Human rights defenders play an essential role in the realisation of rights and promotion of equality. Not only do they fight for human rights in situations of oppression and abuse; they also act as monitors, drawing attention both of their respective communities and of the international community to otherwise neglected violations and threats. They assist victims in claiming their rights and contribute to holding those in power accountable, thereby combatting cultures of impunity which serve to cloak systematic and repeated breaches of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Furthermore, by linking the local level to the global and the global to the local, human rights defenders contribute to sustaining a circle of empowerment at all levels. New generations of human rights defenders naturally focus on the precarious situation of children and youth in all regions of the world and in this way help to reinvigorate the global human rights movement.
Human Rights Lawyer
Hauwa is a Nigerian human rights lawyer who won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2005. She was especially cited for her pro bono work defending people condemned under the Islamic Sharia laws that are in force in the northern Nigerian provinces, including her defence of Amina Lawal, Safiya Hussaini and Hafsatu Abubákar.
Hauwa has been a Visiting Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law and Stonehill College, a World Fellow at Yale University, a Radcliffe fellow, and a fellow at both the Human Rights Program and the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard University.
While a Radcliffe fellow, Ibrahim adopted an interdisciplinary approach to delve into the theoretical foundations of Shariah law and examine how they have influenced legal practice, which has, in turn, affected the human rights of women in West Africa. Her research led to the book Practicing Shariah Law: Seven Strategies for Achieving Justice in Shariah Courts, published in January 2013.
Afghan Human Rights Activist
Najiba Haidary is an Afghan girl born in Kabul, Afghanistan. She gained her Bachelor in Sharia Law at Kabul University and her Master in International Law at a private university in Kabul, Afghanistan.
She has supported Human Rights agendas at different capacities under different organizations such as national and international NGOs, as well as within the UN system.
She started her career as women’s social and political participation advocate under Security Council resolution 1325. She has worked at grassroot, subnational and national levels in her country. She later joined UNICEF in 2016, where she mainly focused on behavior change communication, tackling harmful traditional practices which are causing children and women to lack their basic rights, specifically the rights of protection from violence, abuse, exploitation.
In addition to that, she worked for empowerment and civic participation of youth and adolescents via the establishment of youth and adolescents network to inform them and empower them for their rights under Convention on the Rights of the Child - 1989 and national legislations and policies. Besides that, she has been a volunteer supporting girls’ education via group donation and income generation projects. With other volunteers of the Afghan Creative Youth Association, she provides the income generation projects to the families who suffer from unemployment based on their own proposals, conditioning support of the families for their daughters’ education.
She strongly believes in girls’ education as a door for their own and their nation’s bright future. She recently joined Global Campus of Human Rights to obtain her Master in Human Rights and Democratization, where she aims to be voice of her nation for the world.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom - Afghanistan
Hareer Hashim, young 24 year old Afghan advocate, works as Program Manager for Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Afghanistan section. She is one of the 14 Sakharov fellows selected by the European Parliament within the 2021 Sakharov fellowship programme.
She is a humanitarian practitioner whose interest focuses on reforming Taliban narratives through the empowerment of women and male ulemas (Islamic scholars). Project Manager of the Confronting Militarized Masculinities project, which aims at deconstructing sexist stereotypes among Afghan men.
Currently, her work focuses on advocating for the rights and protection of human and women rights defenders, whose lives are at stake, especially with the new political regime of Afghanistan, that has posed many life-threatening situations for the intellectual members of Afghanistan, especially women and human rights activists. Hareer recently left Afghanistan in August 2021.
2012 Right Livelihood Laureate
Sima Samar is a 2012 Right Livelihood Laureate. Samar served in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan and established the first-ever Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
From June 2002 to July 2019, she chaired the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission that holds human rights violators accountable, a commitment that has put her own life at great risk.
In December 2019, Sima Samar was appointed as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement. She is also a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation.
National Democratic Movement in Belarus
One of the three leaders of the national democratic movement in Belarus. Along with Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya and Maria Kalesnikova, she succeeded in bringing together an unprecedented number of people to protest against a regime that violates human rights, falsified presidential elections and uses brutal violence against its citizens.
The trio have recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and have already received international Democracy and Sakharov Awards. Currently, Veranika is supporting Belarusian women who have in recent months, been on the receiving end of the regime's cruelty.
Volha Kavalkova is a Belarusian activist and a member of the presidium of the Coordination Council of Belarus that was formed by the presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to transition the political power in Belarus in the aftermath the 2020 Belarusian protests and the disputed 2020 Belarusian presidential election.
As member of the Coordination Council, she was among the individuals representing the democratic opposition of Belarus who were awarded the 2020 Sakharov Prize.
University of Cyprus
Kalliope Agapiou Josephides holds a PhD in Political Science from Paris I Panthéon - Sorbonne University, Paris, France, and is a Jean Monnet Chair holder (2001) and Assistant Professor at the University of Cyprus. She sits on the Council of the Global Campus of Human Rights and is the European Master’s Director for her University.
She served as chair of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EU Agency) and Vice- President of the European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation, Venice. She is a founding member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network and a member of the scientific advisory board of the European Yearbook of Human Rights.
She has a great interest, and long experience, in the nexus of human rights, democratisation and gender equality. She served as lead author in the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and the European Parliament study on Women’s Rights During Democratic Transitions. She also served as a convener of the Venice School of Human Rights. She has participated in and led several national and international research projects. She has served as academic convener/speaker at high-level international events and has taught/delivered lectures around the world.
Gender Equality Trainer
Antónia Barradas is the head of Barradas Direitos Humanos, a consultancy for human rights advocacy in Portugal. She is a gender equality trainer and part of the list of specialists for the Portuguese Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality.
In 2019 she was the Senior Gender Expert to the European Union Delegation on a project on gender equality in the Public Prosecution Service in Brazil and in 2018 she was the adjunct to the President of Socialist Women of the Portuguese Socialist Party.
Previously she practiced as a lawyer and worked for Amnesty International, as well as other NGOs. She is a PhD candidate in Law at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and an E.MA graduate from 2011. She carried out an E.MA Internship at UNESCO's Sector for Social and Human Sciences in Paris and a Fellowship as part of the human rights team at the European Union Delegation to the UN in Geneva.
Forbidden Colours NPO – Executive Director
Rémy Bonny is the executive director of Forbidden Colours NPO. Forbidden Colours is an EU-wide fund that is working to make LGBTI-organisations more stable and sustainable.He is a political scientist and LGBTQI activist from Belgium. He is a specialist in the way the LGBTI-movement’s demands construct international relations – specifically in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In recent years, Rémy has been conducting research to the interactions between illiberal states like Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation and the European Union and former Soviet Republics. Therefore, he has been living in Budapest, Brussels, Warsaw and Venice.
He graduated in 2018 as a Master of Science in Political Science at the Free University of Brussels(VUB) – where his dissertation was supervised by the well-known professor in international relations Dr. Jonathan Holslag. After his Master, Rémy graduated from the postgraduate programme of the Global Campus of Human Rights.
As an advocate and researcher in LGBTQI-Politics, Rémy travels around the world to talk to LGBTI-organisations, high-level policy makers and academics about his research and the situation in their countries and in the EU. His work has been featured in many international media like Time, Vice, Le Monde, Têtu & The EU Observer.
University of Deusto, Bilbao
Felipe Gómez Isa
Felipe Gómez Isa is Professor of Public International Law and researcher at the Pedro Arrupe Institute of Human Rights of the University of Deusto (Bilbao, The Basque Country, Spain).
He was Spanish Representative before the UN open-ended working group for the adoption of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. He has been Director of the UN Fellowship Programme for Human Rights Education to Latin American indigenous peoples.
He has published extensively on issues such as international protection of human rights, transitional justice or indigenous peoples' rights. He is National Director of the EMA and Vice-Dean for International Relations of Deusto Law School.
Programme Officer, UNEP, Law Division
Angela is a Programme Officer at UNEP’s Law Division. Her work focuses on human rights and the environment, issues related to environmental human rights defenders, and mineral resource governance.
Independent Expert on Human Rights and Social Policy
Miloon Kothari (India) served as the first UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing (2000-2008). He has published widely on issues such as the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), housing and land rights, gender, forced evictions, globalization and its impact on human rights and the environment, civil society and trade.
He regularly advises governments, UN agencies, research organizations and international and national civil society organizations on the human rights system, the UPR, as well as other human rights issues. He is the founding member of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN – an Indian human rights coalition focussing on the UPR – and was the convenor from 2009 to 2014.
He is also President of UPR Info, since 2015. An architect by training, Mr Kothari has been a Guest Professor and Visiting Scholar to numerous universities and institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since February 2021, he has been a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
In this capacity, he assesses the implementation of international human rights law, raises awareness, engages in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, and provides advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building to help address violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of the sexual orientation or gender identity. He is a Costa Rican jurist and a senior visiting researcher at the Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.
Until June 2019 he served as the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), a global network of over 150 rehabilitation centers with the vision of full enjoyment of the right to rehabilitation for all victims of torture and ill treatment until 30 June 2019. A member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture from 2013 to 2016, Mr Madrigal-Borloz was Rapporteur on Reprisals and oversaw a draft policy on the torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons.
Prior to this, he led technical work on numerous cases, reports and testimonies as Head of Litigation and Head of the Registry at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and has also worked at the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Copenhagen, Denmark) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (San José, Costa Rica). Mr Madrigal-Borloz is a founding member of the Costa Rican Association of International Law (ACODI), a founding Board member of the International Justice Resource Centre (IJRC), and a founding Board member of Synergia-IDH.
Dalila Mujagic is the Legal Advisor with WITNESS' Video As Evidence Program. She has worked with grassroots organizations around the world on issues including post-conflict reconstruction, housing rights, and war crimes.
Currently, she supports lawyers and human rights activists in ensuring that the video and imagery they capture can help secure justice for their communities. Dalila's work and research is committed to exploring new and emerging uses of technology for justice, and that these learnings are shared and accessible throughout the world.
Global Campus of Human Rights Secretary General
In addition to his function as Secretary General of Global Campus, Manfred Nowak is Professor of International Human Rights at the University of Vienna (where he is head of the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights and two human rights research centres, including the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, which he founded in 1992). In October 2016 he was appointed as UN Expert to lead the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.
Aside from Vienna University, Manfred Nowak was Professor of International Law and Human Rights at various prestigious universities, such as Utrecht, Lund, Stanford and the Graduate Institute in Geneva and has published more than 600 books and articles in this field.
In the past, Manfred Nowak also carried out various expert functions for the UN, the Council of Europe, the EU and other inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. Most importantly, he served for many years in various functions as UN Expert on Enforced Disappearances (1993 to 2006), as one of eight international judges in the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo (1996 to 2003), and as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2004 to 2010).
Global Campus of Human Rights Academic Director
Prof. George Ulrich has worked for the Global Campus in a variety of capacities. He served as GC Europe / EMA Programme Director from 2016-2019, as Secretary General of EIUC (the predecessor of the Global Campus) from 2003-2009, and as Academic Coordinator / Programme Director of EMA from 2001- 2004.
In between these appointments, he held the position of Rector and Professor of Human Rights at the Riga Graduate School of Law from 2009-2016.
George obtained his Ph.D. as well as an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto, Canada, and holds the degree of Cand. Mag. in Social Anthropology and History of Ideas from Aarhus University, Denmark.
Among his main research interests are issues related to the history and philosophy of human rights, human rights diplomacy, human rights and development cooperation, health and human rights, international medical ethics, and ethics for human rights professionals.
He is one of the joint editors of a Global Campus publication on music and human rights. A key focus of his teaching is to equip students to effectively engage with expressions of human rights scepticism.
Marjolein van den Brink
Dr Marjolein van den Brink is a lecturer in law at the Utrecht University School of Law, where she works for the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) and participates in the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law (UCERF). Her research focuses on issues of biased law, privilege and non-discrimination.
She is currently involved in two major research projects. Together with dr. Christine Quinan (Gender Studies, Utrecht University) she is working on ‘The GIRARE Project’ (Gender Identity Registration and Human Rights Effects), exploring relationships between changes in sex registration practices and human well-being. Tensions between new legislation and long-standing social attitudes are an important focus of the project, as is the interaction between invocations of human rights discourses and changes to the institutionalization of binary conceptions of sex and gender. The research stay in Cambridge (January 2017) was used to work on this project. A second interdisciplinary project Marjolein and Christine are currently engaged with, is looking into the intersection of gender, sexuality and contemporary migration.
Human Rights Educator
Dr. Zoi Aliozi is EMA’s Teaching Fellow at the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice. She is a scholar-activist, a human rights educator, and an award-winning philosopher.
She has been engaging with climate justice research and activism—while lecturing law, philosophy, and cinema. Zoi holds a PhD in Philosophy, Law and Human Rights from LUISS University of Rome (Italy) and Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (USA).
She completed a Postdoc on Global Constitutionalism at the Irish Center of Human Rights, and served as a human rights lecturer in the Law school and the school of Film and Digital Media of NUIG in Ireland. She has taught in the Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy school, and is teaching remote courses on ‘Cinema, Creative Media and Law’ at Canterbury University.
She is an inter-disciplinary scholar, with expertise in human rights law, analytic philosophy, climate justice, digital advocacy and distance learning. She has a special eye for ‘new tech for good’ (IT, AI and digital communications) – as well as a deep passion for visual arts and creative media for legal education and philosophy.
Climate Justice Activist
Vic Barrett is from low-lying land in New York, which is threatened by rising sea levels and more frequent form suggest, and has felt firsthand climate impacts in the form of Hurricane Sandy, when his home lost power and his school and local transport shut down.
In 2015, he joined the constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, as a youth plaintiff alongside twenty other youth from across the country. Vic was a Fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education, and traveled to Paris to attend and speak at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change.
After marching in solidarity with more than 400,000 people at the People’s Climate March in New York City, he organized his peers in local frontline climate campaigns, met with the Minister of Environment and Energy for the Maldives, and met with former U.S. astronaut, Kathryn D. Sullivan, who now serves as the Administrator for NOAA.
He spoke at the United Nations headquarters in New York City for the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. He cares deeply about climate change, justice, and human rights, especially regarding the ways climate change affects young people like him.