Kristina Hedlund Thulin – a dedicated human rights defender
Early in 2005 Minority Rights Group International learnt the tragic news that our colleague Kristina Hedlund Thulin had been lost in the Asian Tsunami. Her husband and two children, who were with her when she was swept away, all survived.
At the time of her death, Kristina was the Adviser on Democracy and Human Rights in South-East Asia for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Previously she had held senior positions in the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Swedish Red Cross and had been the Human Rights Adviser to the EU representative in Afghanistan.
Chair of MRG’s Finance and General Purposes Committee, Martin Pick, said: ‘Kristina had a rare gift for committing herself to causes no one could expect her to take up, and I remember how in the height of the Afghanistan crisis she decided to go there to represent the EU for a year, at considerable risk to herself. The tragedy of her early death has robbed the world of a leading figure in the human rights field. She would in the course of time have reached the highest positions, and the world is the poorer for that.’
Kristina’s contribution was central to the success of MRG’s work over the last eight years. Until 2004 a member of MRG’s Council and Chair of its Programmes and Publications Committee, she had a rare combination of vision and practical sense that enabled us to develop projects that could make a real difference to people’s lives. Her early death has robbed us of a dear friend and a great humanitarian.