Council Members of Minority Rights Group International

Meena Varma, Chair

Meena Verma has been Director of Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK) since 2007. DSN-UK campaigns against the atrocities, humiliation and poverty that over 260 million Dalits or ‘untouchables’ suffer due to caste discrimination.

Meena is also the Chair of the International Dalit Solidarity Network; a Board member and the Treasurer of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Coordinator of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits.

Bill Samuel, Treasurer

Bill Samuel is a chartered accountant with broad private sector experience in banking, finance, and tourism. With a strong interest in human rights and conservation, he has extensive experience of the Charity Sector, having served on the councils of Education Action International, The Book Trade Charity, The Ilois Support Group and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Network. He was also a director of Foyles Bookshop and lives in London.

Tom Astor

Tom Astor is an entrepreneur specialising in the media. He has run a number of businesses and produced a variety of projects in the film, TV, music and advertising industries.

Joe Frans

Joe Frans is founder and Chief Operating Officer of NGA Novum AB, a company specializing in digitizing terrestrial television networks in Africa. He is board member of the Swedish Association of ethnic minority entrepreneurs IFS and previously served as chair and member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group of Independent Experts on People of African Descent. He also worked with the mayor of the City of Stockholm and represented the social democratic party of Sweden in the Swedish Parliament.

Mahdis Keshavarz

Mahdis Keshavarz is founder and principal of The Make Agency. Keshavarz’s clientele has included international dignitaries, Hollywood stars, global artists, numerous film festivals and events focusing on the Middle Eastern community. She has placed news stories and op-eds with media outlets around the world – including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, NPR, The National and Al Jazeera. She also serves on the board of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA).

José Guevara Bermúdez

Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez has extensive practical experience in the area of human rights and international criminal law. Among its former responsibilities, he was Deputy Ombudsman at Mexico City’s Human Rights Institution, Latin America and Caribbean Coordinator for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and Deputy Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as a member of the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2014.

George Ngwane

Mr. George Ngwane is a Senior Chevening Fellow in conflict prevention from the University of York (UK), a Rotary Peace Fellow from the University of Chulalongkorn (Bangkok, Thailand) and a United Nations Minority Rights Fellow from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the Executive Director of the civil society organisation AFRICAphonie, Member of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon.

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