Our Team

Stockholm (Head Office) | Belgrade | Pristina | Sarajevo | Tirana | Chisinau | Board

People from our team. Photo: Mikael GustavsenThe pen is mightier than the sword. Photo: Mikael Gustavsen People from our team. Photo: Mikael GustavsenWorking for peace. Photo: Mikael GustavsenPeople from our team. Photo: Mikael Gustavsen


Head Office, Stockholm (Sweden)


Press photo of Robert Hårdh, chef Civil Rights DefendersRobert Hårdh, Executive Director
Robert is Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders where he was instrumental in developing the organisation from its beginnings as the Swedish Helsinki Committee to the global human rights organisation we see today. He holds a
Master of Laws degree from Uppsala University, specialising in human rights. Robert started working for Civil Rights Defenders as a human rights lawyer in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed Executive Director. Robert is a Board member of the Expo foundation, which is a privately-owned research foundation founded in 1995 with the aim of studying and mapping anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and racist tendencies in society. He is also on the advisory board of the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea.

John Stauffer, Legal Director and Deputy Executive Director
John holds a Master of Laws degree and specialised in human rights. He previously worked for various Swedish equality bodies including the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman. He has also worked for the OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina as Director for the Human Rights Department. He joined Civil Rights Defenders as Legal Director in March 2013.


Legal Department


John Stauffer, Legal Director and Deputy Executive Director
John holds a Master of Laws degree and specialised in human rights. He previously worked for various Swedish equality bodies including the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman. He has also worked for the OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina as Director for the Human Rights Department. He joined Civil Rights Defenders as Legal Director in March 2013.

Johanna Westeson, Legal Adviser
Johanna holds a law degree from Uppsala University and a Master of Laws from Columbia University in New York with a focus on human rights. She most recently comes from the international human rights organisation Center for Reproductive Rights, where she directed the Europe program and among other tasks litigated cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee. Previously Johanna has been the Latin America and Human Rights Education Officer at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, has worked with Sida in Bolivia and as a human rights consultant for the World Health Organisation. Johanna started as a human rights lawyer at Civil Rights Defenders in April 2014.


Communications Department


Hampus Stenberg, Communications and International Relations Director
Hampus holds a BA in Economics from Lund University and a diploma from IFL/Stockholm School of Economics’ Communications Executive Program. He has worked with communications, Public/Government Affairs and corporate social responsibility in Sweden and internationally since 1998, primarily as a consultant and the Head of Communications for Northern Europe at Citigroup. As of 2014, he is responsible for communications and fundraising at Civil Rights Defenders.

Keith Begg, International Communications Officer
Keith has a BA in Risk Management and European Studies and holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Limerick in Ireland. He spent several years in Palestine working with communications and advocacy for the NGO sector after spending many years with various international insurance companies in Risk Management.

Miriam Nordfors, Public Relations and Social Media Officer
Miriam holds a BA (hons) in politics with international studies from the University of Warwick and an MA in European politics and administration from the College of Europe. She began her career working as an editorial writer and has since then worked within the fields of public affairs, communications and public administration. Most recently, Miriam served as political advisor to the Swedish minister for gender equality. She started working at Civil Rights Defenders in January 2015.

Kim Matthis, Project Manager Defenders’ Days
Kim holds a degree in Political Science from the Swedish National Defense College. Previously she completed an internship at the Swedish Embassy in Georgia and has also worked with the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation. Kim is the the Project Manager for Civil Rights Defenders’ annual event Defenders’ Days – Empowering Human Rights Defenders at Risk. She started working at Civil Rights Defenders in 2012.

Anja Steiber, Communications Assistant
Anja holds a Master’s degree in Democratic Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science both from Uppsala University. She also studied journalism at Poppius School for Journalism. Anja started working as an assistant at Civil Right Defenders’ in 2006.


Finance Department


Karin Fritz, Chief Financial Officer. Karin holds a Bachelor of Finance and Administration from Uppsala University, specialising in Accounting and Financials. She started her career off as an auditor and has subsequently held positions as Head of Accounts and Financial Manager for various organisations. She joined Civil Rights Defenders as Chief Financial Officer in 2014.

Åsa Bergqvist, Financial Administrator
Åsa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from Uppsala University. She started to work for Civil Rights Defenders in 1997 as an Information and Administration Officer. Åsa has worked as Programme Officer for different Western Balkan countries between 1999 and 2010. From 2005 to 2006 she was stationed at our field office in Skopje, Macedonia. From 2010 to 2013 she worked as Programme Officer for Moldova, withn our Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department. Today, she works as Finance and Administration Officer at Civil Rights Defenders headquarters in Stockholm.

Sophia Ponzio, Programme Administrator
Sophia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Sciences/Ethnology. Previously she worked for the Swedish branch of the Civil Service International as well as the SCI. Sophia started to work as an Administrator for Civil Rights Defenders in 2000. Since 2009, she works as a Programme Administrator.

Hanna Sillen, Administrator
Hanna joined Civil Rights Defenders as an Administrator in June 2014. After studies in language, history and social science at Södertörns Högskola and Lund University,Hanna worked as an administrative assistant at the Indonesian Embassy in Stockholm. She then worked for the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia as a coordinator and administrative assistant for EU issues and also worked with the consular and culture department. She also has extensive volunteer experience in both Sweden and Indonesia where she co-founded a women’s rights group for Amnesty International in Lund and worked for the Swedish Red Cross to help teach Swedish to immigrants.

Lena Fredriksson, Business Controller
Lena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, specialising in Accounting and Financial Management, from Stockholm University. She previously ran her own business as a Consultant and worked as a Business Controller at the Red Cross. Before that, she worked for several years at the Heart-Lung Foundation, where she focused on budgeting. She also worked as a Controller within the business sector and has years of experience in accounting. Lena joined Civil Rights Defenders Financial Department at the beginning of 2015.


Human Rights Defenders at Risk Department


Marie Månson, Programme Director for Support to Human Rights Defenders at Risk
Marie holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations. Formerly she worked for the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. She started to work for Civil Rights Defenders in 1997, first as a Programme Officer for the Western Balkans and then as Office Manager. She was also Programme Director for the Western Balkans for a number of years. Currently she is heading a department within the organisation that develops and provides targeted support to human rights defenders at risk.

Zinaida Muradova, Programme Assistant at Human Rights Defenders at Risk
Zinaida holds a BA in Law, specialising in Human Rights from Moscow University and a Masters Degree in EU Law from Stockholm University. She has previously worked as a journalist in Armenia, covering legal and political issues. She has also worked with the EU Advisory Group under the pillar of Democracy and Human Rights, where she advised the Armenian Parliament on improving democratic structures in the country. Zinaida started at Civil Rights Defenders as an intern during the autumn 2013.

Peter Öholm, Security Expert/Programme Officer
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 a Programme Officer for the Western Balkans and then for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Today he works with Marie Månson on our initiative to develop and provide targeted support to human rights defenders at risk.

Martin Löwdin, Security Expert/Programme Officer
Martin is an experienced Internet activist with a degree in Rhetoric from Södertörn University College. He worked with the Telecomix activist network during the Arab Spring to reinstate Internet connectivity in Egypt and reveal the surveillance equipment used in Tunisia and Syria. As a freelance trainer, he taught Digital Security to journalists and activists from many parts of the world. Until recently he coordinated an anti-censorship project for the Swedish NGO Juliagruppen. Martin joined Civil Rights Defenders in June 2014 to temporarily replace Peter Öholm while he is on parental leave.


East and Horn of Africa Department


Mesfin Negash, Programme Director East and Horn of Africa
Mesfin is a journalist by profession and graduated in Political Science and International Relations. He was a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of a popular newspaper in Ethiopia. Later 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 awarded him prizes for his contribution to freedom of speech. Mesfin has also worked as a communication and program 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.


Southeast Asia Department


Brittis Edman, Programme Director for Southeast Asia
Brittis has documented and analysed the human rights situation in Southeast Asia since the mid 90s, in particular Cambodia, where she lived for seven years. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders in September 2010, Brittis worked as a Southeast Asia researcher at Amnesty International for five years. She has also worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Save the Children, and holds university degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science.

Shaivalini Parmar, Myanmar Program Officer
Shaivalini Parmar previously worked at Human Rights Watch where she was involved in the documentation and reporting of human rights issues in Asia, including the situation in locked detention centers in Thailand. Previously, she worked at the International Crisis Group and Grameen Bank. She holds a BA in Human Rights from Bard College, New York, and a MA in Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.


Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department


Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Joanna has previously worked as a journalist including as the Moscow correspondent for Sweden’s main news agency TT (Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå) from 2003-2006. She holds a Master of Arts degree in History of Economics from Uppsala University, and studied journalism at Stockholm University. Joanna started working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2007 as Programme Officer for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and became Programme Director for the region in 2010.

Inna Bukshtynovich, Programme Officer
Inna joined Civil Rights Defenders in 2011 to work on the Stockholm Process, a long-term initiative to strengthen human rights defenders in the North Caucasus. Inna studied Economics, IT and International Development. Inna worked at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on projects to support and strengthen democratic institutions in Eastern Europe between 2001 and 2009.

Miro Durdevic, Programme Officer
Miro holds a Master of Laws degree from Stockholm University, specialising in international criminal law and public international law. He started working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2003 as a Programme Officer for the Western Balkans. Since 2004, Miro works as Programme Officer for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Cecilia Rosing, Programme Officer
Cecilia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s degrees in Russian and East European studies. She studied in Russia and France. Cecilia worked with asylum seekers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as at the Consulate General of Sweden in St Petersburg. Recently, she worked in the South Caucasus both for the EU-mission and the Swedish Foundation Kvinna till Kvinna. She started working for Civil Rights Defenders in April 2012 as Programme Officer for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.


Latin America Department


Erik Jennische, Programme Director for Latin America
Erik holds a Master’s degree in Sociology specialising in democratisation processes. He has worked with democracy promotion in Latin America as well as the Balkans and Eastern Europe. From 2010-2013 he worked as a journalist in Brazil, and before joining Civil Rights Defenders in 2014 he was a researcher at Swedwatch.


Field Office, Belgrade (Serbia)


Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans
Goran has a Master of Laws degree from Belgrade University and a MA degree from the European Regional Master on Democracy and Human Rights in Sarajevo. He started to work for Civil Rights Defenders in 2004 as Programme Officer for the Western Balkans. Today he is the Programme Director for the Western Balkans. Goran is stationed in Belgrade, Serbia.

Marjan Maruna, Outreach Assistant
Marjan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Belgrade. He has several years of experience working in the private sector, parallel to his activities in human rights advocacy. Since 2013, he has been working as Outreach Assistant at Civil Rights Defenders.

Ivana Randjelovic, Programme Officer
Ivana holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Belgrade. She has more than ten years of experience working with a number of international and local NGOs. She is now Programme Officer for Serbia based at our Belgrade Office.

Adi Sinani, Programme Officer for Roma Rights
Adi holds a law degree from Novi Sad Faculty of European Legal and Political Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Pedagogy. He worked for the OSCE Mission in Serbia on minority integration and non-discrimination programme activities. Adi has worked with a number of national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations on amendments to the legislation pertaining to protection and promotion of national minority rights, ensuring equal participation and non-discrimination. As of 2013, he is a OSCE certified trainer on combating hate crimes and in October 2014, he joined Civil Rights Defenders as Programme Officer for Roma rights.

Srdjan Miljevic, Project and Office Assistant
Srdjan holds a degree in General Literature and Theory of Literature from Belgrade University. He previously worked at the Financial Department of the Serbian Music Authors’ Society and as a freelance proofreader and journalist for several publishers. He started to work for Civil Rights Defenders in 2012 as a Project and Office Assistant.

Filip Perunicic, Financial Assistant
Filip has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, US where he also worked as a Graduate Assistant. He previously worked as a Finance Intern for Pro Credit Bank in Belgrade, Serbia, and as marketing trainee for L’Oreal Balkans. In 2013 he joined Civil Rights Defenders’ Balkan team as Financial Assistant.

Pavle Popov, Programme Administrator
Pavle Popov is currently in his final year at the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade. He has several years experience working in the marketing and sales sector. He joined Civil Rights Defenders’ Belgrade office in 2014.


Field Office, Pristina (Kosovo)


Sarah Maliqi, Programme Officer
Sarah started working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2011. She is a Programme Officer, covering Kosovo and Macedonia. Sarah previously worked at the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Heartefact Fund and WUS Pristina. She studied law at Sarajevo and Pristina Universities.

Njomza Mala, Administrative and Project Assistant
Njomza holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics Management and is currently completing a master’s degree in Banking, Finances and Accounting at the University of Pristina. Prior to that she worked for the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce and HandiKOS – The Association of Paraplegics and Paralyzed Children of Kosovo. She joined Civil Rights Defenders as an Administrative and Project Assistant in June 2014.


Field Office, Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina)


Ena Bavcic, Programme Officer
Ena holds a Masters in Human Rights and Democracy, and a Bachelor’s in Social Work. As a human rights defender, she has worked and acted within numerous NGO’s both in Bosnia & Herzegovina and abroad. Ena is the author of several documentary films. She started working for Civil Rights Defenders in April 2014 as an Administrative Assistant. In August 2014 she was appointed the position as Programme Officer.


Milena Mastalo, Administrative and Project Assistant
Milena holds a law degree from the University of Banja Luka. She has previously worked as an intern at the European Parliament, at the National Assembly of Republika Srpska and as Consultant for the International Organisation for Migration. She has been active for more than 8 years in a number of international and local NGOs. She started to work for Civil Rights Defenders in April 2015.


Field Office, Tirana (Albania)


Vasilika Laci, Programme Officer
Vasilika holds a degree in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Tirana and has a MA degree from the European Regional Master on Democracy and Human Rights in Sarajevo. Vasilika has previously worked with children’s rights for Terre des Hommes International Federation in Albania and for a woman’s rights organisation. In February 2012, Vasilika started at Civil Rights Defenders.

Deni Sanxhaku, Administrative and Project Assistant
Deni holds a Masters in Finance and Accounting from the University of Tirana. Her previous experience involved an internship at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) in Albania. She has been actively involved in the civil society movement, volunteering at human rights and youth organisations in Albania and abroad. One of the projects she took part in was the European Volunteering Service, during which she worked for six months with a youth organization in Sardinia, Italy.


Field Office, Chisinau (Moldova)


Alesia Vidruk, Programme Officer for Moldova
Alesia holds a Master of Laws, specialising in Human Rights, from Nottingham University in the UK. She previously worked as a Consultant at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, where she assisted the Coordinator of the Indigenous and Minorities Fellowships. She has also worked at he UN Office in Belarus, where she advised the UN Country Team on human rights issues. Alesia started working at Civil Rights Defenders’ field office in Moldova at the end of 2014.

Rodica Cebotarenco, Programme Administrator
Rodica has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, specialising in finance and accounting. She has worked as an accountant in commercial and non-governmental organisations. Rodica has been the Programme Accountant at USAID’s Rule of Law Institutional Strengthening Programme. Since 2013, Rodica works as Programme Administrator at Civil Rights Defenders’ field office in Moldova.


Board


Gerald Nagler, Honorary Chair of the Board
Gerald is one of the founders of the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights. He was Secretary General of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) in Vienna from 1984 to 1992, and Chairman of the Swedish Helsinki Committee between 1992 and 2004.


Benedicte Berner, Chairperson of the Board, Media Analyst
Benedicte teaches at Harvard University on Media and Democracy and is an Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. She has previously taught on issues regarding freedom of expression at the Institut d’ Etudes Politiques de Paris. She also trains journalists in the Middle East and North Africa. She formerly worked for the International Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration in Moscow, and was Director of International Issues at the European Institute for the Media in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Anna Jonsson Cornell, Associate Professor
Anna is an Associate Professor in Constitutional Law at the Law Faculty at Uppsala University, holding a position as Senior Lecturer in Comparative Constitutional Law. She is also Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Security and Development Policy. Her main areas of expertise are constitutional law, state building processes, rule of law and human rights protection.

Arne Ruth, Publisher and writer
Arne is a journalist, author and lecturer. He was Editor-in-Chief at Dagens Nyheter between 1982 and 1998. Subsequently he worked as a guest professor in Sweden, Norway and the US. During the last few years he has given lectures and acted as a moderator of many debates about cultural conflicts and freedom of expression. Arne is also a member of the board of Article 19 in London.

Lars Viklund, Lawyer
Lars is a member of the Swedish Bar Association and mainly focuses on Employment Law and Freedom of Speech Law. Lars has also been a teacher in Labor law and litigation and has taken part in public legislative work.

Elisabeth Tamm, Bachelor of laws
Elisabeth is a Foundation Expert and Director of the Bank of Åland’s Trust Department. She sits on a number of boards, including as Chair of Alba Langenskiöld Foundation, is a member of the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital Foundation, H & M Conscious Foundation, Erling Persson Family Foundation, Bokförlaget Langenskiöld and others. She holds an LLB and an MBA from Uppsala University and has a minor in Art History.

Fredrik Andersson
Fredrik Andersson has extensive experience in strategic communications consultancy and entrepreneurship, both in Sweden and internationally. Frederick founded the public relations agency Primes Public Affairsgrupp in 1998 and has a long track record in social issues, politics, international engagement and rights issues.

Carin Norberg
Carin Norberg holds a Master degree from Uppsala University. Carin has been associated with Sida since 1971 and from 2006-2012 was the Director at the Nordic Africa Institute. From 2002 until 2005 she worked for the International Secretariat of Transparency International in Berlin in the Global Programmes Department. Carin was  also a member on the board of the Nordic Africa Institute between 1991-1999 and the Swedish Institute of Alexandria 2000-2003.


Election Committee


Kristna Scharp
Anders Mellbourn