Between 1989 and 2016, a total of 317 human rights advocates from 88 countries attended HRAP. In recent years, advocates have ranged from early career advocates who have cut their teeth in very urgent human rights situations to mid-career advocates who have founded organizations.
Below are the biographies of current Advocates and descriptions by select alumni as to why they became human rights advocates.
To see a list of additional past Advocates click here.
To read about more about the work of our Advocates click here .
Fundraiser, Tzedaká Foundation
Johanna has worked on human rights education initiatives at various foundations and NGOs. She previously served as the Director of International and Social Justice at Hillel Uruguay. In Israel, she worked in the media and culture department of the Peres Center for Peace.
After living in Argentina, Israel and Spain, Johanna recently returned to Montevideo. She is currently working on resource mobilization at the Tzedaká Foundation. She earned the BA in Social and Political Science at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay.
Human Rights Project Leader, Research Center for the Teaching and Learning of the Law
Carlos is the Human Rights Project Leader at the Research Center for the Teaching and Learning of the Law (CEEAD). The center’s mission is to transform legal education in Mexico to train lawyers to be committed to the rule of law and human rights in Mexico. Carlos and his team have created a working group whose members come from civil society organizations and public institutions like the Supreme Court, the National Commission on Human Rights, and universities to develop a human rights educational model for law schools. CEEAD is also developing two manuals including an e-platform for human rights education for law schools. Additionally, Carlos volunteers with a migrant shelter and holds workshops so that residents can know their rights and learn about the legal system. Carlos holds a Masters in the Advanced Studies of Human Rights from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and a Law Degree and a Masters in Applied Public Management from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.
Founder and Director, Samsara
Inna is the Founder and Director of Samsara, a feminist organisation based in Indonesia that promotes body autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights. In 2007, she founded askinna.com, a website for women seeking abortion services in Indonesia. One year later, she set up Indonesia’s first hotline for safe abortion information. With Samsara, she works directly with women at the grassroots level. Inna also established the SRHR School in Yogyakarta and then expanded the program from Java to East Indonesia through the SRHR Satellite Program. In 2013, she received a fellowship from Ashoka.
Technical Advisor, Masaka Association of Persons with Disabilities Living with HIV & AIDS
Michael is the Technical Advisor on HIV/AIDS, disability and sexual and gender-based violence for the Masaka Association of Persons with Disabilities Living with HIV&AIDS (MADIPHA). MADIPHA's mission is to promote access to comprehensive HIV&AIDS services by all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) through advocacy, mobilization, sensitization and training. MADIPHA aims to fully incorporate PWDs living with HIV/AIDs into society through advocacy measures that center PWDs while targeting key government agencies, line ministries and civil society organizations like the Uganda Human Rights Commission. He has trained village health teams, health workers and police in sign language and held workshops about PWDs who are living with HIV & AIDS as well as SGBV against PWDs. He worked with the local government on anti-poverty initiatives such as obtaining a grant for PWDs to start village and loan revolving groups, and given PWDs goats, chickens, vegetable seedlings and coffee seedlings to generate income at household level. At a regional level, he worked with other stakeholders to lobby for changing policies that maintain exclusion and segregation of PWDs from society. Michael holds a post graduate diploma in community-based rehabilitation from Kyambogo University-Kampala and a Bachelor of Adult and Community Education from Makerere University-Kampala.
Programme Manager, NYARWEK LGBTI Coalition
Kenedy serves as the Programme Manager and Advocacy Patron at the Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western Kenya LGBTI Coalition. The NYARWEK LGBTI Coalition creates spaces for dialogue on human rights advocacy and policies. Kenedy is an expert in security and protection for human rights defenders in hostile contexts, especially LGBTQI HRDs. Kenedy has initiated several equity and equality promotion initiatives at organizations for LGBTIQ persons as well as other NGOs. Kenedy holds a diploma in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi and will graduate with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Maseno University in 2018.
Executive Director, Mouvement pour les Libertes Individuelles
Star is the Executive Director of Mouvement pour les Libertes Individuelles (MOLI), which uses evidence-based advocacy to advance the rights of marginalized people in African society through advocacy, documentation, research and capacity building with stakeholders in human rights. Since 2011, their regional capacity building program has recruited more than 50 emerging LGBT activists in Francophone Central and Eastern Africa for trainings related to human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity-related documentation. MOLI has also worked on initiatives to train health care providers to integrate the specific health needs of men who have sex with men at public and private health facilities. MOLI has collaborated with organizations working on HIV and has facilitated conversations for sexual minorities to participate effectively in advocacy and key meetings with stakeholders. MOLI recently completed building a network among other Francophone Central African countries via a project entitled "Francophone LGBT Advocates Initiative," which has secured funding to train 45 emerging human rights activists in the region.
Star is an alumnus of the Sexual Leadership and Development Fellowship hosted by the Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is also Co-Chair of Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Star holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Economics from the University of Burundi.
Co-chair, Ukrainian LGBT Association LIGA
Olena is the co-chair of the Ukrainian LGBT organization LIGA, which seeks to promote the interests of LGBTQ individuals, promote healthy lifestyles and diversity, and develop partnerships with state and civil bodies. One of LIGA-Ukraine's biggest achievements has been the creation of the Resource Center, designed to be a hub for young LGBT groups and organizations. Another core focus of LIGA-Ukraine is LGBTQ health, which includes HIV prevention programs for LGB, lesbian health programs, transgender health issues, and a network of friendly doctors. LIGA created the Public Centre on Monitoring of Human Rights Observation in Mykolaiv for monitoring crimes based on LGBTI-phobia. Olena is a specialist in Public Relations from Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts and a general practitioner from National Medical University in Kyiv.
Democratic Republic Of Congo, 2016
Director, Justice Pour Tous
Raoul is the Director of Justice Pour Tous. Over the years, he has developed expertise in investigating natural resource exploitation. With his colleagues at Justice Pour Tous, Raoul highlights the limitations of the Congolese mining code by talking to the local press, delivering speeches, and performing sketches. This kind of work helps local people to understand their legal rights and which new laws are needed to end their exploitation. He has published several papers and research reports and spoken at several international conferences about the relationship between mining armed conflict and human rights abuses in eastern DRC.
Advocacy Officer, Lelewal Foundation
Aehshatou is the Advocacy Officer for Lelewal Foundation and the Women’s Coordinator and Women’s Wing President for Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA), both indigenous peoples’ organizations working to improve the quality of life for indigenous peoples of Cameroon. Her areas of expertise are women’s and girls’ rights, environmental issues (especially climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies related to REDD+), the economic empowerment of women, and girl child education. She participated in the FIMI Global Leadership School of Indigenous Women and attended the United Nations Permanent Forum in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree in law at the University of Yaounde.
Chairperson, PINK Armenia
Nvard has been working for more than five years at PINK Armenia, the largest LGBT community-based organization in Armenia. Elected as Chairperson in 2015, Nvard and her colleagues strive to create a safe space for LGBT people by promoting legal, psychological, and social protection and well-being. She also played a major role in the launching of a unique e-magazine, As You, which presents readers with issues related to human rights, sexuality, gender and other issues. Currently, Nvard is involved in the feminist movement in Armenia and is an active member of feminist platforms including the Feminist Platform of Armenia, the Young Women’s Network of South Caucasus, as well as the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women. Nvard earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Yerevan State University.
Program Manager, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
Samuel is the Program Manager for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ). He has dedicated the past 13 years to working within LGBTI communities in a turbulent environment. He is a past chairman of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights, a regional coalition of 19 organizations working on Health and HIV for MSM. He also served on the Global Forum for MSM for eight years. He has extensive experience teaching languages and Art and Design and providing therapy to families. He earned the Bachelor’s of Science Honor’s Degree in Sociology and Gender Development from Woman’s University in Africa. He holds diplomas in Higher Education (University of Zimbabwe) and in Systemic Family Therapy (Connect, the Zimbabwe Institute of Systemic Therapy).
Communications Executive & Security Management Trainer, Defenders Protection Initiative
Mulshid is currently the Communications Executive and Security Management Trainer at Defenders Protection Initiative, a non-profit organization working to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders to mainstream security, safety and protection management in their work. He has a background in working to protect the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda through the secure documentation of human rights violations and abuses. Mulshid earned a bachelor’s degree in business computing from Makerere University in 2014. He has taken several courses in leadership, nonprofit strategy, organizational capacity development and fundraising.
Legal/Program Officer, Uganda Network on Law, Ethic and HIV/AIDS (UGANET)
Betty is a Legal/Program Officer at Uganda Network on Law, Ethic and HIV/AIDS, an NGO committed to the development and strengthening of policies and ethical responses to HIV/AIDS in Uganda. She has headed the Kampala office since March 2011. She earned a bachelor’s of legal laws from Uganda Christian University in June 2008 and a postgraduate diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Center in 2009. An enrolled Advocate of the High Court of Uganda and other subordinate Courts, she is a member of the Uganda Law Society and the East African Law Society.
El Salvador, 2016
President, Salvadorian Association for Survivors of Torture
Carlos is the founder and president of the Salvadorian Association for Survivors of Torture, an association that gives psychological care to survivors of torture and their families and investigates various human rights abuses. He is the creator of a webpage called the Yellow Book, which documents the names of victims of injustice and abuse by the state. Carlos has a degree in literature from the Autonomous University of Mexico. Through Scholars at Risk, he studied international law and human right law at the University of York in 2013.
The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Fund sponsored the participation of Carlos Santos in the 2016 HRAP.
Program Manager, Just Nepal Foundation
Chhing is a founding member and Program Manager of Just Nepal Foundation, an organization that promotes education, social justice, and human rights by working within the rural mountain communities of Nepal. Chhing has been working to empower women and extremely marginalized groups in Nepal for the past 30 years. She is one of the founding members, chair, and current advisor of Mountain Spirit, another indigenous people’s organization. She has been active in relief efforts after the earthquake in Nepal. Chhing earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics, Culture and Literature from Padma Kanya University in 1988, a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Extension & Women from University of Reading in 1991, and a master’s degree in Rural Development in 2016.