The Children’s Rights Team is comprised of members located in all regions of the Global Campus. The team is coordinated in Venice (Lido), supported in Vienna and includes seven regional children's rights officers. The team works in close connection with the Global Study Team.
Children’s Rights Project Manager
Thobekile Sithole is a legal professional specialising in children’s rights, child protection and family law with 12 years’ experience gained in legal practice and civil society spaces. She joined the Global Campus in 2022 to manage the children’s rights projects under the Global Campus - Right Livelihood cooperation.
She’s a registered lawyer in Zimbabwe and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Psychology, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Cape Town and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Family, Responsibility and the Law from the University of Sussex. She also took short courses in Child rights and Women’s rights at the University of Pretoria and a holds a certificate in Project Management.
Thobekile has programmatic experience in the field of child protection and rights. She has been involved in civil society capacity building, advocacy and influencing initiatives undertaken by the Child Rights Coalition and Girls not brides coalition in Zimbabwe, such as advocating for the constitutional alignment of legislation like the Marriages Bill, Education Amendment Act, Child Justice Bill and the domestication of the SADC Model law in Eradicating Child Marriages and Protecting Children already in marriage.
She contributed to the drafting and compilation of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) Civil society Complementary report 2019, and coordinated the data collection for the drafting of the Zimbabwe Universal Periodic Review 2021 and UNCRC CSO report 2021. Thobekile has a keen interest in child participation having worked closely with the Zimbabwe Junior members of parliament and Junior councillors since 2019.
John Paul P. A. Amah joined the Global Campus of Human Rights as an intern in 2021. He worked with the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty team and supported the project management on children’s rights. Presently, he is the Child Rights Officer based in Venice and supports activities of the Children’s Rights Department.
Before joining the Global Campus, he worked for 10 years as youth and adolescent educator and counsellor in different regions of Cameroon. He also worked as Field Officer for ‘Human Is Right’, a Cameroon-based NGO where he undertook field missions and documented human rights violations in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon under armed conflict.
He holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the EMA Programme. He also holds a Post Graduate Teachers’ Diploma Grade II, obtained from Ecole Normale Superieure, University of Yaounde I, a Maitrise en Droit, from the University of Yaounde II, and a Bachelor’s in Management and Environment Geography, from the University of Dschang, all in Cameroon. His research interests on children’s rights include children’s right to participation and their right to education. /p>
Dr. Chiara Altafin leads various research-based activities and projects at the GC Headquarters, with a primary focus on strengthening research, education, training, network-building and advocacy for the rights of children. Since September 2015 she has also worked as EMA Fellow, and lectures on topics related to human rights, International and European law, coordinates and teaches in the Children’s Rights Cluster, and conducts academic skills, legal research methods and thesis proposal workshops.
Chiara holds a Ph.D in International Law from the European University Institute, an LL.M in Comparative, European and International Law from the EUI, a Master’s in Rule of Law, Democracy and Human Rights from LUISS University, and graduated cum laude at the Law Department of Roma Tre University. She was a visiting research scholar at the Center for International and Comparative Law of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. Her main research interests concern economic, social and cultural rights in times of crisis, including in contexts of armed conflict and occupation, children’s rights, business and human rights, social justice, environmental and climate justice, and governance.
Chiara leads the UN Global Study component of the ACRiSL project (2020-2023), focusing on children’s rights affected by migration-related detention. She has also led a project aimed at enacting the Global Study recommendations in the European Context, engaging with ENOC as well as national and regional ombudspersons in Italy. In 2018-2019 she was lead researcher on the situation of ‘children living in prisons with their primary caregivers’ for the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, and the main author of the related chapter.
Chiara is one of the editors of GC Human Rights Preparedness. Previously she edited the GCHRJ’s first special focus on children’s rights. She coordinated the EMA research contributions to the Global Classroom 2021 and 2020. She contributed to the GC MOOCs on ‘Children Deprived of Liberty’ and ‘Child Participation and the Right to a Sustainable Environment’. In 2016-2017 she was senior researcher on the FP7 FRAME project.
Over the last thirteen years Chiara worked as lecturer and research and teaching assistant in International Law, International Organization and Human Rights, Human Rights and International Protection, International Protection of Cultural Heritage, and International Criminal Law at LUISS University, where she also was a member of the Research Team on the FP7 PRIV-WAR project. She conducted research and editorial activities for IAI (Istituto Affari Internazionali). She worked as a trainee lawyer at Avvocatura Generale dello Stato in Rome (2005-2007) and has been admitted to the Italian Bar.
Children’s Rights Officer - GC Latin America & the Caribbean
Rocío works as a Children's Rights Regional Officer in Latin America & the Caribbean mainly to ensure the mainstreaming of children’s rights within LATMA’s activities. She also supports the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty follow-up initiation process by organising activities related to children’s rights within the region.
Rocío is also conducting a PhD at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany as a fellow scholar for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Prior to this, she obtained a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and a Master’s in Human Rights and Democratization at the University of San Martin (Cohorte 2014-15).
Following her Masters, she published her thesis ‘Gender and the best interests of the child in the administration of justice: Case Analysis in Argentina’. She also gained experience as a human rights consultant at the Regional Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Chile, working specifically on the promotion and protection of human rights through the Universal Periodic Review-UPR- mechanism.
She has published articles in the field of migration, children's rights, enforced disappearances, economic, social and cultural rights, the UN Agenda 2030 and the right to Food.
Elvis is the Manager of the Children’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Previously, Elvis worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Stellenbosch as well as a substitute university teacher at the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University.
Elvis completed his PhD at the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, with a focus on child participation in family decision-making processes in Africa. He writes and publishes predominantly on children’s rights within the African context. His research interests include: International Children’s Rights, Public International Law, (relating to Africa), African Human Rights System, Constitutionalism in Africa (relating to vulnerable groups).
Nejira is a researcher and analyst in the field of human rights and geopolitics. She currently works as the Children's Rights Regional Officer for the region of South-East Europe, collaborating closely with the ERMA programme on implementing children's rights projects and activities into the activities of the programme. After completing her BA studies in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Buckingham, she obtained an MA degree at the ERMA programme.
Nejira has been a children's and adolescents' rights activist and educator for seven years through local labour unions, focusing on the prohibition of illegal child labour and the education of youth about human and workers' rights. She has also been involved in several projects relating to youth in peacebuilding and reconciliation in the Western Balkans with USAID, the International Republican Institute, United Nations Kosovo Team, and numerous organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Nejira's primary research interests are children and labour, political psychology, geopolitics, and public policy.
Mariam is in charge of coordinating the children’s rights activities in the Caucasus region based at the Center for European Studies in Yerevan State University (Armenia). Part of these activities include the follow up on the Global Study recommendations and implementation of grant projects on children’s rights.
Mariam’s background is in social work and for several years she worked as a child protection coordinator at World Vision Armenia (2010-2015). She also worked with the Ministry of Healthcare and Global Fund (HIV/AIDs and TB), the Ombudsman Office of Artsakh and in local CSOs in Armenia in the field of human rights, with a special focus on children’s rights.
Mariam is an alumna of the Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in the Caucasus (2012-2014) and an alumna of College of Europe, Natolin (MA) in 2016-2017. She holds a bachelor degree in philology and social work.
Fahmina is a community-based child protection specialist. She is a human rights researcher and activist on children’s rights with specific focus on migration with over fifteen years of experience. She has worked on research projects focusing on rights mapping of children on the move (forced migration and labor migration) through reviewing domestic legal framework of various countries; projects on research ethics and academic research with and for children.
Fahmina has hands-on field experience working directly with displaced children while serving with United Nations, INGOs and NGOs and academia in varies countries in Asia. She also has programming experience of implementing child rights projects, monitoring and coordinating local NGOs and Civil Society Organizations. Fahmina has specialized training on Best Intertest Assessment (BIA) and Best Interest Determination (BID), gender-based violence and protection need assessment for children in migration. She has received profession training on counseling and interviewing children in distresses. She had served as trainer in various child protection projects.
Fahmina holds a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in International Relations and is currently engaged as PhD candidate at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University Thailand. Her thesis focuses on human rights to education of refugee and stateless children.
Children’s Rights Officer - GC Latin America & the Caribbean
Andrea Flores Ruilova
Andrea holds a degree in Law from the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Ecuador. She is a Restorative Juvenile Justice Specialist (University of Geneva) and holds a Diploma in Access to Justice from the Universidad Javeriana in Colombia. She is an Alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratization in Latin America and the Caribbean (LATMA) and holds an additional Master in Children's Rights from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Between 2015 and 2018, Andrea was National Department Chief for Access to Justice and Legal Pluralism at the Council of the Judicial Branch in Ecuador. She is an experienced international consultant and researcher in the area of access to justice, human rights, children, and adolescents. Since 2019 she is a researcher for special projects at CIEP-UNSAM.