenders at Risk Department at Civil Rights Defenders. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders, he worked as the Policy Specialist for Freedom of Expression/ICT at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Marcin has a background as a sociologist and internet researcher, and has a specific expertise in the intersection of technology and human rights.
  • Margareta Björk
    Margareta Björk (the Moderate Party) is the first vice President of the Stockholm City Council.
  • Martin L. Fällman
    Martin is an experienced Internet activist. He has worked with the Telecomix activist network during the Arab Spring to reinstate Internet connectivity in Egypt and reveal the surveillance equipment that was used in Tunisia and Syria. As a freelance trainer, he has also provided digital security training to journalists and activists from many parts of the world. Up until recently he coordinated an anti-censorship project for the Swedish NGO Juliagruppen. Today, Martin works as a Protection Officer for the Human Rights Defenders at Risk Department at Civil Rights Defenders.
  • Mathias Antonsson
    Mathias Antonsson is in charge of the Human Rights Innovation Initiative at Civil Rights Defenders. His previous experience includes the United Nations Secretariat in New York, where he received a UN 21 Award for his project management skills. Prior to that, Mathias has worked for the Embassy of Sweden in Australia, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and Kenya Ushahidi – a technology leader in Africa. Mathias is also the founder and CEO of Plurrify, an international podcast on innovation, social entrepreneurship and activism.
  • Maxida Märak
    Maxida Märak is a Sámi jojk-singer, hiphop musician, actress, and activist. Her songs are honest and straight forward, and often include political messages. She writes about her own experiences, from her perspective as Sámi, in order to raise awareness and understanding among the public. One of her favourite songs, which also became the starting point for her to produce her own music, is a protest song about the mining industry.
  • Meltem Aslan
    Meltem Aslan is the Executive Director of Anadolu Kultur and the Co-director of Hakikat Adalet Hafıza Merkezi (Hafıza Merkezi, engl. Truth Justice Memory Center). Recently, her area of work has focused on transitional justice, dealing with the past and intercultural dialogue and reconciliation through arts and culture. She has attended conferences and workshops on these topics including the ICTJ's Cape Town Fellowship on Transitional Justice and gave lectures and seminars at various Turkish universities. In the past 10 years, in addition to these areas, she has also done work related to local governance and women's rights at TESEV and Kadın Yurttaş Ağı Derneği (KAYA) respectively.
  • Mesfin Negash
    Mesfin is a journalist by profession, and holds a degree in Political Science and International Relations. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of a popular newspaper in Ethiopia. Later on, the government accused and sentenced him in a politically motivated trial for “supporting terrorism”. Human Rights Watch and the Swedish chapter of Reporters Without Borders have awarded him prizes for his contribution to freedom of speech. Mesfin has also worked as a Communication and Programme Officer for local and international NGOs in Ethiopia. Continuing his journalism and human rights activism in exile, he joined Civil Rights Defenders first as a volunteer and then as a Programme Director in 2014.
  • Mikael Ehrlington
    Mikael Ehrlington is the Development Officer at Civil Rights Defenders, working on fundraising and brand building. With a background in PR and marketing, he utilises his skills in storytelling, conceptualisation and integrated communication in order to attract new private and corporate donors. In short, he knows how to engage people on a tight budget through a creative, but structured, approach – like the time he convinced a small 250-year-old paint company to try to put a red cottage on the moon through crowdfunding. It failed, but not before a billion people had been reached by the news of it.
  • Mikko Hyppönen
    Mikko Hypponen is a security expert. He has worked at F-Secure since 1991, and fought the biggest virus outbreaks in the Internet history. He has been a speaker at the TED talks three times, and he has addressed the most important security conferences worldwide. Mikko has also written about his research in the New York Times and Wired.
  • Murat Çelikkan
    Murat Çelikkan is the Co-director of the independent human rights organisation Hakikat Adalet Hafıza Merkezi (Hafıza Merkezi, engl. Truth Justice Memory Center). Founded by a group of lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders in 2011, the organisation aims to uncover the truth concerning past violations of human rights, strengthen the collective memory about those violations, and support survivors in their pursuit of justice. Murat is a journalist by profession, and one of the most tenacious voices for human rights in Turkey. He was recently awarded the Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2018.
  • Nadin Yamaui
    Nadin Yamaui, a 24-year-old system engineer, is the systems manager at the human rights organisation Foro Penal Venezolano. He is also the creator of the organisation's automated registration process of arbitrary detentions in Venezuela. He started developing the database due to the wave of protests in the country in 2014, and today it includes both the victims of human rights violations, and their defence lawyers. In addition, the system helps to support various reports related to human rights violations in the country. Nadin also holds the position as technical director at the systems company Caag Software, and he is one of the founders of HQ Rental Software.
  • Olle Segerdahl
    Having worked with both “breaking” and ”building” security solutions for more than 18 years, Olle Segerdahl is a veteran within the IT security industry. Prior to joining F-Secure as a principal security consultant, he worked on verifying the security of cryptographic products, and co-founded a start-up that built software whitelisting solutions that are used in industrial robots and medical equipment. Olle regularly speaks at information security conferences, and he is also co-founder of one of them – the SEC-T hacker conference in Stockholm.
  • Pavel Chikov
    Since 1999, Pavel Chikov has been a leading human rights lawyer in Russia, and head of several human rights organisations in Moscow and Kazan. Today, he is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group Agora. Agora has defended more than 100 political, human rights, and civic activists from criminal persecution since 2006. Pavel has developed model practices for human rights groups in Russia on how to effectively use advocacy and litigation to combat police abuse, arbitrariness in the military, medical negligence and brutality against prisoners.
  • Peter Öholm
    Peter Öholm works as a Protection Officer for the Human Rights Defenders at Risk Department at Civil Rights Defenders. Before joining the organisation, Peter worked as a journalist during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and was stationed in Makarska and Tuzla. He has also worked as a reporter at Arbetaren, Aftonbladet, TV4, Ekot SR and Stockholm News. Peter started working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2004, first as Programme Officer for the Western Balkans and then for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • Ramy Essam
    In 2011 Ramy Essam exploded into international fame as the voice of the Egyptian revolution. His songs spread like wildfire among the demonstrators, and during the height of the uprising, Ramy performed in front of millions of people in the Tahir Square. The songs became the soundtrack of a whole generation of young Egyptians’ struggle for a better future. But fame came at a heavy price and attempts have been made to silence him through torture, arrests and censorship. His songs were banned and he was unable to perform public shows. Still, he came out even stronger and more determined to speak out against the oppression.
  • Ronan Costello
    Ronan works as part of Twitter’s Public Policy team in Dublin. The team covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and represents Twitter with government and civil society. Ronan leads on Third-Party Outreach & Government Partnerships, and also oversees Twitter’s Ads for Good programme. Prior to joining Twitter, Ronan managed media and communications for the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), devising the communications strategies for a number of welfare and education campaigns. He has also worked for Áras an Uachtaráin (Office of the President of Ireland) and Trinity College Students’ Union. He is @Ronan_Costello on Twitter.
  • Sam Gregory
    Sam is the Program Director of WITNESS which empowers anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to fight for human rights. He also teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School. An award-winning human rights advocate, video producer and technologist, Sam has worked on impactful campaigns worldwide, developed innovative training tools and programmes reaching many activists and movements, and collaborated on critical tools like ObscuraCam and ProofMode. In 2015, he launched the ‘Mobil-Eyes Us’ initiative, combining immersive live video with smart task-routing within networks to drive more meaningful activism. Sam supervises WITNESS’ Media Lab, focused on innovation in eyewitness video for human rights, and WITNESS’ Tech + Advocacy work, which advocates to technology companies on how their platforms are used for human rights change.
  • Stefan Mikaelsson
    Stefan Mikaelsson was born in Lentjavalle, Älvsbyn, Sweden, to a Sámi family of five. After his military service, Stefan followed in his father’s footsteps and became a Forest Sámi reindeer herder. He has been involved in Sámi politics since 1986. Since the establishment of the Swedish Sámi Parliament in 1993, Stefan has served in the Skogssamerna – Vuovdega party, representing the interests of the Forest Sámi. Stefan is actively involved in the advancement of the right to self-determination of the Sámi people, justice and equality, increasing awareness of racism toward the Sámi peoples in Sweden, and the unequal role of women.
  • Stefánia Kapronczay
    Stefánia Kapronczay currently serves as the Executive Director of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU). As program director, Stefánia leads HCLU's effort to stop restrictions on reproductive rights, criminalisation of homelessness, and to foster the rights of persons with disabilities. She was elected as the co-chair of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations in May, 2014. Stefánia is an honorary member of The City is For All, a grassroots organisation of homeless people, and member of the advisory board of the Rajk László College for Advanced Studies.
  • Tania Bruguera
    Tania Bruguera was born in 1968 in Havana, Cuba. She is a politically motivated performance artist who explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. She expands the definition and range of performance art, sometimes performing solo but more often staging participatory events and interactions that build on her own observations, experiences, and interpretations of the politics of repression and control. Tania Bruguera has explored both the promise and failings of the Cuban Revolution in performances that provoke viewers to consider the political realities masked by government propaganda and mass-media interpretation. Photo: Claudio Fuentes