Human Rights Defenders Speaker Series

The Human Rights Defenders Speaker Series is a great program in which the WCL community meets and talks with Human Rights Defenders from around the world who will discuss their work and their personal journey into the world of human rights advocacy.

2003-2004 Speakers

Justine Mbabazi Rukeba (Rwanda) April 7, 2004
A refugee-born child, Ms. Mbabazi's work focuses on the equal protection of women and children. She has worked in Canada, as well as in East and Central African countries, raising gender and human rights awareness. After the 1994 genocide, she served as executive director of a national legal network in Rwanda, where she played a critical role in the debate of the new constitution, bringing gender questions to the forefront of national politics. As a genocide survivor and victim, she devotes her time to public speaking in Canada, The Netherlands, and South Africa, addressing the effects of genocide on women and children.

Gombosurengiin Ganzorig, (Mongolia) February 25, 2004
Ganzorig Gombosuren is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Mongolia and adjunct professor of the Texas Wesleyan University Law School. Currently, he is doing his PhD study on "Comparative Law: Constitutional Criminal Procedural Rights". He received LLM from WCL. He expects that his theses would contribute to the incorporation of constitutional human rights provisions into the statutory laws such as criminal procedure code, penal code and law on the courts.

He has been heavily involved in promoting and advocating human rights through the strengthening judicial independence. He published number of articles on said topics in Mongolia and United States. G. Ganzorig assisted the judiciary to develop the first code of conduct on judicial ethics and argued before the Constitutional Court defending judicial independence and citizens rights, acting as an individual citizen.

Ahmad Warraich (Pakistan) February 25, 2004
Ahmad Warraich is the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Wing of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights in Pakistan, where he monitors the human rights situation on behalf of the Federal Government. Mr. Warraich's responsibilities include liaising with Human Rights non governmental organizations and the Provincial Government, overseeing mass awareness projects, and dealing with reports of human rights violations. During his year as a Humphrey Fellow, Mr. Warraich would like to further his knowledge on how human rights mechanisms work at all levels of government in the United States with the hope of adapting similar methods in Pakistan.

Gaston Mwenelupembe (Malawi) February 25, 2004
Gaston Mwenelupembe is the Deputy Chief State Advocate in the O ffice of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Malawi. Prior to this he worked as a Legal Aid Advocate (equivalent of Public Defender). He is responsible for the Prosecution of Criminal cases,supervision of junior Prosecutors,giving legal advice to the Director of Public Prosecution and the Malawi Police Service. During his Humphrey year, mr. Mwenelupembe is interested in Transnational crimes.

Michael Njong (Cameroon) February 17, 2004
Michael Njong is the Coordinator of Human Rights and Teacher of English for the Projet de Promotion Humaine in Maroua, Cameroon. There, he manages all human rights activities within the organization, conducting human rights sensitization seminars and working with stakeholders, such as traditional rulers and law enforcement agents, to promote fundamental rights of citizens.

Dean Claudio Grossman (Chile) January 29, 2004
Dean of American University Washington College of Law, Claudio Grossman is a key leader in the protection and promotion of human rights around the world. Dean Grossman served two terms on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, including serving as its President twice. He has litigated several landmark cases in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, including Myrna Mack Chang v. Guatemala; Awas Tingi v. Nicaragua; and El Amparo v. Venezuela. In November 2003, Dean Grossman was elected to the 10-member United Nations Committee Against Torture and currently serves as its Vice President.

Dean Grossman has written extensively in the area of international law and is actively recruited for his expertise on human rights. He will discuss his journey to human rights activism and "The Other September 11th." Dean Grossman, a native of Chile, will share with us his experiences with human rights and democracy resulting from a military coupe that took place in that country on Sept 11, 1973.

Roseline Zigomo (Zimbabwe) November 19, 2003
Roseline Zigomo is a Partner in the law firm of Atherstone & Cook, located in Harare, Zimbabwe. There, she is involved in litigation including human rights advocacy in the area of Constitutional rights and freedoms. In this respect, Ms Zigomo has defended Commercial Farmers, Journalists working for the independent press and various individuals on issues of human rights. Ms Zigomo has experience in litigation in the Magistrate's Court, High Court and Supreme Court. Her practice also involves labour cases, family law, insurance cases and negotiating and drafting agreements. Ms Zigomo has also been involved in helping various non-governmental organisations gain local legal status through drafting their technical agreements and Memorandum of Understanding. Ms Zigomo is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and belongs to Capital Toastmasters. Ms Zigomo is also a member of the Rotary Club of Msasa in District 9210 where she served as Community Services Director from 2000-2001. Ms. Zigomo is currently a Humphrey Fellow at WCL.

Dr. Yousef Jabareen (Israel) November 13, 2003
Yousef Jabareen is from Umm el Fahem in Israel. A Palestinian citizen of Israel, Dr. Jabareen has been an ardent advocate for the equal treatment of the Palestinian minority in Israel. He was Director of the Equality for Arab Citizens of Israel project and staff attorney for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. He has concentrated his work on various facets of discrimination and inequality including in the educational system, the workplace and in housing rights. He has been directly involved in three of the most important judicial decisions impacting Palestinians in Israel in the last decade. These cases considered land rights, fair representation on governmental bodies, and the use and legal status of the Arabic language.

Mehrangiz Kar (Iran) November 5, 2003
Mehrangiz Kar is an attorney, writer, and activist working towards the promotion of democracy, rule of law, and human rights within the framework of Islamic law of the Islamic Republic of Iran since the revolution in 1979. Despite her work and efforts being frequently impeded and curtailed by the intelligence services of the Islamic Republic, she has been an active public defender in Iran's civil and criminal courts, and has published regularly in several influential and independent Iranian journals. Banned from making public appearances within her country, including conferences, radio and television, Ms. Kar has used international forums as a platform for voicing her opinions and advocating for the democratic, political, legal, constitutional, and human rights of the Iranian people. In April 2000, following her participation in a symposium in Berlin, she was arrested and imprisoned on charges of acting against the national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Three of the five charges against her are pending, for which she may again be arrested upon her return. Ms. Kar is currently a Visiting Scholar at WCL, sponsored by the Open Society Institute.

Hauwa Ibrahim (Nigeria) October 30, 2003
Hauwa Ibrahim is a Senior Partner in the General Law Practice of the Aires Law Firm located in Garki Abuja, Nigeria, as well as the Pro Bono Legal Aid Counsel. She also serves as a consultant to many human rights and non-governmental organizations. Since 1999, Ms. Ibrahim has led a team of lawyers as defense Counsels in addressing issues corresponding to the implementation of the Islamic Shari'a Law. She has taken on over 47 Shari'a-related cases. Specifically, she has been Lead Counsel to all cases, thus far, of women who have been sentenced to death by stoning for allegedly having committed adultery, including Amina Lawal. Ms. Ibrahim has taken on these cases pro bono and at tremendous personal risk. On September 25, 2003, the highest Shar'ia court acquitted Amina Lawal of adultery and rendered a very important verdict which sets a crucial precedent for other Shari'a-realted cases in Nigeria. Ms. Ibrahim is currently in residence at WCL as a Humphrey Fellow.

Colin Gonsalves (India) October 21, 2003
Colin Gonsalves is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Network and a pioneer in public interest law in India. The HRLN is India's first association of legal professionals providing fast, free, and qualified support to those who have little or no access to law. His network trains lawyers to use their position to communicate alternate opinions and to persuade the government to be more proactive in the definition of people's rights. In addition, he has developed the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights (IPT), an independent organization directed by retired Supreme Court and High Court Judges that investigates human rights violations and environmental degradation. Its discoveries have spurred public interest litigation, formed social movements, and led to concrete policy changes. He is the founder of the India Center for Human Rights and Law, an independent, one-stop information center for anyone involved in public interest law and he has brought numerous, precedent-setting cases to the Supreme Court of India, particularly in the sphere of social and economic rights.