The 2024 Panel of Experts

Mariclaire Acosta
Mariclaire Acosta, President of Transitional Justice in Mexico, and Oxfam-Mexico

MariClaire Acosta

A former President of the Citizen’s Committee of the National Anticorruption System of Mexico, Mariclaire Acosta is an academic, activist, former public servant, and an internationally recognized expert on issues related to the defense and promotion of human rights.

Throughout her career, Mariclaire has founded several civil society organizations and held a number of prominent posts, including Director of Freedom House–Mexico; Director for the Americas at the International Center for Transitional Justice; Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States on civil society affairs; and Deputy Secretary for Human Rights and Democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs under President Vicente Fox.

From 2013 to 2018, Mariclaire was a member of the Board of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation of the UNHCHR, and from 2013 to 2019, she was a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Human Rights Commission. She currently presides over Justicia Transicional en México (JTMX), is the Chair of Oxfam-Mexico, and is on the Advisory Board of the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination. She is also a member of the Board of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF).

Edison Lanza
Edison Lanza, Former Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

edison lanza

Edison Lanza is a Uruguayan lawyer and current Senior Fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue. A graduate of the University of Republic Law School in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 2014 to 2020, Edison served as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur of Freedom Expression. In his current capacity, Edison consults numerous international governmental and human rights organizations, such as UNESCO. 

Edison has authored numerous widely published works on the freedom of expression and communication, and on the expansion of these freedoms in the digital sphere. He has also been in charge of coordinating the preparation of thematic, case, and country reports in the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS).

Throughout his career in academia, Edison has been a Professor of Information and Communication at the University of the Republic, and has been a guest lecturer at several prestigious universities, including La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM); La Universidad Carlos III in Spain;  La Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, and both Stanford University and the American University Washington College of Law in the United States. 

Juan Pablo Albán Alencastro
Director of the Public Interest Law Clinical System at Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Juan Pablo Albán Alencastro

A tenured criminal, international, and human rights law professor, Juan Pablo is a Member of the United Nations Committee on Forced Disappearances, and is currently the Director of the Public Interest Law Clinical System at La Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Juan Pablo received his law degree from La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, before receiving his LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame, where he is currently completing his doctoral studies.

Juan Pablo has previously served as a Human Rights Specialist at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and is a former Council Member of the Ecuadorian Council of the Judiciary. He is currently a Member of the Inter-American Institute on Criminal Policy, and is a Foreign Expert with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia.

Ariel Peralta
Ariela Peralta, Member of the United Nations Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua.

ariela peralta

A Uruguayan lawyer and notary public with over 33 years of experience in international humanitarian and human rights law, Ariela received her LL.M. in International Legal Studies at the American University Washington College of Law.  She currently serves as an expert for the ProDerechos program of the European Union in Honduras. In 2017, Ariela was nominated by the Uruguayan government as a candidate to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ariela has held many high-level positions within the field of human rights. Last year, she was appointed to the UN Group of Experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua by the President of the Human Rights Council. From 2020 to 2022, Ariela served as the Executive Secretary of the Institute for Public Policy on Human Rights of the Southern Common Market technical assistance agency.  Prior to that, from 2012 to 2017 Ariela served as a member of the first Board of Directors of the National Institute of Human Rights & Ombudsman of Uruguay. Ariela has also served as the Deputy Director of the Center for Justice & International Law (CEJIL) in Washington, D.C.

Throughout her illustrious career, Ariela has served as a human rights consultant to various international organizations, and has coordinated the "Human Rights, Democracy & Rule of Law Program" at FLASCO, in Uruguay. 

Juan E. Méndez
Juan E. Méndez, Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at the American University -- Washington College of Law

Juan E. Méndez

Juan is a Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence at the American University-Washington College of Law and was the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment from November 2010 to October 31, 2016. In July 2020, Juan was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; his 3-year term was renewed in 2023. In January 2022, he was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to a three-year term as a member of the International Independent Expert Mechanism on Racial Justice and Law Enforcement.

In 2020 and 2021, Juan served as one of five members of the International Independent Group of Experts (GIEI) that investigated and reported on violations of human rights and acts of violence in Bolivia in late 2019. Between April and December 2017 he was a member of the Selection Committee (Comité de Escogencia) that appointed magistrates to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and members of the Truth Commission contemplated in the Peace Accords between Colombia and the FARC guerrillas.

Juan is the author – with Marjorie Wentworth – of "Taking a Stand" (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, October 2011) and of the Spanish and updated version ("Un Puesto de Lucha") published by Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico in 2021. In January 2017, Juan was elected a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (Geneva, Switzerland), and has been an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In 2010 and 2011, Juan was also Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association.

Until May 2009, Juan was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York (summer 2009). Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, Juan was Kofi Annan’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (2004 to 2007).  Between 2000 and 2003, Juan was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, serving as its President in 2002.  

Juan has taught international law and human rights at Oxford University in the United Kingdom since 1997, and has also taught at the Notre Dame Law School, the Georgetown Law School, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in the United States. From 1982 to 1986, Juan worked for Human Rights Watch in Washington and New York, and from 1996-1999, he served as Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

Sergia Galván Ortega
Sergia Galván Ortega, Feminist Leader, and Educator specializing in women’s studies and human rights in the Dominican Republic.

Sergia Galván Ortega

For over 40 years, Sergia has been at the forefront of the feminist movement in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is the Co-Founder of the Network of Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin American and Diaspora Women,  and of the Dominican Republic's Democratic Choice Party. Sergia has previously served as the Director of Public Policies & International Affairs for the Ministry of Women in the Dominican Republic, and as the Executive Director of La Colectiva Mujer y Salud. 

 Sergia is an expert in the Follow-Up Mechanism (MESECVI) to the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment & Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará), and has fought for decades for women's sexual and reproductive rights, and against racism, violence, and pedophilia. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network.