Between 1989 and 2017, a total of 324 human rights advocates from 90 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 .
Mexico Country Coordinator, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Ruben is the Mexico Country Coordinator for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), a global network of youth committed to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). IYAFP was founded in 2013 at the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Executive Director, Voice of People with Disability Ghana (VOICE Ghana)
Francis Bichnord Komla Asong is one of the founding members of Voice of People with Disability Ghana (VOICE Ghana). Over the past 18 years, Francis has contributed to the organization’s development into one of Ghana’s leading organizations dedicated to persons with disabilities. Serving all regions of Ghana, with a particular focus on the Volta and Oti regions, VOICE Ghana has been forming and training grassroots cross-disability self-help groups and building a collective voice for persons with disabilities for greater representation and participation. The organization has also been advocating for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and engaging local government officials, traditional authorities, and private enterprises on their statutory responsibilities to persons with disabilities in view of the United Nations - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Ghana’s Disability Policy and Legislative Framework. Under Francis’s leadership, VOICE Ghana is transforming into a disability research, rights, and advocacy think tank with a mission to advance inclusive development and social justice for persons with disabilities in Africa, particularly Ghana, through research, policy, advocacy, and public consultations.
Francis serves on the boards of several civil society organisations including the STAR Ghana Foundation, Ghana Integrity Initiatives, and AccessAid Ghana. He serves on the Finance Committee of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations.
Associate Director, Policy & Advocacy, TransWave Jamaica
Renae is the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at TransWave Jamaica. She is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of the organization’s advocacy strategies as they relate to key human rights, HIV, and development issues facing transgender and gender non-conforming people. TransWave Jamaica recently developed a five-year strategic plan. In accordance with the plan over the next five years, TransWave Jamaica will use social media, popular education, and training to promote visibility and the inclusion of trans persons; improve trans peoples’ access to employment and essential public services (medical, public safety and education); reduce violations against trans persons by creating inclusive and affirming spaces and promoting acceptance in families, schools, and community institutions; develop an organizational infrastructure in alignment with its mission; and collaborate with stakeholders to develop legislative initiatives that support the self-determination of trans people.
Programs Officer, Advocacy and Policy Influencing, Education as a Vaccine
As a Programs Officer in Advocacy and Policy Influencing at Education as a Vaccine, Ekanem has managed and implemented advocacy and high-impact and evidence-based programs around sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS preventions, and malaria and TB interventions. He has influenced policies and laws that facilitate and sustain social change in the areas of health, protection, and education geared towards achieving the SDGs. He developed a scorecard to monitor the implementation of the SDGs across 11 states of Nigeria, which young people rely on as evidence for their advocacy. Previously, he worked for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS on the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV patients in Nigeria. He was involved in the collection of data on key selected parameters on HIV and TB from selected facilities across the country; the findings showed huge disparities in access to prompt diagnosis of treatment for HIV and TB. Currently, he is the UNAIDS Youth Leader for West and Central Africa and the Global Advocacy working group assistant lead for The PACT, a coalition of youth-led and youth serving organizations working within the sexual and reproductive health and HIV movement.
Tamar is a co-founder and the chairperson of Initiative for Social Changes (ISC). ISC encourages the realization of social rights by advocating for better social services and policies for children, youth, and women. Recent projects have included raising awareness about violence against children, school-related gender-based violence, gender equality in schools, and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women. She is also actively involved in providing training and professional development activities for practitioners from the field of child protection and gender equality in Georgia.
Legal Advocacy Officer, Feminita
As a Legal Advocacy Officer at Feminita, a grassroots queer feminist initiative, Aigerim has been managing Feminita’s legal advocacy portfolio since 2017. She directs the organization’s advocacy work at national and international (UN, OSCE, EU) levels. Her immediate responsibilities include monitoring and documenting discrimination and hate crimes against women on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; engaging with national justice, law enforcement and judicial authorities as well as UN treaty bodies, special procedures, and Universal Periodic Review mechanisms (shadow reporting, thematic reporting, national consultations, follow ups, individual communications); drafting road maps for the implementation of UN recommendations; conducting thematic grassroots research; analyzing existing legislation and draft bills (including so-called “anti-gender” and “gay propaganda” bills and “list of banned jobs for women”); and providing legal support on LBQT women’s rights, discrimination, freedom of assembly, and association cases.
Aigerim’s academic background is in international human rights law. Her prior experience includes strategic litigation, direct support to human rights defenders, and capacity building in Central Asia and the wider post-Soviet region.
Activist and Refugee Rights Defender,
Nasim Lomani is a human rights defender and migrants’ rights activist working both in the field and at the political level in Greece and the greater EU for over a decade.
Executive Member, Grassroot
Joy Pathaw is a Khasi woman from the State of Meghalaya in the North Eastern Region of India. Raised by her mother, Joy is the fifth of six children. She is an executive member of Grassroot, an indigenous people’s rights organization working on issues related to gender, livelihood, and entrepreneurship.
Human Rights Program Coordinator, For Equal Right Educational Center
Maria is the human rights programs coordinator at For Equal Rights Educational Center, a non-governmental organization based in Yerevan, which promotes civic consciousness and capacity building in human rights as well as democratic accountability. Maria manages the Article 3 Human Rights Club, which provides space, education, and networking opportunities for human rights activists, the media, and civil society organizations. Maria also led the organization of the first Human Rights Festival in Armenia. As a member of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Task Force-Armenia in 2016, Maria co-authored and presented recommendations on the implementation of the CEDAW in Armenia at the United Nations. She recently joined the staff of the Armenian Parliament’s My Step Revolution Faction as a legal researcher working on Armenia’s Euro-integration policies.
Maria received a master’s degree in law from the American University of Armenia and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Armenia State University. She is a member of the European Women Lawyers’ Association.
South Africa, 2019
Attorney in the Public Health Department , Section 27
Ektaa is an attorney in the public health department at Section 27, a public interest organization that provides legal assistance and advocates for social justice with a focus on access to health care services and education for vulnerable communities. Ektaa is responsible for leading strategic impact litigation, policy formulation, and legal and field research. She specializes in litigation for access to health care services, including sexual and reproductive health rights, migrants’ access to health care, and access to education for learners with disabilities. Previously, Ektaa served as an attorney at the Legal Resources Centre’s KwaZulu-Natal satellite office, where she conducted strategic impact litigation and facilitated community outreach initiatives. Ektaa also assisted the African Centre for Migration and Society’s research project documenting refugees’ experiences with corruption at refugee reception offices.
Ektaa holds a bachelor of laws and is currently completing a master of laws degree in constitutional and human rights litigation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College. Ektaa is an alumna of the Bertha Justice Fellowship, a two-year program for emerging lawyers interested in working on social justice and constitutional rights issues
Executive Director, Solace Initiative
Founder, Executive Director, and Head of the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Department, Association Jeunesse pour la Paix et la Non Violence (AJPNV)
Charbonnel is the founder, executive director, and the head of the psychosocial rehabilitation department of the Association Jeunesse pour la Paix et la Non Violence (AJPNV). The mission of the organization is to combat torture, including sexual and gender-based violence. In addition to its advocacy efforts, the AJPNV provides multi-dimensional services to victims of human rights abuses, such as psychological, legal, and social services. AJPNV also works on women's rights and human rights awareness projects. Charbonnel serves as the Sub Saharan Africa Council member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and as a regional leader of the Global Human Rights Project.
Charbonnel holds a bachelor’s degree in electromechanical and computer data processing from the Institut Universitaire des Sciences et Techniques d’Abéché (Chad). In 2012, Charbonnel completed online courses in conflict analysis, negotiation and conflict management at the United States Institute for Peace. As a former fellow of the York University’s (UK) Centre for Applied Human Rights Protective Fellowship Scheme for Human Rights Defenders, Charbonnel is a member of the Human Rights Hub at York University.
Coordinator, International Indigenous Women's Forum
Cecilia is the coordinator of the Indigenous Women's Global Leadership School at the International Indigenous Women's Forum, a global network that links local, national, and regional indigenous organizations around the globe and advocates for indigenous women’s issues at the international level. She previously worked as a literacy educator in indigenous languages, while also delivering lectures on indigenous languages at national and international colloquia and conferences. In 2015, Cecilia contributed to the creation of a community library for indigenous children and youth in her hometown.
Cecilia has a bachelor’s in political science and public administration from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Cecilia belongs to the Mixtecos.
Outreach and Communications Officer, International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia Committee (IDAHO Committee)
Mariano is the Latin America and Caribbean outreach and communications officer and board member of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia Committee (IDAHO Committee) in Argentina, and a member of the secretariat of the international relations department at the Argentinean Federation for Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (FALGBT). He was also one of the coordinator-professors of the higher diploma program in sexual diversity and human rights from the FALGBT, the IDAHO Committee, and the Latin America Council of Social Sciences for LGBT activists from Latin America and the Caribbean. From 2016 to mid-2019, he served as technical assistant and communications officer at the Latin America and Caribbean Trans Network.
Mariano has attended the Salzburg Global Seminar, the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights’ Rainbow Academy, and Human Rights Campaign’s Global Innovative Summit.
Russian Federation, 2019
Member and Volunteer, Algys-Blagosloveniye (Algys-Blessing)
Platon is a member and volunteer at Algys-Blagosloveniye (Algys-Blessing), a regional public interest organization based in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), that provides legal counseling and raises awareness about the culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples of Russia, including the Yakut people to which Platon belongs. Platon is currently a lawyer at the Moscow Chamber of Advocates where he specializes in civil, criminal, and arbitration cases. He previously worked as an investigator at the prosecutor’s office of Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and as legal counsel at the Russian State Social University.
Platon holds the higher education diploma in law from the North-East Federal University and has completed various professional development courses at the Institute for Law and Public Policy.