Claire Thomas – Interim Executive Director
Claire leads on Evaluation, Human Resources, contributes to fundraising and oversees some of MRG’s overseas projects as well as contributing to overall organizational management. Claire has a special interest in cultural programmes, advocacy strategies and techniques, gender, intersectional discrimination as well as currently the Sustainable Development Goals/Agenda 2030.
Shobha Das – Interim Deputy Director
Shobha has worked in human rights in Britain and internationally since 1993. She was Director of Programmes at MRG from 2010 until 2013. She has since then worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on a project to consolidate a strategic regional approach to the Somali refugee situation, and then with the Commonwealth Foundation to project manage the design and delivery of the Commonwealth People’s Forum.
Policy and Communications
Carl Söderbergh – Director of Policy & Communications
Carl has been heading MRG’s Policy & Communications department since 2009. He has previously worked for Amnesty International (Sweden) and UNHCR. He assisted in opening Amnesty’s office in Afghanistan, and worked for UNHCR in Pakistan and Sudan.
Peter Grant – Commissioning Editor
Glenn Payot – UN Advocacy Consultant
Glenn has been representing MRG at the United Nations since 2013. Previously, he worked as delegate to the UN for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and as UN advocacy officer for the coalition Impact Iran.
Silvia Quattrini – MENA Programmes Coordinator
Silvia is the MENA Programmes Coordinator. She joined MRG as Drama, Diversity and Development Project Assistant in 2014, working from Tunisia for three years. She holds a Masters in Translation Studies (Arabic – English), a Masters in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and she is currently pursuing an LLM in International Human Rights Law.
Development & Partnerships
Cécile Clerc – Head of Development & Partnerships
Cecile has been running MRG’s Development & Partnerships team since 2007. She has extensive experience in fundraising.
Clémence Hamiti – Statutory Partnerships Officer
Clémence joined MRG Fundraising team in October 2016 and provides support in seeking new funding opportunities and co-financing existing projects, and also in nurturing donors and managing statutory/individual donations. She holds a Master from Sciences Po Grenoble in International Relations with a specialisation in the INGOs sector, Human Rights and double discrimination affecting indigenous women. She speaks French, English and Italian.
Valerie Couillard – Legal Director
Valerie Couillard is an international human rights lawyer and member of the Quebec Bar since 1999, with extensive programme management experience. She worked as a Senior Lawyer with Forest Peoples Programme , where she had oversight of legal and human rights programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America (2008-2016, UK). She also worked as Legal Officer and Assistant to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa (2005-2007, The Gambia) and since 2009, she is an Expert Member of the Working Group on the Environment, Extractive Industries and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Ruth Barry – Legal Officer (currently on leave)
Ruth engages in litigation & legal empowerment work as part of MRG’s strategic litigation programme. She is a qualified solicitor in Ireland, England and Wales, with extensive experience litigating on behalf of communities against multi-national corporations and on behalf of minorities and indigenous peoples before various domestic, regional and international bodies. Ruth was previously a solicitor with the International and Group Claims department of Leigh Day, London.
Janvier Bigrimana – Central and East Africa Legal Officer
Janvier is a Burundi qualified lawyer and human rights activist, with considerable experience representing victims of human rights abuses in East and Central Africa. He has experience in both national and international litigation, has worked as Secretary General of FOCODE (working on transitional justice in Burundi), is an active member of Burundi Bar Association and has also worked with NGOs such as Trial International and Lawyers Without Borders. Janvier joined MRG in December 2016 and speaks both French and English.
Jennifer Castello – Legal Officer/Juriste (non practising lawyer)
Jennifer joined the legal department in September 2017 as a Legal officer challenging slavery in Mauritania through strategic litigation, capacity building and international advocacy. She is a qualified French lawyer and has worked extensively on immigration and asylum law. Jennifer has been involved in international tribunals working for the international criminal court and the united assistance to the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia.
Adelaide Etong – Legal Assistant
Adelaide has been assisting MRG’s legal programme since January 2017. She is passionate about human rights, especially in Africa. Before joining MRG, she worked on women’s rights in Poland, minorities in Macedonia, detainees’ rights in Cameroon and more recently as a Legal Consultant for the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva.
Lesego Nswahu Nchunga – Botswana Legal Officer
Lesego is a civil society lawyer and has been practicing for five years. Her interests lie in a human rights approach to dealing with matters relating to marginalized communities. Lesego’s work with MRG includes advocating for political participation, use of mother tongue and land rights for people from non-Tswana communities. Lesego has also been named one of Botswana’s ’50 Changemakers under 40 years’ (September 2016).
Andrea Spitálszky – Legal Officer & Programmes Coordinator (Europe and Central Asia)
Andrea runs a programme to combat discrimination against Roma in Macedonia and a project to counter cyber hate against Roma in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. She also assists in growing MRG’s legal work in Europe. She is a Hungarian lawyer specialized in human rights and international law. Andrea previously worked as a Legal Officer at the Mental Disability Advocacy Center and as a research consultant for the European Network Against Racism and Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund.
Finance, Administration and IT
Berihu Mohammed – Director of Finance and Administration
Lilian Pons – Finance Officer (Donor Reporting)
Nicole Girard – Asia Programme Coordinator
Nicole has worked on MRG’s programmes in Asia since 2010. She specializes in minority and indigenous rights in South and Southeast Asia, women’s rights in particular, with a focus on ethno-religious nationalism and armed movements for south determination and the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources.
Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights
Miriam Puttick – Civilian Rights Officer
Miriam first joined MRG in 2013 and is passionate about human rights in the Middle East. She is the author of several reports on Iraq, including ‘From Crisis to Catastrophe: The situation of minorities in Iraq and No Place to Turn: Violence against women in the Iraq conflict’.
Europe Regional Office
Neil Clarke – Head of Europe & Central Asia Programme & MD of MRG Europe
Neil has been working with MRG since 2004, in various roles as part of MRGs Africa, Asia and European programme’s teams. Since 2009, he has been both MRG International’s Head of Europe & Central Asia programmes and Managing Director of MRG Europe (the regional office for MRG), based in Budapest, Hungary. Neil is responsible for management of the MRG Europe office and development and coordination of MRGs regional programmes and advocacy in Europe and Central Asia.
Zsófia Farkas – Managing Director (currently on leave)
Zsófia is the Managing Director of Minority Rights Group International Europe, Eastern Partnership and Central Asia Regional Office. As an advocacy officer, she worked for various humanitarian and development NGOs on issues, like child trafficking, child protection, minorities and migration.
Anna Alboth – Program Coordinator / Europe Media Officer
Anna coordinates the Media, Minorities and Migration programme, with a special focus on Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia and is responsible for MRG media work in Europe. Previously she has worked as a journalist, a coordinator and a human rights activist and a initiator of Civil March For Aleppo. Anna is also one of the founders of European Youth Press network, running dozens of trainings for journalists.
Marta Kubicza – Office and Finance Assistant (currently on leave)
Marta has been part of the Budapest team since September 2015 , switching from the for-profit sector after 7 years, currently pursuing her second degree in law . Her tasks include financial and general program support. Marta has a special interest in fundamental rights, especially regarding the balancing between providing the freedom of speech and assembly and protecting groups from hate crimes.
Viktoria Villanyi-Nosko – Finance Officer
Viktoria is responsible for the overall financial matters of the Budapest office including developing budgets for funding proposals, preparing financial reports for international donors, overseeing and supporting partners’ financial management of joint projects. Before joining the Budapest team, she has worked for over 15 years for international organisations, such as Freedom House Europe and NESsT, as Finance and Operations Officer. Currently she serves on the board of Transparency International Hungary.
Anna Szentes – Office and Finance Assistant
Anna has been working with the Budapest office since May
Orsolya Farkas – Programme Officer
Orsolya joined MRG in November 2018 and works on the FAIR project. Orsolya has a background and strong interest in international migration, with a special focus on irregular migration. She holds a degree in International Development and is currently pursuing her Masters in Communications for Development, researching the representation of migration by the Hungarian government’s communication.
Robert Nemeth – Hungarian Media Officer
Robert is MRG’s Hungarian Media Officer, he joined our team in July 2018. Previously he has worked for different Hungarian TV stations and online media outlets in various positions ranging from journalist to senior editor and news producer.
Africa Regional Office
Félicien Balikunda – Capacity Building Officer, Africa Regional Office
Felicien joined MRG in July 2011 as Programme Assistant in Africa Office. He is now working as Capacity Building Officer. Before joining MRG, he worked with Uganda Red Cross Society and GTZ as Education Assistant and Programme Assistant respectively in a refugee settlement in Uganda.
Agnes Kabajuni – Africa Regional Manager
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.