Juan E. Méndez is a Visiting Professor of Law at the American University – Washington College of Law and the author (with Marjory Wentworth) of “Taking A Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights”, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011. As of 1 November 2010, he was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He was Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He was also Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute from 2010-2011. Until May 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transnational Justice (ICTJ) and in the summer of 2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York. Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, the Honorable Kofi Annan named Mr. Méndez his Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, a task he performed from 2004 to 2007. A native of Argentina, Mr. Méndez has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights and has a long and distinguished record of advocacy throughout the Americas. As a result of his involvement in representing political prisoners, the Argentinean military dictatorship arrested him and subjected him to torture and administrative detention for more than a year. During this time, Amnesty International adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience.” After his expulsion from his country in 1977, Mr. Méndez moved to the United States. For 15 years, he worked with Human Rights Watch, concentrating his efforts on human rights issues in the western hemisphere. In 1994, he became general counsel of Human Rights Watch, with worldwide duties in support of the organization’s mission, including responsibility for litigation and standard-setting activities. From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Méndez was the Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica, and between October 1999 and May 2004 he was Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Between 2000 and 2003 he was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and served as its President in 2002. He has taught International Human Rights Law at Georgetown Law School and at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and he teaches regularly at the Oxford Masters Program in International Human Rights Law in the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of several human rights awards: the Rafael Lemkin Award for contributions to the prevention of genocide by the Auschwitz Institute on Peace and Reconciliation (2010); the Goler T. Butcher Medal from the American Society of International Law (2010); a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Quebec in Montreal (2006); the inaugural “Monsignor Oscar A. Romero Award for Leadership in Service to Human Rights,” by the University of Dayton (2000); and the “Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Award” of the Heartland Alliance (2003). Mr. Méndez is a member of the bar of Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the District of Columbia, U.S., having earned a J.D. from Stella Maris University in Argentina and a certificate from the American University Washington College of Law.
Rafendi Djamin is currently Executive Director of HRWG (human Rights Working Group) – a Coalition of Indonesian NGO for International Human Rights Advocacy, a Jakarta based network organization, with members more than 40 organizations (national and provincial level) from various sectors (women’s rights, children rights, environmental groups, urban poor, peasant and fisherman organization, migrant workers,security sector governance/reforms). Since 23rd October 2009, elected and appointed as Indonesian Representative (Commisioner) of ASEAN Inter Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) 2009-2012. And re-elected for the second term 2013-2015. Specialist and trainers in human rights and democracy in Indonesia. Since 1992, specializing in lobby and advocacy work on human rights, democracy and humanitarian issues in Indonesia to both Inter-governmental bodies and UN human Rights mechanisms.. Member of Board of directors of various national and International human rights NGO’s. Visiting lecturer on Human Rights foreign Policy and Practices in various Universities and high learning Institutions in Indonesia. Master degree in Development Studies from Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, (1989) The Netherlands. And undergraduate degree in Faculty of Social Sciences University of Indonesia, Sociology. 1981
Santiago A. Canton is the Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (www.rfkcenter.org). At the RFK Center, Mr. Canton manages programs around the globe that promote and protect human rights and strengthen democratic processes through strategic litigation, capacity building, and advocacy initiatives. Mr. Canton is also an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, the Georgetown University Law Center, and the Universidad de Buenos Aires. In 2013, Mr. Canton served as a member of the World Bank Panel of Experts on Human Rights, part a process that reviewed the Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies. From 2001 to 2012, Mr. Canton was the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In 1998, he was elected as the first Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Inter American System. From 1994 to 1998 Mr. Canton was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Mr. Canton was a political assistant to President Carter in democratic development programs in countries in Latin America. In 2005, Mr. Canton was awarded the Chapultepec Grand Prize for his contributions to the promotion, development, strengthening, and defense of the principles of freedom of expression throughout the Americas. Mr. Canton holds a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master degree in International Law from the Washington College of Law of American University. His writings and interviews have been featured in numerous news outlets, including CNN Español, the Miami Herald, National Public Radio, The New York Times, El Pais, Voice of America, The Washington Post, and newspapers throughout Latin America.
Martin Scheinin joined the EUI in 2008 after 15 years as professor in Finland. In 1993-1998 he was Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Helsinki where he also got his doctorate in 1991. In 1998-2008 he was Professor of Constitutional and International Law and Director of the Institute for Human Rights at ÅboAkademiUniversity in Turku, Finland. In 1997-2004 he was a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the treaty body acting under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In 2005 he was appointed as the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, a position of trust he held until July 2011.
Philip Leach is Professor of Human Rights Law at MiddlesexUniversity, a solicitor, and Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), also based at MiddlesexUniversity. He has extensive experience of representing applicants before the European Court of Human Rights, in particular against the UK, Turkey, Russia and other former Soviet states. His recent human rights research projects have been commissioned, or supported, by the Nuffield Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. He is the author of ‘Taking a Case to the European Court of Human Rights’, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2011. He is a member of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (which provides advice to the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody). He is on the Editorial Board of European Human Rights Law Review, a Trustee of the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) and a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the Human Dignity Trust.
Chafi Bakari was Senior Legal Officer and Special Assistant to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights based in Banjul, the Gambia, were he worked with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. In this respect, among others, Chafi contributed to develop and finalize the tools for African Human Rights Defenders. As Advisor to the Chairperson of and Secretary to the African Commission’s Working Group on Economic Social and Cultural Rights in Africa, Chafi contributed to the development of the Nairobi Principles and Guidelines on ESCR and the Tunis Guidelines for State reports on ESCR. He also contributed to the current Rules of Procedure of the African Commission. In charge of the Know Your Rights program at the secretariat of the African Commission, Chafi contributed to bringing the knowledge of human rights to those who have had limited access to formal education, (women, rural populations, and other marginalized groups), through the translation of key African human rights instruments into selected local languages. Chafi contributed to the development of the jurisprudence of the African Commission through the drafting of one of the landmark decision of the commission namely the decision on Communication 272/2003 in which the African Commission interpreted the Article 1 of the African Charter as imposing on States parties an obligation of result in the implementation of the provisions of the Charter. He also served as Legal and Political Adviser to the African Union Office to the United Nations in New York. Prior to his current position as Human Rights Officer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its Headquarters in Geneva, Chafi Bakari was Deputy Regional Representative of OHCHR in its Regional Office to East Africa, the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. In this regard he contributed to the development and the finalization of the African Human Rights Strategy. With the UNECA’s regional anti-corruption program, he also contributed to mainstreaming human rights in the prevention and the fighting against corruption in Africa. Chafi holds a Master of Law from the Abidjan University School of Law in Côte d’Ivoire and a Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change from ClarkUniversity in Worcester, MA (USA).