Our Team

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


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 is a human rights lawyer with a Master of Laws degree from Stockholm University. He has previously worked for the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman, where he was responsible for investigating cases of discrimination and developing strategies to address structural discrimination. He had a specific focus on the situation of national minorities. As head of unit he was also involved in international cooperation amongst equality bodies. John has also spent significant time doing human rights work in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the conflict. During four years he worked for the OSCE mission there and he initially focused on creating conditions for returns. Later on, as the Director of the Human Rights Department, he was responsible for the organisation’s work on issues such as war crimes, rule of law, minority rights and economic and social rights. He joined Civil Rights Defenders as Legal Director in March 2013.


Legal Department


John Stauffer, Legal Director and Deputy Executive Director.
John is a human rights lawyer with a Master of Laws degree from Stockholm University. He has previously worked for the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman, where he was responsible for investigating cases of discrimination and developing strategies to address structural discrimination. He had a specific focus on the situation of national minorities. As head of unit he was also involved in international cooperation amongst equality bodies. John has also spent significant time doing human rights work in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the conflict. During four years he worked for the OSCE mission there and he initially focused on creating conditions for returns. Later on, as the Director of the Human Rights Department, he was responsible for the organisation’s work on issues such as war crimes, rule of law, minority rights and economic and social rights. 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.

Annika Jyrwall Åkerberg, Legal Adviser focusing on Compulsory Treatment and Detention.
Annika holds a law degree from Stockholm University and has worked with children’s rights and disability issues at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. She has also participated in several government commissions on human rights. In 2015, the United Nations Association of Sweden awarded her a prize for her work on human rights and discrimination. Annika joined Civil Rights Defenders as Legal Adviser in September 2015.


Communications Department


Hampus Stenberg, Director of Communications and International Relations.
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.

Gabrielle Gunneberg, Press Officer.
Gabrielle holds a MA in Political Science and Economics from Lund University and University of California, Berkeley and she has studied journalism at Stockholm University. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders in January 2016, she worked as Communication Coordinator at CONCORD Sweden. Gabrielle has previously worked as Social Development Specialist at the World Bank in Washington DC, where she focused on rights issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She has also worked with civil society in South and East Asia, and reported on human rights and international development as a newspaper correspondent based in South Asia.

Mikael Ehrlington, Development Officer.
Mikael holds a BA in Marketing and Management from Stockholm University. After finishing his studies he worked as a consultant at Prime PR before moving on to Rippler Communications where he worked as planner and project manager within communication and corporate social responsibility. Mikael joined Civil Rights Defenders as Development Officer in May 2015.

Keith Begg, International Communications and Advocacy 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.

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.

Isabel Gustafsson, Communications Coordinator.
Isabel holds a BA in Politics focusing on Human Rights from Stockholm University, including International Relations studies at London Metropolitan University. She has also studied journalism at Uppsala University and before joining Civil Rights Defenders she worked at the main local newspaper in Västerås (VLT), reporting for the web. She has previous experience from Amnesty International and Omvärlden magazine.


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, Finance and Administration Officer.
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.

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.

Therese Larsson Vainikainen, Accountant.
Therese holds a Master’s Degree in Business and Administration, and is specialised in finance and accounting. She has previously worked as Finance Officer at the Embassy of Canada in Stockholm, where she was responsible for the financial work in the three Baltic countries and Sweden. Recently, she has worked as Accountant at Doctors Without Borders in Stockholm. Therese joined Civil Rights Defenders as Accountant in November 2015.

Pia Dreborg, Office Assistant.
Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders in January 2016, Pia worked with customer support as Marketing Assistant at Martin Olsson Cashar AB. She has many years of experience in administration and customer service and has held the position as Assistant for various companies.


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, Protection 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 L. Fällman, Protection 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.

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.

Ana Furtuna, Programme Officer.
Ana holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the State University of Moldova and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Academy of Public Administration. Previously, she worked as Executive Director of the Non-Discrimination Coalition (CND), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to strengthening equality and protecting against discrimination within the Moldavian society. Starting in 2011, she was part of the CND team lobbying for the adoption of the Law on ensuring equality and creation of the Council for preventing and eliminating discrimination and ensuring equality.


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.

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.


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.

Diana Saghin, Accountant and Administrator.
Diana holds a degree in Business and Administration from the State University of Moldova, specialising in Enterprise Management. She has previously worked as Financial Manager at the Non-Discrimination Coalition in Chisinau. She has over ten years of experience in accounting, management and administration in both NGOs and the commercial sector. Diana joined Civil Rights Defenders as Accountant and Administrator in October 2015.


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.

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, Entrepreneur.
Fredrik 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, Chair of the Center for Economic and Social Rights.
Carin 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.

Nicklas Storåkers, Investor.
Nicklas works as an investor and has a background as an entrepreneur. In 1999 he started the Swedish online bank Avanza and he was the CEO during 12 years until 2011. As a challenger to the large, traditional banks Avanza Bank grew from a start-up to a company with close to 500,000 customers and close too SEK 100 billion in assets under management. Currently, Nicklas conducts his own investment activities and has also invested in the start-up Tink. Nicklas has studied at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Christoffer Lindblad, Country Manager at Alumni.
Christoffer works as Country Manager for Alumni Sweden, a leading Nordic Leadership Services Firm with approximately 60 employees in Sweden. In addition, he is also heading Alumni Nordic’s Executive Search operations. Christoffer has genuine experience from working with Board and C-suite assignments to large, international corporations and organisations as well as leading Nordic private equity and professional services firms. Christoffer has a Master of Law from the University of Lund and has previously worked for the Law Firm Mannheimer Swartling.

 


Election Committee


Kristna Scharp Anders Mellbourn