Our Team

Stockholm (Head Office) | Belgrade | Pristina | Sarajevo | TiranaBoard

Head Office, Stockholm (Sweden)

John Stauffer, Legal Director and Acting Executive Director.
John is a human rights lawyer with a Master of Laws from Stockholm University. He has previously worked for the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination and the Equality Ombudsman where he was responsible for investigating cases of discrimination. John also spent time in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the conflict working with human rights. During his four years working with the OSCE mission John initially focused on creating conditions for the return of displaced persons. Later on, as the Director of the Human Rights Department, he was responsible for the organisation’s work on issues such as war crimes, rule of law, minority rights, economic and social rights. He joined Civil Rights Defenders in March 2013.

Päivi Hemming, Chief Operating Officer.
Päivi holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences with specialisation in personnel and organisation from Stockholm University. She has more than fifteen years of experience as a Human Resources Manager/Director in various fields, including two years as self-employed. Päivi joined Civil Rights Defenders in the autumn of 2016.

Legal Department


Annika Åkerberg, Senior Legal Adviser (Team Leader).
Annika holds a law degree from Stockholm University and has worked with children’s rights and disability issues at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. She has also participated in several government commissions on human rights. In 2015, the United Nations Association of Sweden awarded her a prize for her work on human rights and discrimination. Annika joined Civil Rights Defenders as a Legal Adviser in September 2015.

Katri Linna, Senior Legal Adviser
Katri holds a master’s degree in EU law from University of Leicester, UK. In 2005–2011 she served as the ombudsman against ethnic discrimination (from 2009 Equality Ombudsman). She has extensive experience working with labor law and human rights and has, among other things, worked as Legal Director at Sif (Unionen). She has also worked with various international missions, including the government’s representative in the EU Commission’s expert group on discrimination. During 2014–2016 Katri worked for the OSCE in Ukraine.

Aida Samani, Legal Adviser.
Aida holds a master’s degree in Law specializing in human rights law, international migration law and procedural law from Lund University. She has previously had an internship at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in New York, where she worked with issues relating to human rights in the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee. She has also done an internship at the anti-discrimination law firm Malmö mot diskriminering. Furthermore, she has worked as a law clerk at the district court of Gotland and at the Stockholm Administrative Court.

Tilda Pontén, Legal Adviser.
Tilda holds a LL.M. focusing on international human rights law from Uppsala University and Université catholique de Louvain. She has also studied Social Anthropology, Philosophy and French. Tilda has previously worked two years at the Swedish Migration Agency as a Case Officer and later as Decision Maker within the asylum process. Furthermore, Tilda has experience from Uppsala Anti-Discrimination Office, Lighthouse Relief in Greece, the Swedish Red Cross and Amnesty International where she was in the national board of the Swedish Group of Lawyers.

Emma Moderato, Trainee (Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship).
Emma Moderato has studied law, with a focus on criminal and procedural law, at Uppsala University. In 2016 she participated in the Human Rights Clinic, a collaboration between Civil Rights Defenders and the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University where students meet to advance their practical skills of human rights law and strategic litigation. She also has experience from several board assignments, for example working for the rights of crime victims. Furthermore, she has worked as a law clerk at the Malmö Administrative Court.

Communications Department

Yvonne Borg Nordlind, Director of Communications.
Yvonne holds an Executive MBA, concentration on Leading Innovation, from Stockholm School of Economics as well as a Communications- & Marketing degree from Berghs School of Communications in Stockholm. Yvonne started with Civil Rights Defenders in october 2017. She has a background within marketing & communications form several international corporations and has also been a part of developing several start-up companies within the it-industry. Yvonne also spent five years with Stockholm Stadsmission building their communications- and fundraising department.

Isabel Gustafsson, Communications Officer.
Isabel holds a BA in Politics focusing on Human Rights from Stockholm University, including International Relations studies at London Metropolitan University. Isabel has also studied journalism at Uppsala University and before joining Civil Rights Defenders she worked at the main local newspaper in Västerås (VLT), reporting for the web. She has previous experience interning with Amnesty International and Omvärlden magazine.

Louise Myrseth, Communications Officer.
Louise holds a B.A. in Global Studies, specialising in International Relations, from the University of Gothenburg. She is currently enrolled in a M.A. programme in Communication for Development at Malmö University. Louise has previously interned at UN Women and volunteered at several international organisations within the areas of digital communication and translation. Louise joined the communications department at Civil Rights Defenders in 2016.

Anna Pettersson, Project Manager Defenders’ Days.
Anna holds a M.S. in Global Studies from the University of Gothenburg and is currently enrolled in a LLM in Human Rights Law at the University of London International Programmes. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders in March 2017, she worked as a consultant in various projects at the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and LICADHO Canada, focusing on advocacy and digital security trainings for human rights defenders.

Mathias Antonsson, Project Manager Human Rights Innovation Initiative.
Mathias is a political scientist with a degree from Gothenburg University. He has previous experience from the UN, where he pioneered the organisation’s Twitter account. He also received a UN 21 Award for his project management skills. Mathias has worked for the Embassy of Sweden in Australia as well as for Sida and the organisation Ushahidi in Kenya. He was part of starting Making All Voices Count – a global Challenge Fund focusing on governance. Mathias also founded and manage Plurrify, a world leading podcast on innovation, social entrepreneurship and activism.

Fundraising Department

Anna Magnard, Development Director.
Anna holds a master’s degree in International Economics and Politics from Jönköping International Business School. Before joining Civil Rights Defenders in May 2017, Anna worked with Corporate and Major Donor Relations at SOS Children’s Villages Sweden for nine years. She has also worked for the French export council in Stockholm, Business France.

Mikael Ehrlington, Development Officer.
Mikael holds a BA in Marketing and Management from Stockholm University. After finishing his studies he worked as a consultant at Prime PR before moving on to Rippler Communications where he worked as planner and project manager within communications and corporate social responsibility. Mikael joined Civil Rights Defenders as a Development Officer in May 2015.

Alex Lange, International Development Officer.
Alex is a B.A. graduate of the University of Glasgow with a dual degree in Politics and Business & Management. He also holds a M.A. in Social Sciences with a focus on Political Theory from the University of Chicago. He has worked in Research and Operations for political campaigns in the United States, including the 2012 Presidential re-election campaign for Barack Obama and the 2015 campaign to re-elect Rahm Emanuel as Mayor of Chicago. He has also worked as a political analyst for JKL and as a communications consultant.

Gabrielle Gunneberg, Institutional Development Officer.
Gabrielle holds a MA in Political Science and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and Lund University. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders her last assignments were at CONCORD Sweden and at the World Bank, where she focused on development and human rights issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She has also worked extensively as a journalist and together with civil society organisations in South, Southeast and East Asia.

Finance Department

Karin Fritz, Chief Financial Officer.
Karin holds a Bachelor of Finance and Administration from Uppsala University, specialising in Accounting and Financials. She began her career as an auditor and subsequently held various positions as Head of Accounts and Financial Manager for several organisations. She joined Civil Rights Defenders as Chief Financial Officer in 2014.

Lena Fredriksson, Business Controller.
Lena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, specialising in Accounting and Financial Management, from Stockholm University. She previously ran her own business as a Consultant and worked as a Business Controller at the Red Cross. She also worked for several years at the Heart and Lung Foundation, where she focused on budgeting. Lena has worked as a Controller within the business sector and has years of experience in accounting. Lena joined Civil Rights Defenders Financial Department at the beginning of 2015.

Pia Dreborg, Office Assistant.
Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders in January 2016, Pia worked with customer support as a Marketing Assistant at Martin Olsson Cashar AB. She has many years of experience in administration and customer service and has held the position as Assistant for various companies.

Annika Melbing, Financial Assistant.
Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders, Annika worked as an financial assistant in the NCA Facility Services AB, where she started in 2010. In addition to accounts payable and accounts receivable she worked with the ISO audits of the company. Annika also has a ten years experience as a Facility Coordinator in CA Software, an US based IT company.

Human Rights Defenders at Risk Department

Peter Öholm, acting Programme Director.
Peter has previous experience working as a journalist during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was stationed in Makarska and Tuzla. He has also worked as a reporter at Arbetaren, Aftonbladet, TV4, Ekot SR and Stockholm News. Peter started at Civil Rights Defenders in 2004, first as a Programme Officer for the Western Balkans and then for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (now the Eurasia Dept).

Martin L. Fällman, Protection Officer.
Martin is an experienced Internet activist with a degree in Rhetoric from Södertörn University College in Stockholm County. Prior to this Martin worked with the Telecomix activist network during the Arab Spring to reinstate Internet connectivity in Egypt and reveal the surveillance equipment used in Tunisia and Syria. As a freelance trainer, he has taught Digital Security to journalists and activists from many parts of the world. Until recently he coordinated an anti-censorship project for the Swedish NGO Juliagruppen. Martin joined Civil Rights Defenders in June 2014.

Anh Helge, Programme Officer.
Anh holds a Master’s degrees in Marketing from Stockholm University. She has also studied Communication Management at University of Technology in Sydney and International Relations at Leeds University. Previously she managed a Russia human rights programme at the Swedish NGO Östgruppen. She has also worked at International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Swedish Institute and the UN. Anh started at Civil Rights Defenders in August 2017.

Zinaida Muradova, Programme Officer (on parental leave).
Zinaida holds a BA in Law, specialising in Human Rights from Moscow University and a Masters Degree in EU Law from Stockholm University. She has previously worked as a journalist in Armenia, covering legal and political issues. She has also worked with the EU Advisory Group under the pillar of Democracy and Human Rights, where she advised the Armenian Parliament on improving democratic structures in the country. Zinaida started at Civil Rights Defenders as an intern during the autumn 2013.

East and Horn of Africa Department

Mesfin Negash, Programme Director East and Horn of Africa.
Mesfin is a journalist by profession and graduated in Political Science and International Relations. He was a Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of a popular newspaper in Ethiopia. Later the government accused and sentenced him in a politically motivated trial for “supporting terrorism”. Human Rights Watch and the Swedish chapter of Reporters Without Borders awarded him prizes for his contribution to freedom of speech. Mesfin has also worked as a Communication and Program officer for local and international NGOs in Ethiopia. Continuing his journalism and human rights activism in exile, he joined Civil Rights Defenders first as a volunteer and then as a Programme Director in 2014.

Asia Department

For more information, please contact Asia@crd.org

Eurasia Department

Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director Eurasia.
Joanna has worked with human rights and journalism in the former Soviet Union since 2000. She has led the Eurasia department at Civil Rights Defenders since 2010. Both as Programme Director and in her previous role as Programme Officer at Civil Rights Defenders (2007-2010), Joanna focuses on supporting human rights defenders in repressive countries. Before joining the organisation she was a journalist serving as the Moscow correspondent for Sweden’s main news agency TT (Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå) (2003-2006). She holds a Master of Arts degree in History of Economics from Uppsala University, and has studied Journalism at Stockholm University.

Inna Bukshtynovich, Programme Officer.
Inna joined Civil Rights Defenders in 2011 to work on the Stockholm Process, a long-term initiative to strengthen human rights defenders in the North Caucasus. Inna has studied Economics, IT and International Development and worked at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on projects to support and strengthen democratic institutions in Eastern Europe between 2001 and 2009.

Cecilia Rosing, Programme Officer.
Cecilia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Russian and Eastern European studies and has studied both in Russia and France. Cecilia has experience working with asylum seekers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as at the Consulate General of Sweden in St Petersburg. She has also worked in the South Caucasus both for the EU-mission and the Swedish Foundation Kvinna till Kvinna. She started working for Civil Rights Defenders in April 2012 as Programme Officer for the Eurasia Department.

Ana Furtuna, Programme Officer.
Ana holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the State University of Moldova and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Academy of Public Administration. Prior to this she held the position of Executive Director for the Non-Discrimination Coalition (CND), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to strengthening equality and protecting against discrimination within Moldovan society. In 2011, she was part of the CND team lobbying for the adoption of the Law on ensuring equality and creation of the Council for preventing and eliminating discrimination and ensuring equality.

Muzaffar Suleymanov, Programme Officer.
Muzaffar holds a Master’s degree in International Peace Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica) and a Bachelor’s degree in International and Comparative Politics from the American University – Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). Muzaffar worked for almost 9 years as a Europe and Central Asia researcher with the Committee to Protect Journalists, the New York-based international press freedom group. At CPJ he was responsible for researching, documenting, and reporting on attacks against the press in Europe and Central Asia, including journalists’ arrests, beatings, and murders. He is also the author of numerous reports on press freedom conditions in the region and has advocated on behalf of individual journalists and new outlets before local and international government agencies.

Michael Runey, Programme Officer.
Michael holds an MA in International Development from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders, he managed the Caucasus regional office of Meydan TV, a Berlin-based Azerbaijani digital media outlet. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer at Transparency International Ukraine and supported US-Russia track-two diplomatic initiatives at the Eurasia Foundation in Washington, DC.

Lia Hen, Programme Administrator.
Lia holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from California State University, Sacramento and studied Development Studies at Uppsala University. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders Lia was an intern at the State Department in Washington D.C in the Eastern European Bureau for the Ukraine Desk where she documented human rights violations in the occupied territory of Donbas. Lia started as an intern in the Human Rights Defenders at Risk department working to further implement the Natalia Project in February 2017.

Latin America Department

Erik Jennische, Programme Director Latin America.
Erik holds a Master’s degree in Sociology specialising in democratisation processes. He has worked with democracy promotion in Latin America as well as the Balkans and Eastern Europe. From 2010-2013 he worked as a journalist in Brazil, and before joining Civil Rights Defenders in 2014 he was a researcher at Swedwatch.

María Pía Alvira, Programme Officer Latin America.
María Pía is an anthropologist with a master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratization. Previously she worked at the Office of the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights in the Presidency of Colombia, as the coordinator of the Nation-Territory group, and responsible for the human rights and peace culture trainings. She also has experience working with indigenous groups, vulnerable populations and civil organizations in conflict armed contexts.

Europe Department


Goran Miletic, Director for Europe.
Goran has a Master of Laws from Belgrade University and an MA from the European Regional Master on Democracy and Human Rights in Sarajevo. He began working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2004 as a Programme Officer for the Western Balkans. Today he is Director for Europe. Goran is stationed at our Regional Office for Europe in Belgrade.

Ivana Randjelovic, Senior Programme Officer for Europe.
Ivana holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Belgrade. She has more than ten years experience working with a number of international and local NGOs. For three years she worked as the Programme Officer for Serbia at Civil Rights Defenders. Ivana’s current position is the Senior Programme Officer for Europe.

Filip Perunicic, Financial Controller.
Filip has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, US where he also worked as a Graduate Assistant. He previously worked as a Finance Intern for Pro Credit Bank in Belgrade, Serbia, and as marketing trainee for L’Oreal Balkans. In 2013 he joined Civil Rights Defenders’ Europe team as a Financial Assistant.

Neda Zivanovic, Programme Officer
Neda completed her Bachelor and Master studies at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade in the field of international relations and human rights law. She has previously worked as a Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Political Sciences on Introduction to Law, Introduction to International Law and International Human Rights Law. She has extensive experience working in the field of regional cooperation and human rights in the Western Balkans within the civil society sector.

Damjan Zdravev, Programme Officer.
Damjan holds a master’s degree in conflict transformation and peace building from the Centre for Justice and Peacebuilding at the Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg Virginia. Damjan has more than ten years’ experience from the civil society sector in the Western Balkans, working on civil society development, civic engagement and gender equality.

Milos Stankovic, Regional Programme Assistant.
Milos is currently attending his final year at the Bachelor’s programme ”Human and Social Resources Management” at University of Belgrade. He has previous experience from human rights trainings and work against discrimination. Milos joined Civil Rights Defenders in 2016.

Marko Mihailovic, Regional Programme Assistant.
Besides working with Civil Rights Defenders, Marko is a student at the Bachelor’s programme “Digital Arts and New Media” at the Faculty of Media and Communications, University of Belgrade. He has also studied one year at the Law School of the University. Marko joined Civil Rights Defenders in 2016.

Najra Isakovic, Regional Programme Assistant.
Najra holds a MA in Psychology from University of Sarajevo. She has previous working experience from the field of human rights, administration and social research. Among other things, Najra has worked with marginalised groups, mainly related to the Roma community in Sarajevo as well as in Gazinatep, Turkey, where she worked with Syrian refugees. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders Najra was a research associate at the Center for Social Research in Sarajevo.


Sarah Maliqi, Programme Officer.
Sarah started working for Civil Rights Defenders in 2011. She is a Programme Officer, covering Kosovo and Macedonia. Sarah previously worked at the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Heartefact Fund and WUS Pristina. She studied law at Sarajevo and Pristina Universities.

Njomza Mala, Administrative and Project Assistant. (On parental leave)
Njomza holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics Management and is currently completing a Masters in Banking, Finances and Accounting at the University of Pristina. Prior to that she worked for the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce and HandiKOS – The Association of Paraplegics and Paralyzed Children of Kosovo. She joined Civil Rights Defenders as an Administrative and Project Assistant in June 2014.


Ena Bavcic, Programme Officer.
Ena holds a Masters in Human Rights and Democracy, and a Bachelor’s in Social Work. As a human rights defender, she has worked and acted within numerous NGO’s both in Bosnia & Herzegovina and abroad. Ena is the author of several documentary films. She started working for Civil Rights Defenders in April 2014 as an Administrative Assistant. In August 2014 she was appointed to the position of Programme Officer for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bojana Vasić, Project Assistant.
Bojana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo. In addition to working at Civil Rights Defenders, Bojana is currently in the process of finishing her Master’s programme in Security and Peace Studies at The Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo. She has previously worked as a journalist covering topics related to marginalised groups, mainly LGBT rights and women’s rights issues.


Vasilika Laci, Programme Officer.
Vasilika holds a degree in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Tirana and has a MA degree from the European Regional Master on Democracy and Human Rights in Sarajevo. Vasilika has previously worked with children’s rights for Terre des Hommes International Federation in Albania and for a woman’s rights organisation. In February 2012, Vasilika started at Civil Rights Defenders.

Deni Sanxhaku, Administrative and Project Assistant.
Deni holds a Masters in Finance and Accounting from the University of Tirana. Her previous experience involved an internship at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) in Albania. She has been actively involved in the civil society movement, volunteering at human rights and youth organisations in Albania and abroad. One of the projects she took part in was the European Volunteering Service, during which she worked for six months with a youth organisation in Sardinia, Italy.


Gerald Nagler, Honorary Chair of the Board Gerald is one of the founders of the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights. He was Secretary General of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) in Vienna from 1984 to 1992, and Chairman of the Swedish Helsinki Committee between 1992 and 2004.

Benedicte Berner, Media Analyst, (Chairperson of the Board).
Benedicte is a lecturer in media and democracy at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. She has also lectured on freedom of expression at Harvard University and is an Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. She has previously worked at the International Red Cross and IOM (International Organization for Migration) in Moscow, and as director of International Issues at the European Institute for the Media.

Anna Jonsson Cornell, Professor (Board Member).
Anna is a professor of comparative constitutional law and a lecturer in constitutional law at Uppsala University. She teaches constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, and security law. Her specialist areas include state-building processes, rule of law, rights protection, as well as international police cooperation and human trafficking.

Elisabeth Tamm, Director, Tax and Family Law, Bank of Åland (Board Member).
Elisabeth is a foundation expert and director of the Bank of Åland’s Trust Department. She is chair of the Board of the Alba Langenskiöld Foundation and the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital Foundation. She also serves on a number of other boards, including the H&M Foundation and the Erling Persson Family Foundation. Elisabeth Tamm holds an LLB and an MBA from Uppsala University.

Fredrik Andersson, Entrepreneur (Board Member).
Fredrik has extensive experience in strategic communications consultancy and entrepreneurship, both in Sweden and internationally. He also has a long track record in social issues, politics, and rights. Fredrik founded the Public Affairs Section at the PR agency Prime in 1998, where he worked for 14 years. He is a member of the Board of the Swedish MEDEA Award for dramatic arts and is also a founder of Miltton Labs, of which he is currently the CEO.

Carin Norberg, Chair of the Center for Economic and Social Rights and Chair of the Nordic Africa Research Network (Board Member).
Carin holds a master’s degree in political science from Uppsala University. She has extensive experience of working with Sida, where she was employed from 1971 to 2002. She has also worked as an advisor to the office of the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia in New York and was director of the Nordic Africa Institute during the period 2006–2012. Carin has also been an active member of several boards, including the Swedish Institute of Alexandria and TI Sverige.

Christoffer Lindblad, Country Manager at Alumni (Board Member).
Christoffer is the founder of and partner at Pelago, a prominent Nordic leadership services company. Christoffer was previously country manager (Sweden) and partner at Alumni, a leading company in executive recruitment and leadership development. He has a broad network in the Nordic business community and solid experience in board and executive recruitment for large international corporations and organisations. Christoffer has a law degree from the University of Lund and has previously worked for the law firm Mannheimer Swartling.

Lars Häggström, Executive in Residence, IMD Business School (Board Member).
Lars Häggström works at IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he lectures and researches in the field of leadership. Previously, Lars worked as Director of Human Resources at Nordea and at Stora Enso, a company active in the field of renewable materials. He has also worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and the United States. Lars has a degree in Behavioral Science and Economics from Uppsala University.

Election Committee

Amelie Silfverstolpe
Susanne Urwitz