Between 1989 and 2021, a total of 346 human rights advocates from 95 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 .
Ro-Ann Mohammed (she/her) is a Caribbean feminist and activist, based in Barbados. Her activism focuses on fostering women’s leadership in Caribbean LGBTQI+ discourse, facilitating safe spaces, access to resources and platforms for empowerment for local LGBTQI+ communities, combating religious intolerance, public education and visibility. Ro-Ann is the founder and director of SHE Barbados, the only platform in Barbados dedicated to LBQT advocacy, movement building and research. She is Director of Pride Barbados and the representative for Barbados on the LGBTTTI & Sex Workers Coalition of the Organization of American States. She is an OutRight Action International Beijing +25 Fellow, Communications Officer at FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund, Co-Chair of the Project Selection Committee for the Act Together for Inclusion Fund and Advisor to the Equality Fund’s Women’s Voice and Leadership. She also co-founded Barbados – Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals against Discrimination (B-GLAD), and is a Women’s Deliver Global Young Leader alumnus.
Isabella Mukankusi is the Legal and Advocacy Advisor at MyStory Initiative, a nongovernmental organisation based in Uganda that promotes human rights for persons with disabilities. She is passionate about justice and human rights, having trained as a lawyer. She is responsible for providing strategic direction and advice to the board, and provides legal support. She also works directly with grassroots communities on women’s and children’s rights. Having previously worked as the Legal Services Manager at Justice Defenders, Uganda, she led programs to increase access to justice for prisoners through legal education, training and practice, helped to set up the first legal aid clinic inside a maximum security prison in Uganda and advocated for reforms of the law of incarceration of mentally ill prisoners. She began her human rights career at Foundation for Human Rights Initiative where she worked on a European Union-funded project aimed at promoting access to justice for women and children in six districts.
Elvira is Indigenous lawyer from Oaxaca, Mexico. She is part of the Ayuuk Indigenous Peoples. Elvira collaborates with civil society organizations for the defense and promotion of human rights, especially women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, on topics related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, violence prevention, political participation and indigenous peoples’ collective rights. She conducts advocacy at the local, national, and international levels. She is part of the National Coordinator of Indigenous Women, the National Network of Indigenous Women Lawyers and the Youth and Children Commission of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women from the Americas. Elvira currently works as the Policy and Member Engagement Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
Aminatu is from the Mbororo-Fulani Indigenous Peoples of Cameroon. Aminatu is the Program Coordinator of Political Participation and Advocacy at the Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas-International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI-IIWF). Her work focuses on promoting and strengthening the active participation and political advocacy of Indigenous women in key decision-making spaces from national to global levels. She earned a BA from the University of Yaoundé II Soa-Cameroon in Common Law and the MA in International Law. Aminatu is an alumnus of the OHCHR Indigenous Fellowship Program in Geneva and the Project Access training by the Tribal Link Foundation in New York.
A founding member of the Organisation Trans d’Haiti (OTRAH), Dominque St. Vil became Executive and Administrative Director in 2020. OTRAH promotes the recognition, visibility, and development of Haiti’s transgender and transexual community by challenging discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Dominque leads OTRAH’s advocacy, collaboration, and civic education initiatives. He works directly with trans individuals to ensure their effective and efficient civic participation and to lay the foundations for an affirming, fair, united and inclusive Haitian society. Dominique strives to create and maintain a strong network of trans organizations throughout the country so that all trans Haitians can access important resources and information. Dominque and OTRAH also lead programs to promote physical and mental wellbeing with an emphasis on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and mental health assistance. Previously he served as a logistical and technical advisor to the Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans wing of kouraj pou Pwoteje Dwa Moun, best known as Kouraj. With KPPDM and OTRAH, he has represented Haitian civil society and LGBTQI communities at conferences and events throughout Latin American and the Caribbean. Dominque has also completed extensive secretarial training and coursework in law. Additionally, he has taken coursework in cross-cultural competency at the University of Rhode Island.
A lawyer with the Indigenous Women Legal Awareness Group (INWOLAG), Ritu provides free legal aid to Indigenous and other marginalized groups, especially women and young girls, in Nepal. She is currently working with the hydropower-affected indigenous community of Tanahu, Nepal. She earned the LL.M. from the University of Pune, India. Ritu has been involved with human rights issues since college when she first had the chance to meet and interact with victims of human rights violations. These experiences are what drove her to enter the field. Later, through the Legal Aid and Consultancy Center (LACC), she advocated for equal property rights for women in Nepal. Along with her colleagues, she campaigned for legislatures, participated in workshops, and organized rallies to pressure lawmakers. They organized discussion groups, collected feedbacks from the Gorkha and Tanahu districts, and supported the draft of a proposed bill for the legislative reformation of women's property rights in Nepal. As a result, Nepal's government enacted equal property rights for women, which was a milestone in Nepal.
Coordinator, International Indigenous Women's Forum, Latin American LGBTI Journalism Initiative
Daniel Villatoro is the Coordinator of the Latin American LGBTI Journalism Initiative at the International Women's Media Foundation. The program trains and supports media outlets on how reporting can combat prejudice. His areas of advocacy are storytelling, open data, and social innovation, in addition to addressing representation and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. His book “The Registry of Violence Against LGBTI People: Datification and Protocols” won the Latin American Open Data Initiative Call for New Voices. He is a founding member of Visibles, a growing LGBTI rights organization in Guatemala, and served as its first Executive Director until late 2021. In 2020 he founded Impronta, a Central American queer culture magazine. In the past, his work as an investigative journalist has been awarded multiple prizes (including Inter-American Press Society, TRACE, Gabriel García Marquez). His campaigns and tech ideas have also been recognized with innovation and sexual and reproductive rights awards. With Estudio Abierto, his consultancy firm, he has worked for Internews, IREX, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republic Institute, NORC at the University of Chicago and the United Nations Development Programme and as a trainer for the Organization of American States, the Interamerican Development Bank, and the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas.
Executive Director, Sin Control Parental
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.
UNAIDS Youth Leader for West and Central Africa , Advocacy Working Group Lead, The PACT
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.
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