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Fernand de Varennes

UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues
Fernand de Varennes
  • Fernand de Varennes

    Fernand de Varennes is Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Adjunct Professor at the National University of Ireland-Galway (Ireland), and Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China). 

    Fernand de Varennes’ work and commitment focusses on the human rights of minorities, as well as the prevention of ethnic conflicts, the rights of migrants, the relationship between ethnicity, human rights and democracies, and the use of federalism and other forms of autonomy arrangements to balance competing cultural interests. His contributions on these topics in many parts of the world, including as a professor for almost 20 years at Murdoch University in Australia, and as a guest professor at the following institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe: Åbo Academy, Dato Bunka University, Ethiopian Civil Service University, Gakushuin University, Peking University, Seikei University, Universitas Pelita Harapan, Universitas Sam Ratulangi, Université de la Réunion, University of Hong Kong, University of Pretoria, and Vytautas Magnus University. 

    Fernand de Varennes holds degrees from the Université de Moncton (LLB, 1988), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LLM, 1992), and the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (becoming in 1996 the University of Maastricht, Dr Juris, 1996).

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Fasil Mulatu Gessesse

Chair of Center for Human Rights, Addis Ababa University
Moderator Thematic Session 1: Normative framework: existing norms and interpretations
Fasil Mulatu Gessesse
  • Fasil Mulatu Gessesse

    Dr. Fasil Mulatu Gessesse holds a teaching position at Addis Ababa University (AAU), College of Law and Governance, Center for Human Rights (CHR) and serves as the Chair of CHR. He is the lead coordinator of the STRACE project at the Center that has been implemented with the support of Swedish Development Cooperation (Sida) and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, which supports the human rights teaching, research, and community engagement of CHR. 
    He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Cape, Faculty of Law. He previously obtained an LL.M. in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria, Centre for Human Rights. He served as the Chair of AAU-CHR’s Curriculum Development Committee, which designed the first graduate program on Children’s Rights Studies in Ethiopia and has written several academic and non-academic papers on the rights of children, refugees, migrants, IDPs among other topics. Dr. Fasil is a former visiting scholar at University of Antwerp, University of Graz and University of Lund. Dr. Fasil’s academic credentials are matched by his professional experience in a wider range of sectors and thematic areas. Previously, he has worked with NGOs and intergovernmental organizations, including as a researcher and technical advisor for the World Bank Group, UNICEF, IOM, GIZ, Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, and Swiss Development Cooperation. 
     

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Bertus de Villiers

Adjunct Professor of the Law School, Curtin University
Thematic Session 1: Normative framework: existing norms and interpretations
Bertus de Villiers
  • Bertus de Villiers

    Bertus de Villiers is a Member of the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia.  He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Law School of Curtin University. He is admitted as a legal practitioner in South Africa and Australia. He is a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (Germany). He is Consulting Editor for the Western Australian Law Reports. Dr De Villiers has travelled widely and has undertaken research and lectured on constitutional and political developments in various countries. In recent years he has been invited to Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, the Phillipines; Indonesia and Pakistan to give lectures on federalism, decentralisation and minority rights. Dr De Villiers has published extensively on a wide range of constitutional topics, in particular topics dealing with federalism, human rights and administrative law. He is also a reviewer for articles under consideration by legal journals. He was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt scholarship for post-doctoral research in Germany in 1994/5. He was again the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt scholarship for advanced research in constitutional law in 2011; 2015 and 2019. He already received in 2016 the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung award for Innovative Networking.  In 2019 he received a Alexander von Humbldt grant for continued research in Germany.

    The two most recent publications of Prof De Villiers are De Villiers, B.; Marko, J.; Palermo, F; and Constantin, S. (eds) (2021) Litigating the Rights of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples in Domestic and International Courts, Brill (Leiden); and De Villiers, B. (2022) Navigating the Unknown – essays on selected case studies about the rights of minorities Brill (Leiden).

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Beza Dessalegn

Assistant Professor of Law at Hawassa University, School of Law
Thematic Session 1: Normative framework: existing norms and interpretations
Beza Dessalegn
  • Beza Dessalegn

    Beza Dessalegn is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of the Western Cape, Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence. His research focuses on minority rights, federalism, human rights and constitutional law, electoral laws, political participation, subnational autonomy and local government in Ethiopia.

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Laila Alodaat

Deputy Secretary-General, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Thematic Session 1: Normative framework: existing norms and interpretations
Laila Alodaat
  • Laila Alodaat

    Laila is a human rights lawyer with 15 years of experience in litigation, advocacy and management. She is a qualified lawyer and trainer of International Humanitarian Law, her areas of focus include peace building and human rights of women. She currently serves as the Deputy Secretary General at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and sits on the governance and advisory boards of several regional and international human rights organisations, trusts and foundations

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Honorable Lady Justice Jamila Mohammed

Chairperson of Kenya’s National Committee on the Prevention of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination
Moderator Thematic Session 2: Implementation: Institutions, Mechanisms, Policies, and Programmes
Honorable Lady Justice Jamila Mohammed
  • Honorable Lady Justice Jamila Mohammed

    Justice Jamila Mohammed is the Chairperson of the Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).  She represents Kenya in the ICGLR Regional Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

    Justice Jamila is the Chairperson of the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes - Africa Working Group (GAAMAC-AWG) and is the Focal Point for the East African Region. She served as the Vice Chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Kenya) and was a member of the Committee on the Formulation of the Kenya Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women Peace and Security. 

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Agnes Kabajuni

Managing Director, Minority Rights Group Africa and Executive Director at Centre on Economic Social Cultural Rights in Africa
Thematic Session 2: Implementation: Institutions, Mechanisms, Policies, and Programmes
Agnes Kabajuni
  • Agnes Kabajuni

    Agnes is MRG’s Africa Regional Manager. She has over 16 years of experience in the field of human rights and has extensively worked in research and advocacy, both on international and national levels. Her area of expertise includes cultural rights, women’s rights and ethnic minority and indigenous rights.

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Naji M Lahsen

Director, Independent Commission of Human Rights in North Africa
Moderator Thematic Session 3: Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right and practice
Naji M Lahsen
  • Naji M Lahsen

    Naji Moulay Lahsen is the Executive Director of the Network of the Independent Commission of Human rights in North Africa. He is a member of the Steering Committee of The NGO Forum and Focal Point of Northern Africa. He is also a member of the support group to the ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders for the promotion of The Guideline on Freedom of Assembly and Association in Africa. He has served as trainer, lecturer and consultant of various aspects of the African regional human rights mechanisms. He has authored multiple articles in relations to human rights and published two books:
    The first book entitled " Building Strong Alliances with North African Civil Society for free and Open Civic Space. Published in 2020.
     

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Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua

Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Ghana
Thematic Session 3: Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right and practice
Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua
  • Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua

    Prof. Appiagyei-Atua is Associate Professor at the School of Law, University of Ghana, where he teaches Public International Law, International Human Rights Law and Law of Diplomacy. He was a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow at the Centre for Educational Research and Development, Lincoln University, UK and a Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, New York, USA. Kwadwo is a member of the Ghana Bar. He completed his LLB at University of Ghana, Legon; LLM at Dalhousie University and DCL at McGill University, all in Canada. Kwadwo has been a consultant for different inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations in the broad areas of public international law and international human rights law. 

     

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Mona Silavi

Co-founder, the Voice of Ahwazi Women and former Minority Fellow
Thematic Session 3: Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right
Mona Silavi
  • Mona Silavi

    Miss Mona silavi is an experienced human rights activist. She started her journey as a student in Syria by assisting Ahwazi Arab citizens that fled 2005 crackdown following the uprising in the south of Iran. In 2012, She had to leave Syria following the war. She is currently based in Belgium. She obtained her masters degree in good governance and human rights in MENA region at Ca’ Foscari university in 2017. 


    She followed a month of fellowship of minority rights in Genève in November 2018. 


    Miss Silavi holds a master's degree in clinical and social psychology and is currently working in Belgium Red Cross. 


    She is the co-founder of a women's rights organization called the voice of Ahwazi women. 
    I prefer to use my role as co-founder of the voice of Ahwazi women and former minority fellow.
     

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Inas Miloud

Co-Founder and Executive Co-Director, Tamazight Women’s Movement
Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right and practice
Inas Miloud
  • Inas Miloud

    Inas Miloud is an indigenous feminist activist. She is the former Lead Coordinator of 1325 Network in Libya, and Former Indigenous Senior Fellow at the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. She is the co-founder and currently Co-executive Director of Tamazight Women’s Movement, an intersectional organization that works to address gender, youth and indigenous peoples inequalities in Libya. Her works have been particularly focused on gender, peace and security, militarization, indigenous issues, and intersectionality.

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Awat Taieb

Representative of the Zoroastrians in the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government
Thematic Session 3: Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right and practice
Awat Taieb
  • Awat Taieb

    Awat Taieb graduated in 1986 from Teachers Institute in Sulaymaniyah and taught till 1992. 

    She is a graduate from the Institute for Women’s Affairs in the Netherlands, where she continued working for various Dutch organisations including feminist organizations for minority women in the Netherlands.                        

    Awat graduated in 2006 from the Diplomatic Institute at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2006, and was a civil activist in the field of women’s rights.  She was the first woman in Kurdistan to open a Med bookshop in 2013 in Sulaimaniyah. In 2015 she was one of the founders of the Yesna Organization for the Development of Zoroastrian Philosophy.   

    Awat was selected as a representative of the Zoroastrians in the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government.  She is also a founding member of more than three civil societies defending the rights of minorities in the Kurdistan; participating in dozens of international and local conferences on defending minority and women’s rights in the Kurdistan region.

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Tahani Irfan Ruhi

Journalist, lecturer, trainer; human rights defender
Moderator Thematic Session 4: Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework
Tahani Irfan Ruhi
  • Tahani Irfan Ruhi

    * A journalist, lecturer, trainer; human rights defender who is striving for social change and holding unto media plus social responsibilities. Throughout her 27 years of experience, she managed to correlate contemporaneous social issues with the rights of minorities, refugees, and gender equality in the media realm. In addition, she also engaged in raising awareness projects pertaining to media as well as social action endeavors related to human rights and minority rights.

    *As an expat journalist, with over 16 years of learning through societal immersion whilst living in various countries her multicultural mentality broadened, and her world-embracing vision solidified. Therefore, due to this exposure, she is managing a pioneers’ enterprise on youth empowerment programs to build local capacity to take charge as proactive agents of change by utilizing social media as their primary means and as part of the overarching theme: Al Karama (Human dignity).

    * Tahani is a speaker/panelist at various local and international conferences and Interfaith dialogue events as a Baha’i religion representative of Jordan. Furthermore, she is hosting an ongoing round table discussion with eminent media figures on a vast array of topics related to empowering youth, religious coexistence, social justice, minority rights, and other social issues to attain a unified vision which would translate into the media realm with its necessary implications. As a result of these initiatives, she is being interviewed on a regular basis in local, international TV news networks to elucidate the concepts and activities about social issues.

    * She is currently a media consultant at Waee Center for Human Rights Training. Her role is developing media training curriculums in terms of minority rights and coexistence. In addition to that, she is a columnist at a local and regional Arabic newspapers.

    * Tahani is a representative of the Baha'is in Jordan

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Prosper Nobirabo Musafiri

Associate Professor, University of Kisangani
Thematic Session 4: Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework
Prosper Nobirabo Musafiri
  • Prosper Nobirabo Musafiri

    Dr. Prosper Nobirabo is a scholar of international law and political science with a Ph.D. in international law from the University of Bern in Switzerland. An indigenous Batwa, or “Pygmy,” from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr. Nobirabo has addressed heads of state and consulted to NGOs and the UN to promote the needs of constitutional protection for indigenous minority rights. He has received numerous international awards for his work and in his relatively short academic career, has established himself as an expert on minority rights in constitutional law.

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Mina Thabet

Regional Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, PEN International
Thematic Session 4: Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework
Mina Thabet
  • Mina Thabet

    Mina Thabet is an Egyptian human rights defender, activist, researcher, and writer who has been working passionately to promote freedom of expression in the Middle East since 2011. He has worked with minority communities to combat discrimination and violence against religious and ethnic minorities and promote diverse cultures, languages, and religious freedoms. Throughout his career and studies, Mina acquired established expertise on the human rights situation in the MENA region, especially in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Libya. He joined PEN International in December 2020 as the MENA Regional Coordinator. His vision for PEN’s work in the MENA region focuses on celebrating and promoting diversity and providing young writers with new platforms and opportunities.

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Mohamed Ben Moussa

Professor of Architecture and Senior Lecturer & Researcher, High School of Architecture and Urbanism of Tunisia
Thematic Session 4: Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework
Mohamed Ben Moussa
  • Mohamed Ben Moussa

      Dr. Mohamed Ben Moussa


    He is a PhD graduate in Architecture, and titular of a Master from the I.U.Grenoble - The Institute of Urbanism - France. 

    He is a Professor of Architecture and Senior Lecturer & Researcher in the High School of Architecture and Urbanism of Tunisia for over 20 years.

    Dr Ben Moussa’s latest book entitled : Barzakh ou l’entre deux mondes : L’imaginal de la médina de Tunis - lien

    He conducted several academic researches on: governance, equality between men and women, patrimonial heritage and modernity, politics of planning, transitional justice, ecology, education, coexistence and has produced many studies and academic papers at the national and the international level, in Spain, France, Algeria, USA, and Tunisia. 

    Dr Ben Moussa is an activist in civil society with many conferences and TV interviews (AL Jazeera, Al Hurra, BBC Arabic, Nessma, Al Hiwar, Hannibal TV) on : Coexistence, Human Rights, Citizenship, Interfaith Dialogue, justice and equality, etc.

    He is the President of the UDD NGO called Unité Dans la Diversité and is co-founder of many NGOs. Within them is a National Observatory for the Right of Difference (O3DT Observatoire Du Droit à la Différence Tunisie) which is a network for more than 70 civil associations defending human rights.
    An active participation in the “World Social Forum 2013: Tunisia” giving conference and holding a space for an interactive debate. 

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Speakers To Be Confirmed Soon

Speakers To Be Confirmed Soon

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