Global Human Rights Defence

Gender equality in political life: a story of success or a failure in the 21st century?
Women Power and Politics. Photo Source : Aslan Media/Flickr, 2020.

Author: Idil Igdir

Department: Women’s Rights Team

Introduction

 The term “gender equality” refers to the state of equal access to resources and opportunities, regardless of the gender of the person concerned. This broad expression can be interpreted as the participation of any person in the unlimited sector, from the economy to decision-making. However, despite the clarity and brevity of the definition, the world has not yet fully grasped the term itself. We still continue to live in a system where most areas are predominantly male. In this context, the term “gender equality” is only seen by the world as a problem of “gender” and “equality” in the shadow of the patriarchal world order.

 The presence of women in many sectors has always been challenging and sometimes even impossible. When it comes to politics, or as it is mentioned in decision making, the level of harshness and obstacles have reached a level that can be said to be nearly impossible to overcome. Nevertheless, women are resilient, and from the 1910s, women have begun to appear in high-level positions in political life. Having said that, when we look at the first modern female leaders, we see that the first female President was elected only in 1980.[1] That’s just 42 years ago.

 Below are the names of the first women who succeeded in politics throughout history: [2]

  1. Yevgenia Bosh: the modern world’s first female leader of a national republican government, as she served as the Minister of Interior and the Acting Leader of the People’s Secretariat of Ukraine in the Ukrainian People’s Republic of Soviets from 1917-1918.
  2. Khertek Anchimaa-Toka: the first-ever woman who was elected as the head of State in the world in 1940, even though Tuvan People’s Republic remains unrecognised and now defunct.
  3. Sirimavo Bandaranaike: the first woman to be democratically elected as the Prime Minister of a country, Ceylon, today’s Sri Lanka, in 1960.
  4. Isabel Perón: the first woman to serve as President, in Argentina in 1974, after serving as a vice-president, then succeeding to the presidency.
  5. Vigdís Finnbogadóttir: the first woman elected President of a country, in Iceland, in

Women in decision-making in today’s world

 According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the proportion of women in national parliaments was 26.1 percent worldwide in 2021, while this ratio was 11 percent in 1995. Considering that there has been an increase of 15.1 percent in 26 years, that is to say an increase of less than 0.6 on average each year, we see that women still face obstacles globally and a democratic order has not yet been established for all without discrimination.

 Notwithstanding that each country has different national laws and policies, as of March 2022, there are only 27 women serving as Head of State and/or government in the world. Moreover, with only 21 percent of government ministers today being women, the ultimate goal of having gender equality in this position seems impossible to achieve before 2077, given the level of progress, which is an annual increase of only 0.52 percent (UN Women Facts and Figures, 2021).

 Therefore, while the world expects women from modern-developed countries to have 50 percent or more seats in Parliament, none of the top five countries that achieve this statistic are in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Nordic countries. According to IPU Parline, the global data on national parliaments, the best countries for gender equality in national parliaments today are Rwanda (61.3 percent in the lower chamber), Cuba (53.4 percent), Nicaragua (50.6 percent), Mexico (50 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (50 percent).[3]

Level of progress of women’s presence in politics in different cultures of the world

  1. European Union (EU)

 At the European level, as of January 2021, 38 percent of the MPs are female (Elgersma, 2021). A very promising rate for women in the European Union in today’s conditions. However, the EU does not have a very bright history with regard to the presence of women in European politics and institutions. Ursula von der Leyen, the current President of the European Commission, is the first woman to hold this position since the inception of the institution in 1958. Moreover, in the case of EU heads of government, the incidence of women has, so far, not exceeded 14 percent, meaning there have never been more than four women occupying high positions at the same time (Elgersma, 2021).

 Nevertheless, in 2022, there have been changes when it comes to policy towards women. As of 2021, Stella Ronner-Grubacic from the Netherlands became the first EU Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, while in 2022, Roberta Metsola from Malta was elected President of the European Parliament, being the youngest President of the European Parliament (EU Diplomacy #Women4Multilateralism, 2022).

  1. 2. United States of America (USA)

 An impressive development has recently taken place in the United States, with 145 women currently sitting in Congress – 121 in the House and 24 in the Senate – representing approximately 27 percent of the legislative branch. Despite this low rate, this figure represents a historic number for the USA. On the other hand, according to the Capital Canary Report of February 25, 2022, only nine out of 50 State governors are women in the country.

 Moreover, on January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history by becoming not only the first female Vice President of the United States but also the first Black and first Asian-American Vice President.

  1. Hungary

 On March 10, 2022, another history was written as the Hungarian Parliament elected the country’s first female President, Katalin Novak. She, later on, stated that “it is because I am a woman, and not despite of it, that I want to be a good president of Hungary” (ALJAZEERA, 2022).

  1. United Kingdom (UK)

 According to the latest figures on House of Commons Library, the United Kingdom has set its own record by having 35 percent of women MPs in the House of Commons – therefore 225 women out of 650 MPs – in 2022. Since November 21, 1918, “the Parliament Act (Qualification Women)”, 559 women were elected to the House of Commons, which means that in 104 years, 55 percent of these women were first elected in the Labour Party and 31 percent for the Conservatives. In addition, six ministers are currently women in the UK Cabinet, 27 percent (Watson & Uberoi & Mutebi & Bolton & Tunnicliffe & Danechi, 2022)

  1. Turkey

 With a history of being one of the first countries to give women the right to vote and be elected, in 1934, Turkey could not go further throughout its history, especially with the rise of sexism and discriminatory policy against women. The country had only one woman Prime Minister in 1993 with Tansu Çiller. And the first female minister in the Turkish government was Turkan Akyol in 1971, as Minister of Health and Social Security. Moreover, the only woman to have served as interior minister was Meral Aksener, the current leader of the Good Party in Turkey, in 1996. Thus, in total, since the first woman minister in 1971, there have been only 25 women ministers in Turkey.

 According to 2020 figures, the proportion of women in the Assembly is 17.29 percent, compared to 9.1 percent in 2007. Also, there is currently only one woman serving as a minister in the Presidential Cabinet.

  1. Israel

 Israel has not been a country that gives many opportunities for women to serve in government. Golda Meir became the only woman to serve as Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, and later, along with Tzipi Livni, became the first and only woman to also serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Hence, according to the Israel Democracy Institute on March 8, 2021, women in Israel make up less than 30 percent of the entire Knesset (Israel’s legislative body, as the country has an unicameral parliamentary system).

 On the other hand, on January 24, 2021, Merav Michaeli was elected head of the Labour Party in Israel. Five months later, on June 13, 2021, she was appointed as Minister of Transport and Road Safety in the Bennet government.

  1. China

 One hundred years after the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, women remain in the shadows and therefore underrepresented. In July 2021, it was recorded that among all delegates to the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, and members of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s “highest political advisory body”, only about a fifth were women. Furthermore, unfortunately, not once since the Party took power in 1949 has a woman been appointed to China’s highest political office.

  1. MENA Region (Middle East and North Africa)

 The MENA region, which covers 19 countries[4], has the lowest female representation in the world, according to the latest IPU figures. In the 2021 elections in the region, the result was surprising for everyone. While the world was waiting for an improvement in the presence of women in politics, the outcome of this election gave us the opposite. The representation of women, who hold 16.9 percent of the parliamentary seats in the region, decreased by 0.9 percent compared to a year ago.

Masculinising Politics with Old Stereotypes

 Equal participation in politics refers to equal opportunity for individuals, regardless of their gender, to play a crucial role in decision making or in leading the country’s policy. However, barriers have been placed in front of women with countless and endless labels. Over the years, as the world of decision-making and politics has become a male-dominated field, certain old-fashioned and sexist labels have begun to be attached to women. This, in turn, has led to stereotypes of female politicians being overly soft, emotional, sensitive, superficial, and inadequate compared to naturally fit male politicians.

 Women, who were judged by their physical appearance to the tone of their voice, were pushed to masculinise themselves in order to take their place, or rather survive, in this male-dominated order. Thus, women run the risk of being stigmatised as “feminists”, as if it were a pejorative term, if they expose the sexist culture they are subjected to or are too critical of men’s behavior. Such pressures and criticisms on women can have a significant negative impact on their political professional life and even on their leadership (Elgersma, 2021).

 Furthermore, in a study conducted in 2010 by the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School, it was shown that “when participants saw female politicians as power-seeking, they saw them as having less communality (being unsupportive and uncaring)”, but on the other hand, “when participants saw male politicians as power-seeking, they saw them as having greater agency (being more assertive, stronger, and tougher) and greater competence”, a perception that women politicians seeking power cannot have.

 As it is not enough, the bias and discriminations that women all around the world have to face are not a rate that we can underestimate. From sexual harassment to the hostile environment, women but especially, women of color are facing even greater obstacles.

 In addition, although more and more women are taking their rightful place in the decision-making power game in international politics, female politicians continue to face sexism and even disrespectful treatments from their male counterparts. Former Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, who can be called “the Woman” or “World’s most powerful woman”, has been exposed to unacceptable treatment, from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Former US President George W. Bush in her time. To give a concrete example, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought his large, unleashed dog to the meeting, knowing that Angela Merkel was afraid of dogs. Moreover, US President G. W. Bush even dared to give her a shoulder massage without asking for her consent (Semenova & Evdokimova, 2021).

 Not long ago, in April 2021, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen faced the inadmissible and disgraceful attitude from the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when she was left without a chair during a meeting with the president.

 In an article entitled “Why do we still distrust women leaders?” by Christine Ro in 2021, she revealed that “only 38 percent in Japan were comfortable with the idea of a female head of government or a CEO of a major company”.

Essential Roles and Effects of Political Parties

 Political parties are the “gatekeepers” when it comes to gender equality in political life. As they remain as major entities for the representation of the people, their agenda and policy towards women are much more decisive and effective than one might think. Yet, according to the latest figures, political parties are male-dominated, with 85.8 percent of men in leading positions. This ratio reflects the parties’ reluctance to tackle the problem of inequality. Additionally, based on research conducted in 18 Latin American countries in 2019, a significant lack of initiatives to tackle the issue of gender equality, both within the party and in politics, was determined ([5]).

 On the other hand, some countries, like Rwanda, enforce certain laws, such as gender quotas for political parties. Currently, Rwandan law requires that the composition of leadership structures at all levels of political parties include a minimum of 30 percent of women ([6]). Thus, introducing a quota or parity law on the nomination or formation of the parties’ national executive committees showed a tangible and significant increase in the fight against gender equality ([7]).

Conclusion 

 As Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Justice of the US Supreme Court said: “women belong in all the places where decisions are being made”. Despite the fact that the world has moved from advocating for women’s suffrage to discussing gender equality in political life, the hurdles are still ahead of women. The objective has never been and will never be to achieve a proportion of 30 percent women in the political field but an absolute equality. Therefore, normalising the presence of women at all levels of politics, in other words, overcoming the fact that women should be seen as “special” when they come to the same position as any man, is the most important goal in this field.

 Therefore, if we have to answer the question of whether the 21st century has been a success or a failure when it comes to gender equality in political life, the answer would be resoundingly negative. The world still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality in politics. 

 

Bibliography :  

BBC. (2021, January 20). Kamala Harris becomes first female, first black and first Asian-American VP. BBC News. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55738741

Christine Ro. (2020, January 19). Why do we still distrust women leaders. BBC. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210108-why-do-we-still-distrust-women-leaders

Christopher Watson & Elise Uberoi & Natasha Mutebi & Paul Bolton & Richard Tunnicliffe & Shadi Danechi. (2022, March 4). Women in Politics and Public Life. House of Common Library, UK Parliament. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01250/

(2022, February 25). Could Be a Big Year for Women in Politics. Capitol Canary. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://capitolcanary.com/blog/2022-could-be-a-big-year-for-women-in-politics/

Daniel Boffey. (2021, April 7). Ursula von der Leyen snubbed in chair gaffe at EU-Erdoğan talks. The Guardian. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/07/ursula-von-der-leyen-snubbed-in-chair-gaffe-at-eu-erdogan-talks

Dr. Assaf Shapira & Prof. Ofer Kenig Avital Friedman. (2022, March 8). Women’s Representation in the Knesset and the Government: An Overview. The Israel Democracy Institute. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://en.idi.org.il/articles/34024

Elin Hofverberg. (2020, July 30). Vigdís Finnbogadóttir: The World’s First Female Elected President. Library of Congress. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2020/07/vigds-finnbogadttir-the-worlds-first-female-elected-president/

#Envision2030 Goal 5: Gender Equality. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030-goal5.html

(2021, January 15). Facts and figures: Women’s leadership and political participation. UN Women. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation/facts-and-figures

Gabrielle Debinski. (2021, December 22). Women in politics whose names you should know in 2022. Gzero. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.gzeromedia.com/women-in-politics-whose-names-you-should-know-in-2022

Greg James. (2021, July 1). Why there are so few women in Chinese politics. SupChina. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://supchina.com/2021/07/01/why-there-are-so-few-women-in-chinese-politics/

(2022, March 10). Hungary elects Katalin Novak, first-ever female president. ALJAZEERA. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/10/hungary-elects-katalin-novak-first-ever-woman-president

International IDEA Technical Paper 1/2021. (2021, October). The Role of Political Parties on Women’s Participation and Representation. The Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.idea.int/sites/default/files/publications/the-role-of-political-parties-on-womens-participation-and-representaion-en.pdf

IPU Parline. Monthly ranking of women in national parliaments. Global data on national parliaments. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://data.ipu.org/women-ranking?month=2&year=2022

Janina Semenova & Oxana Evdokimova. (2021, September 25). Germany’s Angela Merkel: What has she achieved for women. DW Made for minds. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-angela-merkel-what-has-she-achieved-for-women/a-59308030

(2020, January). List of elected and appointed female Heads of State and government. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_elected_and_appointed_female_heads_of_state_and_government#:~:text=The%20first%20woman%20elected%20president,and%200%20days%20in%20office

Press Releases. (2022, March 3). New IPU report: more women in parliament and more countries with gender parity. Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.ipu.org/news/press-releases/2022-03/new-ipu-report-more-women-in-parliament-and-more-countries-with-gender-parity

Research & Data. Barriers & Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership. AAUW. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/barrier-bias/

Rosamund Shreeves with Nessa Boland. (2021, March). Women in politics in the EU State of play. European Parliamentary Research Service. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/689345/EPRS_BRI(2021)689345_EN.pdf

Sally Dray. (2021, March 23). Global gender equality in political life. House of Lords Library. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/global-gender-equality-in-political-life/

Stella Elgersma. (2021, July 30). WOMEN IN POLITICS. Eyes on Europe. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://www.eyes-on-europe.eu/women-in-politics/

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Tyler G. Okimoto & Victoria L Brescoll. (2010, June). When female politicians are perceived to be power-seeking, voters react negatively with feelings of moral outrage. Harvard Kennedy School: Woman and Public Policy Program, Gender Action Portal. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from https://gap.hks.harvard.edu/price-power-power-seeking-and-backlash-against-female-politicians

[1] Vigdís Finnbogadóttir: The World’s First Female Elected President, Library of Congress.

[2] List of elected and appointed female Heads of State and government, Wikipedia.

[3] IPU Parline Global data on national parliaments, February 1, 2022.

[4] Middle East and North Africa (MENA), The World Bank.

[5]The Role of Political Parties on Women’s Participation and Representation, Paper1/2021, page5

[6] The Role of Political Parties on Women’s Participation and Representation, Paper1/2021, page5

[7] The Role of Political Parties on Women’s Participation and Representation, Paper1/2021, page5

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Kenza Mena
Team Coordinator -China

Kenza Mena has expertise in international criminal law since she is currently pursuing a last-year Master’s degree in International Criminal Justice at Paris II Panthéon-Assas and obtained with honors cum laude an LLM in International and Transnational Criminal Law from the University of Amsterdam. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in French and Anglo-American law. 

Since September 2021, she has been the coordinator of Team China at GHRD, a country where violations of human rights, even international crimes, are frequently perpetrated by representatives of the State. Within Team China, awareness is also raised on discrimination that Chinese women and minorities in the country and, more generally, Chinese people around the world are facing.

Kenza believes that the primary key step to tackle atrocities perpetrated around the world is advocacy and promotion of human rights.

Aimilina Sarafi
Pakistan Coordinator

Aimilina Sarafi holds a Bachelor’s degree cum laude in International Relations and Organisations from Leiden University and is currently pursuing a Double Legal Master’s degree (LLM) in Public International Law and International Criminal Law at the University of Amsterdam.
She is an active advocate for the human rights of all peoples in her community and is passionate about creating a better world for future generations. Aimilina is the coordinator for the GHRD team of Pakistan, in which human rights violations of minority communities in Pakistan are investigated and legally evaluated based on international human rights legal standards.
Her team is working on raising awareness on the plight of minority communities such as women, children, religious and ethnic minorities within Pakistan.

Lukas Mitidieri
Coordinator & Head Researcher- Bangladesh

Lucas Mitidieri is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). As the GHRD Bangladesh Team Coordinator, he advocates for human rights and monitors violations across all minorities and marginalized groups in Bangladesh. Lucas believes that the fight for International Human Rights is the key to a world with better social justice and greater equality.

Nicole Hutchinson
Editorial Team Lead

Nicole has an MSc in International Development Studies with a focus on migration. She is passionate about promoting human rights and fighting poverty through advocacy and empowering human choice. Nicole believes that even the simplest social justice efforts, when properly nurtured, can bring about radical and positive change worldwide.

Gabriela Johannen
Coordinator & Head Researcher – India

Gabriela Johannen is a lawyer admitted to the German bar and holds extensive knowledge in the fields of human rights, refugee law, and international law. After working for various courts and law firms in her home country, she decided to obtain an LL.M. degree from Utrecht University where she studied Public International Law with a special focus on Human Rights. Additionally, while working as a pro-bono legal advisor for refugees, she expanded her knowledge in the fields of refugee law and migration.

Gabriela is the coordinator and head researcher for GHRD India, a country, she has had a personal connection with since childhood. Her primary focus is to raise awareness for the severe human rights violations against minorities and marginalized groups that continue to occur on a daily basis in India. By emphasizing the happenings and educating the general public, she hopes to create a better world for future generations.

João Victor
Coordinator & Head Researcher – International Justice

João Victor is a young Brazilian lawyer who leads our team of International Justice and Human Rights. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and possesses over 5 years of experience in dealing with Human Rights and International Law issues both in Brazil and internationally, including the protection of refugees’ rights and the strengthening of accountability measures against torture crimes.

João has an extensive research engagement with subjects related to International Justice in general, and more specifically with the study of the jurisprudence of Human Rights Courts regarding the rise of populist and anti-terrorist measures taken by national governments. He is also interested in the different impacts that new technologies may provoke on the maintenance of Human Rights online, and how enforcing the due diligence rules among private technology companies might secure these rights against gross Human Rights violations.

Célinne Bodinger
Environment and Human Rights Coordinator

As the Environment and Human Rights Coordinator, Célinne is passionate about the health of our planet and every life on it.

Angela Roncetti
Team Coordinator and Head Researcher- South America

Angela holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Vitória Law School (FDV) in Brazil. Her research combines more than five years of experience conducting debates and studies on the rights of homeless people, the elderly, children, and refugees. Besides that, she also volunteers in a social project called Sou Diferente (I am Different in English), where she coordinates and takes part in actions aimed at the assistance and the emancipation of vulnerable groups in the cities of the metropolitan area of Espírito Santo state (Brazil).

Lina Borchardt
Team Head (Promotions)
(Europe)

She is currently heading the Promotions Team and University Chapter of Global Human Rights Defence. Her background is the one of European and International Law, which I am studying in The Hague. She has previously gained experience at Women´s Rights organizations in Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey over the past years.
She has been working for Global Human Rights Defence in the Netherlands since 2020. Her focus now is concentrated on the Human Rights and Minorities Film Festival and the cooperation of GHRD with students across the country.

Pedro Ivo Oliveira
Team Coordinator and Researcher
(Africa)

Pedro holds an extensive background in Human Rights, especially in Global Health, LGBTQ+ issues, and HIV and AIDS. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Affairs at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Moreover, he successfully attended the Bilingual Summer School in Human Rights Education promoted by the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Association of Universities of the Montevideo Group. Besides, Pedro Ivo has a diversified professional background, collecting experiences in many NGOs and projects.

With outstanding leadership abilities, in 2021, Pedro Ivo was the Secretary-General of the 22nd edition of the biggest UN Model in Latin America: the MINIONU. Fluent in Portuguese, English, and Spanish, Pedro Ivo is the Team Coordinator and Head Researcher of the Team Africa at Global Human Rights Defence. Hence, his focus is to empower his team from many parts of the world about the Human Rights Situation in the African continent, meanwhile having a humanized approach.

Alessandro Cosmo
GHRD Youth Ambassador
(European Union)

Alessandro Cosmo obtained his B.A. with Honors from Leiden University College where he studied International Law with a minor in Social and Business Entrepreneurship. He is currently pursuing an LL.M. in Public International Law at Utrecht University with a specialization in Conflict and Security. 
As GHRD’s E.U. Youth Ambassador, Alessandro’s two main focuses are to broaden the Defence’s reach within E.U. institutions and political parties, as well as mediate relations between human rights organizations abroad seeking European funding. 
Alessandro believes that human rights advocacy requires grass-roots initiatives where victims’ voices are amplified and not paraphrased or spoken for. He will therefore act on this agenda when representing Global Human Rights Defence domestically and abroad

Veronica Delgado
Team Coordinator and Researcher- Japan, Sri Lanka & Tibet

Veronica is a Colombian lawyer who leads our team of Japan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. She holds a master’s degree in Public International Law from Utrecht University. She has experience in Colombian law firms. Here she represented clients before constitutional courts. She also outlined legal concepts to state entities such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ombudsman’s Office on international law issues.

Veronica has an extensive research background with subjects related to public international law. She worked as an assistant researcher for more than two years for the Externado University of Colombia. Here she undertook in-depth research on constitutional, business, and human rights law issues. She was involved with consultancy services with the Colombian Army regarding transitional justice. 

Wiktoria Walczyk
Coordinator & Head Researcher (Nepal & Indonesia)

Wiktoria Walczyk has joined GHRD in June 2020 as a legal intern. She is currently coordinator and head researcher of Team Nepal and Indonesia. She has an extensive legal knowledge concerning international human rights and is passionate about children’s and minorities’ rights. Wiktoria has obtained her LL.B. in International & European Law and she specialised in Public International Law & Human Rights at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Moreover, she is pursuing her LL.M. in International & European Law and focusing on Modern Human Rights Law specialisation at the University of Wroclaw in Poland. In order to gain an essential legal experience, Wiktoria has also joined Credit Suisse’s 2021 General Counsel Graduate First Program where she is conducting her legal training and discovering the banking world. She would like to make a significant impact when it comes to the protection of fundamental human rights around the world, especially with regard to child labour. 

Fairuz Sewbaks
Coordinator and Head Researcher
(Africa)​

Fairuz Sewbaks holds extensive legal knowledge regarding international human rights, with a specific focus on human rights dealings taking place in continental Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Hague University in public international law and international human rights and successfully followed advanced human rights courses at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. She furthermore participated in the Istanbul Summer School where she was educated about the role of epidemics and pandemics in light of human rights.

 

Fairuz is the coordinator and head researcher for GHRD Africa. Her primary focus is to establish and coordinate long-term research projects regarding the differentiating human rights dealings of vulnerable and marginalized groups in continental Africa, as well as conducting individual research projects.

Priya Lachmansingh
Coordinator and Head Researcher, Political Advisor
(Asia & America)

Priya Lachmansingh is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International & European
Law at the Hague University of Applied Science.
As GHRD’s Asia & America human rights coordinator and GHRD Political Advisor, Priya’s
prominent focus is to highlight human rights violations targeted against minority and
marginalized groups in Asia and America and to broaden GHRD reach within Dutch political
parties and as well seek domestic funding.

Jasmann Chatwal
Team Coordinator & Head Coordinator: North America

Jasmann is a political science student at Leiden University who joined GHRD in May 2021 as an intern in team Pakistan. Now, she is the team coordinator for North America and is responsible for coordinating the documentation of human rights violations in USA, Canada, and America.