Our mission and team

Founded in 2003, EHRAC works with partners in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine, to challenge serious human rights abuses before the European Court of Human Rights and international mechanisms.

Our mission

We are experts in international human rights law and international mechanisms.

We support and collaborate with human rights defenders in Ukraine and the South Caucasus to litigate ground-breaking strategic cases to secure justice and challenge impunity. Together we identify systemic abuses and respond to urgent threats to civil society and marginalised communities.

Through joint litigation, advocacy and exchange of expertise, we support our partner lawyers to maintain momentum on these issues even in the most challenging circumstances. Our sustained and holistic commitment results in a more resilient human rights community, improving human rights standards and preventing future abuses.

Our goals

  1. Through our solidarity and expert legal support, HRDs and lawyers have increased skills, capacity and resilience to challenge human rights abuses.
  2. Through our trauma-informed litigation applicants’ voices are heard and barriers to justice challenged, leading to increased access to justice for vulnerable and persecuted communities.
  3. Through our creative and rigorous litigation, national and international precedents are set, leading to increased national protection and raised international human rights standards.

Our values

We are RESPECTFUL in our attitude: we listen and learn from our team, our partners, our applicants, and our peers in the region

We demonstrate SOLIDARITY and EQUITY in our partnerships:  we exchange expertise and collaborate flexibly in response to the challenging environments in which our partners operate

We act with INTEGRITY in our decision making:  we ensure that we work accountably and ethically, within our expertise and according to the principle of ‘do no harm’

We are INNOVATIVE in our approach: we bring a bold and creative approach to our work whether in pushing the boundaries in our cutting-edge litigation or in problem solving the programmatic challenges in our region.

Our team

Our Advisory Board

EHRAC’s work is overseen by an Advisory Board whose members are: Samantha Knights KC, Dr. Chaloka Beyani, Professor Joshua Castellino, Simon Erskine, Mervyn Fletcher, Luke Harding and Natalia Prilutskaya.

Samantha is a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers specialising in the areas of immigration, public and commercial law. She has been instructed on a number of high profile and test cases in her specialist areas and appears regularly in the higher courts in England and Wales. She regularly speaks at seminars and has published widely in her areas including a monograph entitled Freedom of Religion, Minorities and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2007). She has assisted EHRAC in a large number of cases raising issues under the ECHR. Samantha is a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee.

Chaloka Beyani is Associate Professor in International Law in the Law Department, a member of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and former Chair of its Advisory Board, and a member of the Centre for Climate Change at LSE. He is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and served as Chairperson of the United Nations Special Procedures Coordinating Committee 2013-2014. In addition to teaching at several universities, Chaloka has advised a number of international bodies on issues pertaining to human rights and refugees. In Kenya, he sat on the committee to draft and prepare the National Constitution, and has served as an expert to the African Union. He has also drafted and negotiated 11 peace treaties. He is currently a member of the UK Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights and a member of the Steering Board of the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Sexual Violence against women in armed conflict.

Joshua Castellino is Executive Director of Minority Rights Group International and Professor of International & Comparative Law at the University of Derby, United Kingdom. He founded the School of Law at Middlesex University, London (2012), serving as Dean until stepping down to move to MRG in 2018. He holds visiting academic positions at the College of Europe (Poland), University of Oxford (UK), and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, (Republic of Ireland), and serves pro bono on governing boards of civil society organisations in Germany, India, Netherlands, Hungary and UK. Born and brought up in Mumbai, he worked as a journalist for Indian Express Group in the 1990s, before winning a Chevening Scholarship and completing his PhD in International Law in 1998. He has published eight books and over a hundred articles on international law & human rights, including the Minority Rights Series published by Oxford University Press. He engages with questions of minority and indigenous peoples’ rights at inter-governmental, parliamentary, apex courts, bar associations, civil society organisations and universities in over fifty countries. He was Chair of the 8th Forum on Minority Issues (2015), an inter-governmental dialogue with civil society under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

After graduating from King’s College, Cambridge, Simon worked for three years as the administrator of a homelessness charity before training as a chartered accountant with Arthur Young. In 1982 he established his own accountancy practice working for the voluntary sector. This merged with a similar practice which in turn merged with MHA MacIntyre Hudson in July 2011 where Simon became National Charities Technical Partner. Up to his retirement in September 2016 his clients included Greenpeace UK, Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties), CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), Refugee Action and a number of other charities and voluntary groups. Simon still advises charities on a freelance basis. He actively supports a range of charities and campaigning groups, particularly in the fields of the environment, international development and human rights. He was the Treasurer, and a trustee, of Freedom from Torture (formerly the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture) for 25 years to 2014.

For many years, Mervyn was a BBC News editor and producer. He started his BBC career as a television news producer, before being part of the small team that set-up BBC News Online in the mid 1990s. He was output editor of the ‘World At One’ on BBC Radio 4. His BBC career included covering many international stories and undertaking investigative journalism. More recently he transformed how Save the Children conducts its global communications by setting up, and being Head of, its Global Media Unit. He is currently Head of News at Save the Children. Mervyn joined UNICEF in Indonesia in 2005 to manage its communications and external relations in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami. He progressed to be UNICEF’s regional communication manager in eastern Europe and former Soviet Union territories, working and travelling extensively across this region. It included managing communication and external relations during many crises, including the Russia/Georgia war, Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and anti-vaccination campaigns in the Balkans. He also managed UNICEF’s communications and external relations in Colombo, in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war. Mervyn has an MMus in Jazz Performance from the Guildhall School of Music (London), and a BA (Hons) in History from Manchester University.

Luke Harding is a journalist, writer and award-winning correspondent with The Guardian. He has reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine. Between 2007 and 2011 he was the Guardian’s Moscow bureau chief. The Kremlin expelled him from the country in the first case of its kind since the Cold War. His book “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man” was published in February 2014 by Guardian Faber, and Oliver Stone bought the film rights later that year. Luke is the author of three previous non-fiction books. They are “The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken” (1997), nominated for the Orwell Prize; and “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” (2011), both written with David Leigh. The screen rights to Wikileaks were sold to Hollywood and the film, “The Fifth Estate”, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl, came out in 2013. “Mafia State: How One Reporter Became an Enemy of the Brutal New Russia” appeared in 2011. His books have been translated into 20 languages.

Natalia Prilutskaya has worked as a lawyer, law lecturer, campaigner and researcher. Her interests focus on human rights, including social rights and the position of older people no longer protected by being within the work force, freedom of expression and assembly, and the protection of human rights defenders. She has published several articles on human rights issues. She graduated from the Law faculty of Tomsk State University and holds an LLM (Distinction) in Human Rights from London Metropolitan University. During her time at London Met, Natalia undertook an internship with EHRAC and participated in several of our training seminars for lawyers and human rights activists, as both a trainee and a trainer. Natalia has worked as a Campaigner and is currently working as a Researcher for Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office.

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EHRAC at Middlesex University

EHRAC has been based at the School of Law, Middlesex University, since 2013. We benefit from being situated in the University, and the opportunity to collaborate with leading experts in international and human rights law.