Who and where we are
Our website is in seven languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Our regional researchers are based in Brazil, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Japan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Mexico, Senegal, South Africa, UK, Ukraine and USA. They draw global attention to the human rights impacts (positive and negative) of companies in their region, seek responses from companies when civil society raises concerns, and establish close contacts with grassroots NGOs, local businesspeople and others. We have offices in London and New York.
The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit: in the UK we are a registered Charity in England & Wales (no. 1096664). In the USA we are a tax-exempt non-profit organisation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Our Board are the guardians of the Resource Centre’s identity, and play a full role in strategy and the accountability of the management team. The Board is diverse and composed of activists, academics, ex-business people, and specialists. For a full list of board members, see here.
Phil Bloomer, Executive Director (based in London)
bloomer [at] business-humanrights.org @pbloomer
Phil became Executive Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in September 2013. Based at the Centre’s London headquarters, Phil is responsible for leading the global organization, delivering the mission and strategic priorities, and ensuring effective management of programme, personnel, finance, and administration.
Prior to joining the Resource Centre Phil was Director of Campaigns and Policy at Oxfam GB, where he was responsible for a team of 170 staff working across policy, advocacy, programme and campaigns. His team’s priorities were food justice, humanitarian protection and assistance in conflict zones, and the provision of essential health and education for all. Previously he was head of Oxfam International’s Make Trade Fair, and Access to Medicines campaigns.
Prior to joining Oxfam, Phil spent 11 years in Latin America and worked on human rights dimensions of business, including in food security, resource extraction; mega-projects; and business relations with public and private security in repressive environments.
Mauricio Lazala, Deputy Director (based in London)
lazala [at] business-humanrights.org
Mauricio, a Colombian & UK national, joined the Resource Centre in 2006. Until Feb. 2011 he served as Senior Researcher and Head of Latin America & Middle East. He oversees the Centre’s Latin America and Eastern Europe & Central Asia researchers, is involved in the production of briefings and research materials, and manages work streams such as the "Business, Conflict & Peace" project. Mauricio also co-ordinates joint initiatives with Resource Centre partners, and led the recent redevelopment of the Resource Centre's website.
Mauricio previously served as law clerk at International Criminal Court, Programme Manager at Mexican Commission for the Protection & Defence of Human Rights, and Outreach Coordinator at B'Tselem (Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories). Mauricio has published various articles on business & human rights. In 2014 he was invited to join the board of director at EIRIS – Empowering Responsible Investment. Mauricio has a Law degree (honours) from University of Cambridge, and a BA in Political Sciences and History from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is fluent in Spanish, English & Hebrew.
Gregory Tzeutschler Regaignon, Research Director (based in new York)
regaignon [at] business-humanrights.org @gregaignon
Gregory, a US and French national, joined the Resource Centre in 2003. He oversees the Centre’s research, its Corporate Legal Accountability Project and its work on the UN Guiding Principles and UN Working Group, and manages its Africa team. He helped establish the Centre’s presence in North America in 2003-04. His engagement with Tiffany & Co. about its sourcing of rubies from Burma was featured in a Financial Times article profiling the Centre’s work. He has participated in research missions for the Resource Centre to DRC, Guinea, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda and the US Gulf Coast. Greg was previously an associate at the international law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, where he focused on emerging market debt restructurings, and pro bono matters involving political asylum, domestic violence and other human rights issues. He also worked with Human Rights Watch in New York, National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, and Legal Aid Institute of Indonesia in Jakarta; and he conducted research on land rights & agricultural development in Senegal, the results of which he published in the Journal of African Law.
He obtained his JD (Stone Scholar) from Columbia Law School, where he also obtained his certificate from the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law; MA in African Studies & International Economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); and BA in Political Science magna cum laude from Amherst College. Greg’s mother tongue is English, he is fluent in French, and has basic proficiency in German, Indonesian & Spanish.
Annabel Short, Programme Director (based in New York)
short [at] business-humanrights.org @bellshort
Annabel, a UK national, joined the Resource Centre in 2003. She oversees the Centre’s programs and communications work (including on social media), manages its Asia and its Middle East researchers, and co-ordinates joint initiatives with Resource Centre partners. She established the Centre’s New York City office in 2007 where, among other events, she organizes the Centre’s annual Mary Robinson Speaker Series on Business and Human Rights. Annabel formerly worked in freelance journalism, and authored “Go Make a Difference!” a book of environmental tips, for the Ecologist. Her articles have appeared in Ethical Corporation, Geographical, the Guardian, Open Democracy, Resurgence and more.
From 2002-3 she was an environmental and social responsibility consultant with Context Group based in London where she specialized in corporate reporting and stakeholder engagement. She has lived in Lima, Peru where she was a campaigner with Amnesty International, and in Chile, where she taught English. Annabel has a Certificate in Intl. Human Rights Law & Practice from London School of Economics; MSc in Development Studies from London University (for which her dissertation examined the human rights dimensions of Occidental’s oil pipeline in Arauca, Colombia); Postgraduate Diploma in Periodical Journalism from City University; and an MA joint Honours in Spanish and French from Edinburgh University. Her mother tongue is English and she speaks fluent Spanish and strong French.
Aliou Diouf, Francophone Africa Researcher & Representative (based in Dakar)
diouf [at] business-humanrights.org
Aliou Diouf, a Senegalese national, joined the Resource Centre in 2009. He is responsible for research and outreach in Francophone Africa, including at meetings and conferences in the region. He has led research missions for the Resource Centre in Dem. Rep. of Congo, Guinea, Niger, and Senegal (Kédougou region). He is a lawyer and a human rights advocate. He previously worked as a legal advisor within Geneva for Human Rights; as a research project manager for the Domestic Violence Office in Geneva and as a social worker at a residential refugee centre in Geneva. Aliou also worked as legal intern for the Intl. Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and interned at the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
Aliou was educated at Graduate Institute of Intl. & Development Studies in Geneva where he obtained a PhD in Intl. Criminal & Humanitarian Law, and at Gdansk University where he earned a Master's (LLM) in Intl. Law & Human Rights Law. He also earned degrees in International Law from the University of Helsinki, the Geneva International Peace Research Institute (GIPRI) and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva. Aliou’s mother tongue is Serer, he is fluent in Wolof & French, and has strong Polish & English.
Joseph Kibugu, Eastern Africa Researcher & Representative (based in Nairobi)
kibugu [at] business-humanrights.org @joekibugu
Joseph Kibugu, a Kenyan national, joined the Resource Centre in January 2012. He has conducted research missions in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi. Joe worked at International Justice Mission in Kenya for over nine years, leading the organization’s work in Kenya addressing issues including gender-based violence, illegal detention, unprosecuted rape and murder, land seizure, and police accountability. Joe worked in Freetown as an intern at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Joe obtained his law degree from Univ. of Nairobi and has a Masters in International Human Rights Law from Univ. of Notre Dame, USA. One of Joe’s courses at Notre Dame was “Transnational Corporations and Human Rights” under Prof. Douglass Cassel. Joe has conducted business and human rights missions in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi, and has met Tanzanian civil society organisations working on business and human rights. He has also represented the Resource Centre at key regional and international business and human rights events. Joe is fluent in English and Swahili and is proficient in French.
Nokukhanya (Khanya) Mncwabe, Anglophone Southern & Western Africa Researcher & Representative (based in Cape Town)
mncwabe [at] business-humanrights.org @khanyobuhle
Khanya, a South African national, joined the Resource Centre in 2012 as Anglophone Southern & Western Africa Researcher & Representative, and has conducted research missions in South Africa. A human rights advocate with particular experience in the field of transitional justice, Khanya previously worked as senior researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, providing technical support to the African Union in its development of a Transitional Justice Policy Framework for Africa. Prior experience includes working as Regional Coordinator (Southern Africa), African Transitional Justice Research Network, project assistant at the Novalis Ubuntu Institute and facilitator at Wilgespruit Fellowship Centre. Khanya holds a BSocSci (Politics & Philosophy ) from the University of Cape Town and is currently working towards her LLB from from Univ. of South Africa. She has taken short courses on economic, social & cultural rights issues from Centre for Human Rights, Univ. of Pretoria, and Legal Resources Centre. Khanya is fluent in English, Zulu and Afrikaans, with some Setswana.
Lowell, a Hong Kong (Chinese) national, joined the Resource Centre in 2011. He is responsible for research and outreach in the Greater China region (including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), and has led research missions to Beijing, Taiwan, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Lowell formerly worked for UL-STR Responsible Sourcing; interned at Médecins Sans Frontières, and was a student delegate for Oxfam Youth Campaign Partners. He was educated at University of Nottingham (MA Corporate Social Responsibility) and University of Hong Kong (BSc Honours). His mother tongue is Cantonese, and is fluent in English and Mandarin.
Harpreet Kaur, South Asia Researcher & Representative (based in Delhi)
kaur [at] business-humanrights.org @hkaur0304
Harpreet, an Indian national, joined the Resource Centre in 2010. A human rights and development professional, Harpreet is responsible for research and outreach in South Asia. She has also conducted regional missions to Bangladesh, and organized a workshop on business and human rights in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. She has over a decade of experience in research and implementing projects in India addressing human rights, public health including HIV/AIDS, disaster management, women’s empowerment, and disability rights. She has previously held senior management positions at BBC Media Action and Panos South Asia. Previously, Harpreet has worked with organizations including Ford Foundation, Giz, SAI, Partners in Change, FHI 360, Actionaid India and Voluntary Action Network India.
Harpreet has a PhD and her dissertation focus was on Terrorism & Human Rights: a cross cultural study in Jammu & Kashmir. She has an MSc in Anthropology from University of Delhi, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Law from National Law School of India University, Bangalore. Harpreet is also an SA 8000 certified auditor. Harpreet's mother tongue is Punjabi, and she can speak Hindi and English fluently.
Bobbie Sta. Maria, Southeast Asia Researcher & Representative (based in Yangon)
stamaria [at] business-humanrights.org @bobbiestamaria
Bobbie, a Filipino national, joined the Resouce Centre in 2013. She is responsible for the Resource Centre’s coverage of Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2013 she conducted a research mission to Cambodia. Bobbie previously served as Southeast Asia Legal Coordinator of EarthRights International. In that role, she worked with advocates from the region to seek redress for corporate human rights and environmental abuses, and to engage regional mechanisms in an effort to promote the rule of law. Prior to working with EarthRights, Bobbie worked at Alternative Legal Assistance Center (SALIGAN) in the Philippines. Her work involved litigating land rights, environmental rights and domestic violence cases, advocating agrarian reform and gender policy laws, and training paralegals in rural areas in the Philippines. Bobbie has a degree in Business Administration & Accountancy and a Bachelor of Laws from University of the Philippines; and an MA in Human Rights and Democratisation from University of Sydney. She speaks Filipino and English, and is currently learning Myanmar.
Irene, an Italian national, first joined the Resource Centre in April 2011 as a Legal Research Intern. She will be responsible for the Resource Centre’s coverage of Southeast Asia over the next few months, covering for Bobbie Sta. Maria. Irene is currently a PhD candidate in Law (business & human rights) at Middlesex University, and was a Lecturer in International Human Rights Law at Regents University in London. She is working as an independent consultant on business and human rights for the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the International Trade Union Conferation (ITUC). Irene previously worked at ECPAT International in Bangkok, VSO International in Laos, Informal Sector Service in Nepal, at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica, and as a legal consultant for the private sector in Spain. Irene has an LLM Honours in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, a JD from University La Sapienza (Rome), and a law degree from the University of Barcelona. Irene is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, with some Portuguese, Thai and Lao.
Saul Takahashi, Japan, Korea, and the Pacific Islands Researcher & Representative (based in Tokyo) - Bio in Japanese
takahashi [at] business-humanrights.org
Saul Takahashi, Japanese national, joined the Resource Centre in June 2014 as the organisation’s first Regional Researcher and Representative for Japan, Korea, and the Pacific Islands. Saul is forging partnerships with local civil society organizations, companies, investors, journalists and government representatives, including those already active on business and human rights issues in the region, as well as other key drivers of change. He is highlighting under-reported cases and concerns, seeking company responses to alleged abuses, and conducting research missions.
Saul was most recently Deputy Head of Office at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in occupied Palestine, where he was responsible for directing the human rights monitoring operation in the West Bank and Gaza, and for capacity-building efforts for local civil society organizations and government agencies. Previously Saul has held positions with Amnesty International, in both Tokyo and the International Secretariat in London, with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the International Organisation for Migration. Saul holds an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex and has several academic and popular publications, in both English and Japanese.
Europe & Central Asia
Eniko Horvath, Western Europe Researcher & Representative (based in New York)
horvath [at] business-humanrights.org @enikohorvath
Eniko, a Hungarian national, joined the Resource Centre in 2011 as an intern and returned in 2012 as a Researcher. She is the Centre’s Western Europe & North America Regional Researcher & Representative, and has carried out research missions to Switzerland, Bolivia and Chile. Eniko’s programmatic work focuses on the UN Guiding Principles, the UN Working Group, and business impacts on children’s rights. She has carried out research missions for the Resource Centre in Bolivia, Chile and Switzerland. She has experience working on human rights in Argentina (Asociación Civil por la Responsabilidad Social AMARTYA), Hungary (International Centre for Democratic Transition), Spain (Club De Madrid) and the UK (Cluster Munition Coalition and Consortium for Street Children). Eniko holds a BA from Harvard University and an MPhil from University of Cambridge. For her master’s dissertation, she undertook fieldwork in Argentina on exploitation of Bolivian migrant workers in the clothing industry. Eniko is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Hungarian, with some Italian and Russian.
Danielle McMullan, Researcher (including Researcher on UK, Ireland and Israel & Occupied Palestinian Territories) (based in London)
mcmullan [at] business-humanrights.org
Danielle, a UK national, joined the Resource Centre in 2011 as a Researcher having previously been an intern. She is the main researcher for freedom of association and responsible for research and outreach in the UK & Ireland. She has also undertaken business and human rights missions to Israel and Palestine. Danielle is a human rights lawyer and her experience includes representing asylum seekers as a caseworker at Refugee & Migrant Justice. She has experience working with businesses on ethical and supply chain issues from her time at Business in the Community. She started her career at the law firm Mayer Brown where she was a solicitor in the litigation department. Danielle has an LLM (distinction) in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex. She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (distinction) from the College of Law College of Law and a LLB (Hons) from the University of Reading.
Isabel Ebert, Junior Consultant (German-language Researcher) (based in London)
ebert [at] business-humanrights.org
Isabel, a German national, has been working for the Resource Centre as a Junior Consultant (Research German contents) since October 2014. Prior to this, Isabel worked at the German Mission in South Africa, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, the Goethe Institut New York, and at a consultancy in Development Cooperation and Health. She holds a MA in International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies from Goethe-University Frankfurt and a BA in Politics and Management from University of Konstanz and Sciences Po Paris. Her academic research project focussed on the Kiobel and Apartheid litigation cases in the US under the Alien Torts Claim Act (MA thesis, Goethe-University of Frankfurt). Isabel speaks fluent German, English and French, with a good knowledge of Spanish and some basic Arabic.
Ella Skybenko, Eastern Europe/Central Asia Researcher & Representative (based in Kyiv)
skybenko [at] business-humanrights.org
Ella, a Ukrainian national, joined the Resource Centre in 2008. She is responsible for research and outreach in Eastern Europe & Central Asia, and has conducted regional missions to the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Ella formerly worked as HIV/AIDS program manager at Holt International Children’s Services and program coordinator at American International Health Alliance. Ella has a Postgraduate Certificate in Global Health from University of Manchester; degree in International Relations with specialization in International Law from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv; and MA in International Human Rights from University of Denver. Her mother tongues are Ukrainian and Russian. She speaks fluent English.
Julia Mello Neiva, Brazil, Portugal & Portuguese-speaking Africa Researcher & Representative (based in São Paulo)
neiva [at] business-humanrights.org
Julia is a Brazilian human rights laywer who has joined the Resource Centre in 2013. She is responsible for research and outreach in Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa, and has conducted regional missions to Belém and Rio de Janeiro. Julia taught human rights course in Angola, as consultant for Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa; assisted São Tomé & Principe Government with transparency laws, co-authored a research project coordinated by Intl. Commission of Jurists in partnership with Conectas Humans Rights: “Access to Justice: Human Rights Abuses Involving Corporations - Brazil”. She is one of the founding members of Conectas Human Rights, where she was Justice Program Coordinator. She has also worked with African American Policy Forum; Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic; and Center for Reproductive Rights. She co-taught the first academic course in Brazil on business & human rights, at Law School of Fundação Getulio Vargas, and is a member of the Human Rights and Business Group of the school. She was educated at Columbia Univ. School of Law (LLM, human rights focus); Univ. of São Paulo Law School (graduate specialisation in human rights); Pontifical Catholic Univ. of São Paulo (Bachelor of Law). Julia’s mother tongue is Portuguese. She is also fluent in English and Spanish, and has a good understanding of French.
Amanda Romero Medina, South America Researcher & Representative (based in Bogotá)
romero [at] business-humanrights.org
Amanda Romero, a Colombian national, has been working as Latin America & Caribbean Researcher & Representative for Business & Human Rights Resource Centre since April 2011 (in January 2015 her title changed to South America Researcher & Representative when we hired our first Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean Researcher & Representative). In this role she often meets with local NGOs and grassroots, and with companies. She has also undertaken business & human rights missions to Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and Argentina. She is based in Bogotá, Colombia, and has been a human rights researcher and educator since the late 1970s. She has worked with Latin American and international NGOs, and was the American Friends Service Committee’s Quaker International Affairs Representative for the Andean Region and Panama from 2000 to 2006; she also served for 6 years as a member of the civil society organizations’ committee that advised the United Nations Development Programme Administrator in New York. Amanda holds a PhD degree in Education and a Masters’ Degree in Educational and Social Development from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, Colombia; and has completed a number of specialised human rights courses, and on armed conflict and humanitarian law. Amanda’s mother tongue is Spanish and she is fluent in English.
Karen Hudlet, Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean Researcher & Representative (based in Mexico City)
hudlet [at] business-humanrights.org
Karen, a national of Mexico, joined the Resource Centre in 2015 as the organisation’s first Regional Researcher & Representative for Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean. Previously, Karen worked in human rights organisations in Mexico in the planning, management and evaluation of projects relating to ESCER (economic, social, cultural & environmental rights) and indigenous rights. She also worked with the grassroots movement of Mayan beekeepers who are resisting the planting of transgenic soybeans that affect their livelihoods. Karen has conducted research on human rights issues, rural development and gender issues. Karen received a BA in international relations and an MSc in international development studies from the University of Utrecht. She did her academic fieldwork in northern Tanzania on the impact of luxury residential complexes and floriculture companies on small peasants. Her mother tongue is Spanish, she is fluent in English, and has a good level of French.
Farah Ismail, Middle East Researcher & Representative (based in Amman)
ismail [at] business-humanrights.org
Farah Ismail, a Jordanian national based in Amman, joined the Resource Centre in November 2014 as Middle East and North Africa Researcher & Representative. She is a human rights advocate with particular experience in the field of migrant and refugee rights under international law. Farah previously worked as a research assistant at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo. She was an active volunteer for six years in the refugee camps of Jordan working with refugee children. She has done two internships, one with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Amman, focusing on human trafficking in Jordan, and one in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Refugee Law Training Unit in Cairo. Farah has an MA in Migration and Refugee Studies from the American University in Cairo. Her mother tongue is Arabic and she speaks fluent English.
Corporate Accountability & Communications
Joe Bardwell, Corporate Accountability & Communications Officer (based in London)
bardwell [at] business-humanrights.org @JosephBardwell
Joe, a UK national, joined the Resource Centre in 2014. He collaborates with our researchers around the world to pursue adequate accountability and remedy for victims of human rights abuse, and works to increase media and social media coverage of the Resource Centre’s work. Joe previously worked at ESCR-Net’s Corporate Accountability Working Group, where he was involved in communications for the campaign for a binding treaty on business and human rights. Prior to this, Joe investigated human rights violations as a Legal Trainee and Legal Researcher at the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights; researched the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin; and worked as an adviser on disability and mental health issues, and the UK Equality Act. Joe holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights and a BA in Criminology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Corporate Legal Accountability Project
Sif Thorgeirsson, Manager, Corporate Legal Accountability Project (based in Washington DC)
thorgeirsson [at] business-humanrights.org
Sif, a national of Iceland and USA, joined the Resource Centre in 2006. She oversees the Centre’s Corporate Legal Accountability Project. Sif is a US-trained lawyer and prior to joining the Resource Centre she was a Researcher at Yale Law School on international human rights issues (including business & human rights). She was an associate at Troutman Sanders law firm in Washington, DC, where her practice focused on project development and finance in the energy sector, international law and corporate law. Sif received her law degree from George Washington University Law School. While studying law, Sif worked as a research assistant to international law Professor Ralph Steinhardt, working on subjects including human rights and corporate responsibility. Sif attended the Oxford University Summer Programme in International Human Rights Law. She received her BA in History and Political Science from McGill University in Canada. Sif is fluent in English & Icelandic, with good Spanish & French.
Elodie Aba, Legal Researcher (based in London)
aba [at] business-humanrights.org
Elodie, a French national, joined the Resource Centre in January 2013. She conducts research for the Corporate Legal Accountability project as well as on other business and human rights issues. Elodie is a human rights lawyer and legal translator. She was a research assistant at the One World Trust and previously worked at Handicap International UK. She also interned at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and International Service for Human Rights. Elodie has a Master of Laws (LL.M) from the University of Melbourne; a law degree in International and European Law from University of Paris XI; a degree of legal translator from Institut Supérieur d’Interprétation et de Traduction (ISIT). Her mother tongue is French and she speaks fluent English and some Spanish.
Development, finance and program support
Lee Rodwell, Development Director – UK/Europe (based in London)
rodwell [at] business-humanrights.org
Lee, a UK national, joined the Resource Centre as the organization’s first Development Director for the UK and Europe in 2013. Lee works with Patricia Surak in the US office on stewardship of all donations to the Resource Centre and identification of new sources of funding in the UK & Europe. Lee is a former Director of Development at the Art Fund and at Liberty (the UK’s National Council for Civil Liberties), former Head of Grants, Trust and Foundations at the Serpentine Gallery, and previously Trust Fundraising Manager at UK-based charities Sightsavers and Whizz-Kidz. He has provided advice on fundraising, membership and governance to a diverse range of charities, arts organisations and membership bodies, and is a Trustee of new music charity NMC. Lee has a BA in Philosophy & Politics and an MA in Political Theory from the University of Essex; his mother tongue is English with some French and Spanish.
Patricia Surak, Development Director - North America (based in New York)
surak [at] business-humanrights.org
Patty, a US national, joined the Resource Centre in 2009 as the organization’s first Development Director. She has helped to diversify the Centre’s funding sources, increase the number of donors worldwide, and build the US board. Patty works closely with the Development Director - UK/Europe to manage current funding relationships and to seek financial support to enable the Resource Centre to expand its work. Prior to managing her own fundraising consulting business for several years, Patty was the Director of Development at a local senior care facility in New Rochelle, NY, where she oversaw a capital campaign which raised over $6 million to build a nursing and rehabilitation center.
From 2001-2005, Patty was the Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), where she and her team managed relationships with over 600 foundation and corporate supporters and grew the revenue from this sector six-fold. Patty was previously the director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Catholic Relief Services in their world headquarters in Baltimore, MD. While at CRS she traveled to projects in Guatemala, Turkey, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Bosnia, in most locations providing technical assistance and fundraising training to CRS field staff to help with capacity building of local independent NGOs. Patty’s academic and research projects included work on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the U.S., Canada, & Mexico and on the effects of welfare reform on poor and low-income Pennsylvania residents. Patty earned her Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was awarded the Ruth Smalley Award for Outstanding Achievements in International Social Welfare, and her B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Lakshmi Samarakoon, Finance Officer (based in London)
samarakoon [at] business-humanrights.org
Lakshmi, a UK national, joined the Resource Centre in January 2011. She manages the day-to-day finances of the organization, centralises the finance function and provides input for funding reports, applications, budgets and audit. She previously worker as a financial accountant and finance systems implementation manager, where she worked mostly for private companies in a variety of industry sectors such as IT (Abraxus Computers), transport (TFL), engineering (High-Point Rendel), health (Harmoni Group Ltd). She was also a trustee of a small arts charity based in the UK: A.S.I.A. (Academy of South Indian Arts). Lakshmi was educated at Imperial College, London University (B(Eng) Hons Civil Engineering) and is an ACCA Affiliate (ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
Alex Janczenia, Office Administrator & Programme Support (based in London)
janczenia [at] business-humanrights.org
Alex Janczenia, a UK national, was appointed in January 2015 as the Resource Centre’s Office Administrator and Programme Support. She manages the daily running of the London office, coordinates recruitments, supports dissemination & outreach efforts, maintains contact management systems, and assists with copy editing and regular updating of our website. Alex previously worked as the fundraising and communications coordinator for Street Kids International UK, before which she held an internship position with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) supporting their private sector fundraising service. Alex has a BA in Politics & Modern History, and an MA in Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her mother tongue is English, and she also has some French and German.
Founder & Former Director
Chris, a UK/US national, founded Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in 2002 and was Director until he retired in September 2013. He is a former Legal Adviser and Deputy Head of Research Department, Amnesty International - International Secretariat. He authored Business and Human Rights in a Time of Change, a 108-page report published by Amnesty International UK in 2000. Chris was educated at Columbia Univ. School of Law (LLM); Univ. of California, Davis, School of Law (JD Order of the Coif); Stanford Univ. (BA Honours).
Current Research Interns
Oct 2014 - 2015: Nicole Marifé Helwig (based in St. John's, NL, Canada)
Nicole, a Canadian national, joined the Resource Centre as a volunteer in 2014. She focuses on monitoring business and human rights issues in Malaysia and Indonesia. Nicole previously served as Programme Director of the Malaysian Child Resource Institute in Kuala Lumpur where she coordinated advocacy activities of Child Rights Coalition Malaysia. A graduate from McGill University (Bachelor of Arts-Distinction, Montreal, Canada), Nicole also holds an MBA from the University of Strathclyde (UK - Malaysian International Centre). She is a contributor to the book Responsible Management in Asia: Perspectives on CSR and recipient of a UBS Global Financial Services Scholarship for CSR Asia Reporting and Communications training. She is a member of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network, and Migration Working Group (Malaysia). Nicole is bilingual in English and French. She also speaks Hungarian and some Spanish, and is learning Malay and Tagalog. Currently she is taking a break from full-time work for maternity leave.
Dec 2014 – Jun 2015: Hugo Chow (based in London)
Hugo, a Hong Kong (Chinese) national, joined the Resource Centre in December 2014 as a General Research Intern. He is currently studying MSc Human Rights at London School of Economics and Political Science. He previously studied Government and Public administrations at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and on a half-year exchange programme at Leibniz Universität Hannover for German language. He interned in the Intellectual Property team of Hogan Lovells (Hong Kong) LLP for six months and worked part-time for the Dui Hua Foundation for three months as a Project Translator in 2014 before commencing his studies in London. He volunteered in Ivory Coast for a month during summer 2013 with a Catholic Organization and was an active member of the Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong Catholic Diocese. He speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and English fluently, attains an intermediate level of German and is currently learning French.
Dec 2014 – May 2015: Rachel Tang (based in London)
Rachel, a Hong Kong (Chinese) national, joined the Research Centre as a research intern with a focus on the Greater China region and Japan in December 2014. She is an undergraduate Law student in her final year of study at SOAS, University of London. She has recently acted as a legal observer on behalf of Liberty for the Trade Union Congress “Britain Needs a Pay Rise” march in October 2014. She also previously volunteered at Liberty, where she supported the Operations and Development teams and assisted with various public events, including the “Day of Action” in June 2014 by the Don’t Spy On Us coalition. Prior to this she interned at Des Voeux Chambers, Hong Kong. Rachel is fluent in English, Cantonese and Japanese and has a good command of Mandarin and Spanish.
Dec 2014 – Jun 2015: Sonia Hierzig (based in London)
Sonia, a Luxembourgish national, joined the Resource Centre as a General Research Intern in December 2014. She studied Politics and International Studies at the University of Exeter and Development Management at the Open University. She previously volunteered as a Social Policy Coordinator at the Citizens Advice Bureau Cornwall, where she took part in various local and national campaigns. She also completed an internship at the Embassy of Luxembourg in Abu Dhabi, during which she wrote reports about the human rights situation in the UAE. Sonia is fluent in Luxembourgish, German, French and English and speaks some Spanish. She is currently studying Human Rights at the London School of Economics.
Nov 2014 – May 2015: Claire Jeffery (based in London)
Claire, a British national, joined the Resource Centre as a Legal Research Intern in November 2014. Claire qualified as a solicitor in March 2014, having trained with Slaughter and May, in London, and BA-HR DA, in Oslo. She has recently been a Legal Intern with Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), carrying out research into the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and working on a project to address the impunity of war criminals visiting the UK, through the application of universal jurisdiction. Previously, Claire interned for the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) in Ramallah, and the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) in Jerusalem. Claire currently sits on the executive committee for Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) in the UK and is a member of Lawyers in Business and Human Rights. She has a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Oxford University and is now studying for an LLM in International Law at SOAS University, London. Her current studies focus on the effects of multinational enterprises on human rights and labour law.
Click on the link above to see a list of our former team members & research Interns.
Volunteer IT adviser
- Toby Rubenstein (based in London)