Students Staff

Graduate profiles

Our graduates follow a wide variety of career paths after leaving Essex. These profiles give you an idea of just some of the options open to you.

Human rights graduates tell their stories

LLM graduates

  • Tofig F Musayev, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Tofig Musayev

    Current position: Deputy Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations
    Location: New York
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights, 2003-04

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    My professional and academic activities have always been linked with international law and human rights. When I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan in 1993, I served as Desk Officer in the Legal Department's Human Rights Division. Between 1997 and 2001, I held various positions in the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations at Geneva, where I was in charge for human rights and humanitarian issues.

    On return to Baku, I served as Deputy Director of the International Law and Treaties Department and Head of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan between 2001 and 2004. During this period, I have been closely involved in the country's accession to international and regional human rights instruments and in the process of reporting on their implementation before the relevant treaty monitoring bodies. I also acted as representative of Azerbaijan to the European Committee on Legal Cooperation and national liaison officer for Azerbaijan in relation to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and in 2001 was elected as Vice-President of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban, 2001).

    What have you done since completing your studies at Essex?

    Since completing my studies at Essex, I returned to Baku and was appointed the Director of the Foreign Policy Planning and Strategic Studies Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan (2004-2008). In 2008, I received new assignment to work as Deputy Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the United Nations. The study at Essex has greatly contributed to my subsequent professional and academic activities, especially during Azerbaijan's non-permanent membership of the Security Council and my responsibilities as deputy representative between 2012-2013 (or number 2 in the hierarchy of officers in the delegation).

    I was also elected as Vice-Chair of Twenty-eighth Meeting of States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (New York, 2009), Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (New York, 2011) and Rapporteur of the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (New York, 2013-2014). Over the period passed since my studies at Essex, I have been invited to speak in leading universities and think tanks, such as the New York University, Georgetown University, Georgetown Foundation, Vienna Diplomatic Academy, The Netherlands Institute of International Relations "Clingendael", Atlantic Council, Center for Strategic and International Studies, European Policy Center etc.


    I am the author of several books, publications and articles on international legal issues, all of them written since completing my studies at Essex. The most recent book, which I had the pleasure to co-edit, is entitled The Republic of Azerbaijan in the United Nations Security Council 2012-2013, published in New York in 2014. Among my researches are also articles published in Italy, Poland, Russia and UAE, as well as issued as documents of the United Nations. I have also contributed to drafting of several reports on the legal aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict written by professors Malcom N. Shaw and Yoram Dinstein. I acted as Azerbaijan's legal counsel at public hearings of ICJ's advisory opinion proceedings on Kosovo (2009), as well as contributed to Azerbaijan's submissions on two cases in the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Biljana Kotevska, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Bilijana Kotevska

    Current position: Program Director and Researcher, Human Rights Program, Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’, Skopje, Macedonia
    Location: Macedonia
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 2011-12

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    I got my love for the law from my father, and the drive to speak out against injustice and to see every person as a human being, and not through ethnic or other lenses, from my mother. My understanding of the importance to educate myself came from both of them. My specific interest in Human Rights came from my desire to understand the things that were happening at the time when I was a child, and to understand the events in the country where I was born and in the region. I was born in Macedonia which at that time was part of Yugoslavia.

    Thinking back about growing up as a child in Yugoslavia, I remember that my family always had enough food, clothes, enough for visits to the doctor, for travelling on holidays and weekends; my parents would very often for no reason get toys, comic and painting books for my brother and me... I had just started primary school when this secure and happy world of mine started to fall apart. All of a sudden on the TV news I could see pictures and reports about a war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia which I knew as places that are part of my own country. At about the same time, money problems and people losing jobs became the talk of the day for my parents and for their friends; they no longer discussed where our families will meet for a picnic next weekend, but what is happening to their relatives and friends in the war areas, who bought which company in what I later learned was called “privatisation of state capital”, how many people lost their jobs, how we no longer can make ends meet, etc.

    I couldn’t understand how this could have happened; how was it possible that the Yugoslav 'brotherhood and unity' turned into a bloody war, how was it possible that my parents and other people that went to work and had regular jobs no longer had enough money for anything? All of a sudden everything became too violent, too expensive, too insecure, too unjust, and unhappy. I was fifteen when I got even more puzzled by another issue - what was happening in Serbia and Kosovo. How could a state oppress its own citizens, and how could the only solution be to bomb Serbia in not just military targets but also civilian targets, and to even bomb a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees in whose name they allegedly undertook the action?

    Hundreds of people fled to Macedonia, and images of refugees and refugee camps were all over the news. Wasn’t there something that could be done for all of these injustices, wrongdoings and massive crimes? How can a state do more to protect the people? Can other states do something about this? Can I do something about this? How did nationalism, ethnic belonging, power, political parties, the economy and businesses, and everything else became more important than the security and dignity of the human beings, and how can this destructive trend be stopped and/or reversed? Studying, understanding and working on Human Rights issues was the only way that I could get to the bottom of these issues, and how I could do something to change things for the better, even if just a little.


    My studies at Essex could not have been possible without the generous support and full scholarship which I received from the Chevening Program of the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office, for which I am endlessly grateful.

    What have you done since completing your studies at Essex?

    • January 2011 – present: Country Expert (Macedonia), European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field
    • November 2010 – present (study leave October 2011 – October 2012): Program Director and Researcher, Human Rights Program, Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’, Skopje, Macedonia
    • September – October 2012: National Expert (Age Discrimination), OSCE – SMMS
    • March– October 2013: National Expert on Equality and Non-discrimination (Discrimination Grounds), OSCE – SMMS, Commission for Protection Against Discrimination (national equality body), Macedonia
    • June – December 2013: MIPEX National Expert/ Researcher (for the strands Anti-discrimination, Political Participation, Access to Nationality and Long-term Residence)
    • January 2014: Consultant - Expert in International Human Rights Law (Human Rights Concept for the Police for the Ministry of Interior, Macedonia), Council of Europe
    • January – February 2014: Legal Consultant (on international Human Rights standards and equality and non-discrimination in relation to the right to health for Roma), Roma S.O.S., Prilep, Macedonia

    Issues, campaigns, reports

    • Equality and non-discrimination
    • Minority rights
    • Economic, social and cultural rights
    • National Human Rights Institutions
    • Advancing international and national Human Rights standards
    • European Convention on Human Rights

    Within Studiorum’s Human Rights program, I initiated the publishing of a series of Human Rights Reviews and Case Comments. I am very thankful to Professor Paul Hunt, Essex professor, for reviewing the first Human Rights Review on the Option Protocol of the ICESCR. We also regularly submit contributions on global consultations or reports on Human Rights monitoring processes, such as the consultations for the first two General Comments on the ICRPD, the European Commission’s consultations on the gender balance on executive boards which we did together with other Essex alumni, Alexandra Rose, Cynthia D’Cruz and Lilia Petrosyan, as well as a UPR report.



    • Guide on Discrimination Grounds. Skopje: OSCE Mission in Skopje and Commission for Protection against Discrimination.
    • Country Report on Measures to Combat Discrimination (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC) – Macedonia 2012. European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Non-discrimination.
    • X and Others v Austria. Studiorum Case Comment No.2/2013. Skopje: CRPRC ‘Studiorum’.
    • Protocols 15 and 16 to the European Convention on Human Rights No.2/2013. Studiorum Human Rights Review No.2/2013. Skopje: Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’.
    • Horvath and Kiss v Hungary. Studiorum Case Comment No.1/2013. Skopje: Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’.
    • The Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Studiorum Human Rights Review No.1/2013. Skopje: Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’.


    • National Human Rights Institutions in Macedonia: Normative Models and Challenges. Background Study. Skopje: Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’.
    • Kotevska, B. and Nikolovski D., Case Study of Four National Human Rights Institutions. Journal of European Issues ‘Evrodijalog’ Vol 16: 183-199. Skopje: CRPRC Studiorum.
    • Country Report on Measures to Combat Discrimination (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC) – Macedonia 2011. European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Non-discrimination.
    • Kotevska, B. and Novakova, K., Effective Political Participation of Smaller Ethnic Communities in Local Self-Government in Macedonia after the Ohrid Framework Agreement. Journal of European Issues ‘Evrodijalog’ Vol 15: 213-235. Skopje: CRPRC Studiorum.


    • Country Report on Measures to Combat Discrimination (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC) – Macedonia 2010. European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Non-discrimination.
    • Chronology of Security Sector Reform 1991 -2009. In: “Context Analysis of the Security Sector Reform in Macedonia 1991 – 2008”. Skopje: Analytica.
    • Effective Political Participation of Small(er) Ethnic Communities in Local Self-Government in Macedonia: Impact of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. Background Study. Skopje: Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’.
    • “Review Essay: Of boundaries and crossover points for religion, state and society in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe”. Journal Southeastern Europe 35 (2011):245–250.
    • Milevska – Kostova, N. and Kotevska, B. Macedonia: Education vis a vis Unemployment – a Way out of Poverty?. Journal for Labour and Social Affairs in Eastern Europe, 2011 (Issue 2).
    • Milevska – Kostova, N. and Kotevska, B. Macedonia: Education vis a vis Unemployment – a Way out of Poverty?. In: Bejakovic, P. (Ed.). “Equity vs. Efficiency: Possibilities to lessen the trade-off in social, employment and education policy in South-East Europe”. Sofia: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.


    • How can Macedonia keep pace with European standards for prevention and protection against discrimination. Policy Briefs Series. Skopje: Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation ‘Studiorum’.
    • “How to Stop Pretending and Start Cooperating: Impact of the European Union on Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans - focus on Migration”. Politicka Misla 31:37-48. ICDSC and KAS, Skopje.


    • Rise of the Executive: The Legislative vs. the Executive in Transition Processes in Poland and Bulgaria [Подем на извршната власт: рамнотежа помеѓу законодавната и извршната власт во транзиционите процеси во Полска и Бугарија]. Journal of European Issues ‘Evrodijalog’ Vol 12:103-28. Skopje: CRPRC Studiorum.
    • Policy Report. “Ending Ghettoisation of the Western Balkans – Visa Liberalisation Prospects”, Skopje: Analytica.


    • Policy Brief. “Macedonia and the Western Balkans Awaiting the 2008 EU Progress Reports: Back to Basics”. Skopje: Analytica.
    • “Book Review: The Foreign Policy of the European Union, Stephan Keukeleire and Jennifer Macnaughtan”, Western Balkans Security Observer (October – December 2008, No. 11), Belgrade School for Security Studies: Belgrade, Serbia.

  • Louise Finer, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Louise Finer

    Current position: Senior Policy Officer and National Preventive Mechanism Coordinator
    Location: Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, London, UK
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 2006-7

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    It's hard to say! I had a sense of the importance of 'taking a stand' from an early age, and was subliminally inspired by the progressive role my grandparents’ generation played in pushing for fairness, justice and equality in society.

    My professional route into human rights was not the most obvious – I studied English literature as an undergraduate. That made me yearn for practical work and so soon after graduating I flew to Peru where I spent four inspiring years gathering experience - first of all working on a rural development project with guinea pig farmers, then with local human rights organisations and Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    Those years gave me a privileged insight into the sensitivities and complexities of human rights work in Peru, and the incredible people I worked with remain an inspiration to me to this day. I returned home to take up a place at Essex, I felt I needed a solid academic base if I was to take my human rights work any further.

    What have you done since your studies at Essex?

    • 2013 – present: Two roles; policy and human rights advice to inform inspection of detention in the UK, contributing to parliamentary and policy processes relating to treatment and conditions of detainees; coordination of the UK’s National Preventive Mechanism (which is made up of 20 member institutions) to ensure prevention of torture and ill treatment in all places of detention in line with OPCAT mandate.
    • 2011–12: Director of Global Advocacy, Center for Reproductive Rights, New York. Led advocacy for stronger international standards on reproductive rights.
    • 2008–11: Researcher, International Secretariat, Amnesty International. Led Amnesty International’s research and advocacy on Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
    • 2007–08: Senior Research Officer, Right to Health Unit, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. Supported the UN Special Rapporteur on Health with primary focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

    Issues, campaigns and reports

    • Campaign with the Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa indigenous communities in Paraguay for implementation of Inter American Court of Human Rights judgments requiring return of their ancestral lands (for Amnesty International).
    • UN advocacy (at the Human Rights Council, and with other mechanisms) to push for recognition and understanding of maternal mortality as a human rights issue (for CRR, in collaboration with WHO, UNFPA and others).
    • Coordinated efforts to encourage the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to draft a progressive General Comment on sexual and reproductive health and rights.


    • Finer L and Fine J. Abortion Law Around the World: Progress and Pushback. American Journal of Public Health 2013;103:585-589.
    • The right to the highest attainable standard of health in Oxford Textbook of Public Health (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009). Lead drafter, co-author with Paul Hunt and others.
    • Conscientious Objection: Protecting Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (University of Essex, 2008). Peer-reviewed monograph, co-author with Judith Bueno de Mesquita.
    • Time for Change: Access to information on reproductive and sexual health in Peru, (ARTICLE 19: London, 2005). Joint editor of publication and author of empirical study.
    • Al Otro Lado de la Libertad: Testimonios de Mujeres en Cárcel [On the other side of freedom: Statements of Women in Prison], (Aprodeh: Lima, Peru, 2002). Contributor and joint editor.

  • Karen A. Moir, LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

    Karen A. Moir

    Current position: Visiting Research Fellow, UNRISD
    Location: Geneva, Switzerland
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, 2011-12

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    Trying to find alternative solutions to chronic development challenges led me to explore human rights.

    What have you done since your studies at Essex?

    After graduating from Essex, I worked with the UNDP’s policy section in New York. Just over I year later, I took on a Visiting Research Fellowship with UNRISD to advance the research that I began at Essex – human rights and future generations, within the context of sustainable development.

    Issues, campaigns and reports

    • My research was nominated for an Innovating Justice Award by The Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of law.
    • I have participated in/co-chaired relevant conferences with UNEP, UNDESA and the World Future Council.


    • I am currently working on a series of articles about human rights, future generations and the extractive sector. My dissertation is available on SSRN.
    • I have contributed a couple of posts to the Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog.

  • Dr Suzannah Linton, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Dr Suzannah Linton

    Current position: Professor of International Law, Bangor Law School, Bangor University
    Location: Wales, UK
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 1997-8

    Years ago, deeply affected by working in the Balkans during the war, I enrolled on the LLM at Essex. I hoped to equip myself to do more about improving the condition of the human person in armed conflict. I emerged greatly inspired, intellectually enriched, with improved skills and with my horizons vastly broadened. The programme took me beyond my passion for the International Law of Armed Conflict and International Criminal Law, into Peacekeeping, International Refugee Law and International Human Rights Law.

    The complexities and contradictions of the world of International Law and International Relations made more sense. I had the feeling that we students, through the passion and groundbreaking work of our legendary gurus Nigel Rodley, Francoise Hampson, the late great Kevin Boyle and the other gifted teachers, had front row seats watching the evolution of law and policy that would improve human existence around the world. Studying at Essex opened doors to the world that I wanted to be a part of.

  • Mohammad Abuharthieh, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Mohammad Abuharthieh

    Current position: United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 1993-4

    My experience at Essex has been a rewarding one, even after 18 years of my graduation, followed by other university degrees, I believe that it’s still the main reason for my success, in that we were not only learning the concepts, theories and methodologies incorporated in human rights law, but we were given real-life experiences to apply those concepts that we have learned in the classroom from each professor or lecturer brought with them, which was also unique.

    Each professor's genuine compassion for the student's progression allows one to excel in a small environment and become a name rather than a number. That experience has given me a competitive advantage when applying for any job. Additionally, in order to help you determine what you truly want to do in this field that you are best suited for, they encouraged us to participate in an internship; therefore, you have already gained a strong experience base before you have completed the degree. My internship at that time was at the same place of my present work, which I joint 10 years later, which was called at that time the United Nations, Human Rights Centre.

    I continue to be an active human rights defender and currently work for UN-OHCHR in the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch in the Research and Right to Development Division. I am the focal point for the Universal Periodic Review. I served as a human rights officer for security policies, particularly on human rights and counter terrorism, fulfilling the High Commissioner’s Mandate given to her by the UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council or her general mandate, in this area.

    Domestically, I lead different human rights non-governmental organisations. I worked between 2003-2007 as a Human Rights Officer in the OHCHR – Occupied Palestinian Territory and Nepal Offices. I contributed in providing technical assistance and human rights capacity building to the security forces, senior officials, NGOs and the judiciary in those countries. From 1987 – 2003 I served as the General Director of a number of human rights NGOs working in Palestine, including Al-Haq, Jurists Coalition for Human Rights, Defence for Children International/Joint legal aid programme. I also worked with the NGOs – the Palestine Human Rights Information Centre, Arab Thought Forum and the Democracy and Workers Rights Centre. I was an active member of many international NGOs, including the World Organisation against Torture and the Habitat International Coalition. Occasionally I taught courses in international human rights law. I have authored and co-authored several articles and book chapters.

    The education that I have received has left a lasting impression, which I will carry throughout my career in the human rights legal world. I have had a very good experience with Essex because it gave me an unconditional service. Personally, I recommend this program to all students who wish to continue their academic studies in LLM, in International Human Rights Law, because they offer an excellent, personalized and very genuine support. Today, I am working now in the United Nations at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, thanks to this program and I am doing excellent! The amount of successful former graduates of the LLM that I either worked with or met is a testimony in itself to the success of this program.

  • Michael Duttweiler, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Current position: Associate Legal Officer, Office of the Prosecutor (Appeals Division), ICTY
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 2005

    Studying at Essex is no walk in the park - but who would want to twiddle their thumbs in the intoxicating atmosphere of this great knowledge hub of the human rights world…! The teachers - most of them living legends - are academically brilliant and have a good understanding of the practical application of the law.

    While I did have previous knowledge of human rights and humanitarian law, a couple of weeks into the programme I realised I had barely scratched the surface. So to speak, Essex turned me from a human rights enthusiast into a professional. The programme equips students with the necessary knowledge and network to go out there as someone to be reckoned with in the field of human rights.

  • Ugur Erdal, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Current position: Lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights since 2000
    Studied at Essex: LLB, 1999 and LLM International Human Rights Law, 2001

    I have been very lucky and privileged to have been taught at Essex by the best academics in human rights law. They (Professors Kevin Boyle, Geoff Gilbert, Françoise Hampson, Douwe Korff, Sheldon Leader and Sir Nigel Rodley) generously shared with us students their unparalleled practical experience gained through their work in the field.

    This meant that we always had real-life cases to which our academic knowledge could be applied. Acquiring the ability to apply theory to practice has put me in good stead for my career at the Court in Strasbourg.

  • Matt Pollard, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Matt Pollard

    Current position: Senior Legal Adviser, Amnesty International
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 2005

    Completing the LLM in International Human Rights Law at Essex was a key step for me in converting my national legal career into an international one. International human rights employers were not interested in my experience as a constitutional lawyer in Canada unless I could connect it to proven knowledge of international human rights and humanitarian law, and the relevant international institutions.

    Essex gave me that proven knowledge. In the seven years after I completed the LLM I have had a range of work experiences (paid and unpaid) and eventually returned to Essex for a PhD. I was recently appointed a Senior Legal Adviser at Amnesty International in London, completing the transition I had set out to achieve when I enrolled in the Essex LLM in 2003.

  • Aisling Reidy, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Current position: Senior Legal Advisor, Human Rights Watch
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 1995

    'Do you actually want to work on the ground as a human rights practitioner?' That was the question a professor posed to me when I was asking for career advice at the end of my undergraduate degree. When I said 'yes', he replied, 'Then you should be going to the University of Essex'.

    It was the exposure to and understanding of practical implementation of human rights - because of who the staff were - in addition to the academic training that he advised would make the difference. And I am continuously grateful for that piece of excellent, and accurate advice.

    There is no single or set of incidents in my career to which I can point and say 'I learned that in Essex'; but rather since my key formative human rights training was in Essex, I think that to say 'I learned that in Essex' is true for all my career. The Human Rights Centre at Essex did give me a rigorous education in international human rights and humanitarian law - an imprimatur that was automatically recognized by others in the human rights field; I can attest that there is a - rebuttable! - assumption that an Essex graduate has a level of understanding of human rights law that makes them competent and capable of being a good hire.

    But it also provided me with direct opportunities to see and be involved in the real politik of human rights work - in my case, particularly litigation strategy; and to build a network of colleagues and experts who would be a constant resource in my career. Who knows where I would be or what I would be doing if I had not had the advice to go to Essex; but I know that I am doing what I do now, and have done what I did, because of my LLM from Essex.

  • Ian Seiderman, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Ian Seiderman

    Current position: Legal and Policy Director, International Commission of Jurists
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights Law, 1994

    In 1992 I entered the human rights LLM program at Essex, somewhat on a lark, having noted a small advertisement for it on the corner of a back page of the New Statesman Magazine as while on holiday in London the previous year. Resigning my position as a refugee lawyer for a US NGO, I sought a new professional direction, but was uncertain whether much of value would come from an academic degree in international human rights law.

    I had not the least notion just how profoundly that year at Essex would change my life, professionally and personally, opening a whole world of possibilities of engaging international human rights law as an instrument for addressing human degradation and meeting human needs.

    A quartet of professors, all of whom would go on to serve many years at Essex – Nigel Rodley, Francoise Hampson, Geoff Gilbert and the late Kevin Boyle – contributed in essential ways to providing a meaningful understanding of the paradigm of international human rights and humanitarian law, from normative standards to systems of operation. Their efforts were richly complemented by the other students, bringing a breadth of experience from all regions and a diversity of fields of study and practice.

    All of my subsequent human rights work, whether UN, academic, or NGO, has been built on the foundation solidly laid during that one year at Essex.

  • Nina Gelashvili, LLM International Human Rights Law

    Nina Gelashvili

    Current Position: Adviser to the minister of Corrections of Georgia
    Location: Tbilisi, Georgia
    Studied at Essex: LLM International Human Rights, 2011-2012

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    I became a human rights advocate after witnessing the injustices taking place in my home country, Georgia. I joined Human Rights Priority, a Tbilisi-based non-governmental organization, in 2009 to advocate for the rights of internally displaced persons as a result of the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008. I investigated and documented human rights violations in Georgia and prepared cases heard by the European Court of Human Rights, specifically on the violation of the right to freedom of assembly and expression, prohibition of torture and right to property.

    In 2011, I co-founded Youth for Justice – Georgia, a non-governmental organization that advocates for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Georgia. Youth for Justice represents victims of human rights violations before domestic courts, and if need be, before the European Court of Human Rights. Through litigation, advocacy and monitoring, Youth for Justice brought about significant changes in national legislation and contributed to the creation of important precedents. Presently, prisoners’ right to health is the main priority of Youth for Justice. It seeks to address overcrowding and lack of medical care in the penitentiary system of Georgia.

    What have you done since completing your studies at Essex?

    Since completing my studies at Essex I In 2012, I interned at the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS) in London. As an intern at ICPS, I undertook a substantive research and assisted governments and other relevant agencies to develop appropriate policies on prisons and the use of imprisonment. After the internship at the ICPS, I continued working at “Youth for Justice - Georgia”, the organization I am a co-founder of. During eight months I have been involved in the research project on realization of the right to health in penitentiary system of Georgia.

    In August, 2013 I applied for the Human Rights Advocates Program at Columbia University in the city of New York where I was accepted. While participating in HRAP, I established contacts with local and international organizations based in US that are working in the sphere of human rights, gathered funds, took academic courses at Columbia University as well as training given by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, WITNESS and presented my work to different audiences in academia and organizations visited.

    Soon after coming back to Georgia, I was offered a position of an adviser in human rights to the minister of the Corrections of Georgia. I joined a motivated group of professionals initiating and implementing number of reforms in penitentiary system of the country that are related to healthcare, probation, rehabilitation/re-socialization, etc.


    • Encouragement of the Use of the Remedy of Suspension and Vacation of a Sentence due to Health Condition
    • Monitoring and promoting the prisoners’ right to health
    • Realization of the right to health: Adherence to the principle of equivalence and meeting international human rights standards – Case of Georgia


    • 'Juvenile Justice System – Harsh and Ineffective?', Georgian Times, 2007


MA graduates

  • Ann Madsen, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    Ann Madsen

    Current Position: Project Development Officer at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) Kosovo
    Location: Prishtina, Kosovo
    Studied at Essex: MA Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, 2012 - 2013

    What have you done since completing your studies at Essex?

    After my studies at Essex, I completed an internship at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) Kosovo, which I learned about through the annual field trip to Kosovo undertaken by the Human Rights Centre. After completing my internship, I was offered a position with ECMI Kosovo as a Project Development Officer. The position entails developing, drafting and editing project proposals for donors such as the EU, USAID and local embassies in Kosovo. Additionally, I provide assistance to current project development and will soon begin a project regarding diploma recognition for the University of North Mitrovica (the only university in Kosovo providing an education in Serbian).

    I am extremely grateful to the University of Essex, not only for the valuable experiences gained through my studies, professors and classmates, but also for the opportunity to visit Kosovo and become familiar with organizations in the field.

    Issues, campaigns, reports

    Through the HRC Clinic, I worked on the right to adequate housing and disaggregated data and human rights with the Roma Rights Team. During my time with ECMI Kosovo, I have contributed to the NGO’s overall goal of protecting and promoting the rights and interests of all minority communities in Kosovo. I have also assisted on several reports, including Communities in Kosovo: A guidebook for professionals working with communities in Kosovo and Communities: Know Your Rights – A booklet for communities and their members.


    • Adrian Zeqiri, et al, Kosovo Elections 2013: Lessons Learnt for Minority Communities, European Centre for Minority Issues Kosovo, Prishtina, Kosovo, December 2013 (Editor)
    • Ann Madsen, Substance Abuse in Kosovo and its Effects on Minority Communities, European Centre for Minority Issues Kosovo, Prishtina, Kosovo, March 2014
    • Disaggregated Data and Human Rights: Law, Policy and Practice, University of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic, Colchester, United Kingdom, October 2013. (Contributor)


  • Andy Keefe, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    Andy Keefe

    Current Position: Director of National Clinical Services, Freedom from Torture
    Location: London, UK
    Studied at Essex: MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, 1991 - 92

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    I studied Latin American Politics in the final year of my BA course in European Studies with Spanish at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, in 1990 which opened my eyes to what can happen where human rights are not protected (specifically during the military dictatorships and wars of the 1970s and 1980s. The first Gulf War and the treatment of Iraqi Kurds at the end of it also had a very big influence but I clearly remember reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown when I was 12. I expected a book about cowboys and Indians but found a powerful and moving account of the history of the Native American peoples and their treatment by the US Government and European settlers. That was when I first began to realise that the world is not a fair and ordered place, that powerful forces repress the less powerful and the results can be catastrophic. It is one of those books which has stayed with me and I am sure somehow had an influence on my choice of career.

    What have you done since completing your studies at Essex?

    I was part of the very first MA intake. Hitherto, HRC had only run an LLM course for lawyers. A friend asked their tutor one day what sort of careers she thought doing the MA would lead to. She replied: “Well we were rather hoping you would all find out and let us know.” This is my personal contribution, twenty two years later:

    After graduating, I volunteered at the Kurdish Human Rights Project which was established by another MA graduate, Kerim Yildiz then moved to a paid position at the Halkevi Kurdish and Turkish Community Centre in Hackney, North London as Coordinator. This organisation provided support to Kurdish and Turkish refugees from Turkey. In 1997 I moved to the Colombian Refugee Association in South London which played the same role for refugees from Colombia and other Latin American countries. While at Halkevi, I came into contact with many people who were clearly highly disturbed and troubled by their experiences but had no framework for making sense of this so I began to train as a counsellor (I now think of the experiences of the people I met as trauma). I also went on three human rights delegations to South East Turkey in the 1990s, meeting ordinary people, lawyers, trades unionists and human rights defenders affected by the war between the Turkish government and the PKK and general state repression. In 2000, I moved to the British Refugee Council in Brixton to work in the mental health team there, providing an assessment, referral and treatment service for refugees and asylum seekers with mental health and well-being needs, including survivors of torture. While there, I trained as a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist at Westminster Pastoral Foundation and held three separate positions, eventually becoming national lead on refugee mental health In 2008 I completed another MA in Psychoanalytic Studies. In 2010 I moved to The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (now Freedom from Torture – FtT), first as London and South East Clinical Services Manager and since July 2012 as Director of National Clinical Services. FfT is a human rights organisation which provides psychotherapy to survivors of torture as part of a holistic programme of rehabilitation. We also work in the areas of protection of survivors and holding torturing states to account and are developing a research programme in these areas.

    This work finally brings together the disparate areas of my training and experience and I have come to realise there is a deep and rich seem of cross over and connection between human rights theory and practice and psychotherapeutic theory and practice in that both are frameworks for promoting, nurturing and protecting the person and for helping people to reach their full potential. Psychotherapists are by definition freedom of expression activists in that we work with people to help them put indescribable experience into words. We are engaged in a long process of articulating exactly what we mean when we say “we provide psychotherapy within a human rights framework” which I am personally finding fascinating because of this.

    Issues, campaigns and reports

    Most of my career has been spent on the provision of social and psychotherapeutic / mental health support to refugees and asylum seekers, including survivors of torture. Currently, Fft works on the realisation of the Right to Rehabilitation for survivors (Article 14 of UNCAT) by providing services ourselves, training and building the capacity of other agencies and advocating for improved conditions for survivors in the UK and globally.

    I have also had an interest in the human rights situation in Turkey, with special reference to the Kurdish and Alevi minorities.


    • Tribe, Rachel and Keefe, Andrew (Eds) (2007). Special Issue, Refugees & Asylum Seekers. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. 9, Number 3
    • Tribe, Rachel and Keefe, Andrew (2009) 'Issues in using interpreters in therapeutic work with refugees. What is not being expressed?', European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 11: 4, 409-424
    • Keefe, A. (2008). 'The Refugee Council Therapeutic Casework Model: Addressing Asylum Seekers’ external and internal issues within a helping relationship'. Context. 98, 26-22
    • Keefe, Andrew & Hage, Elena (2009). Vulnerable Women’s Project Good Practice Guide: Assisting Refugees & Asylum Seekers affected by sexual violence. Refugee Council. London.
    • Keefe, A. 2010. 'The Journey of the Refugee Family'. In Singh, R & Dutta S: Race & Culture: Tools, Techniques & Trainings. A Manual for Professionals. Karnac. London. 71-75
    • Keefe, A. (2014). 'Collective Trauma in the Tamil Community in London'. In Somasundaram, D (ed). Scarred Communities: Psychosocial Impact of Manmade and Natural Disasters on Sri Lankan Society. Sage. New Delhi. 271-278


    I can be contacted at Freedom from Torture by email at

  • Miguel Martin Zumalacarregui, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    Miguel Martin Zumalacarregui

    Current position: Assistant Secretary, Youth Department, Comisiones Obreras (Spanish Trade Union)
    Location: Madrid, Spain
    Studied at Essex: MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, 2012-13

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    When I was 13 years old I was outraged when I found out that two Nigerian women, Safiya Hussaini and Amina Lawal, had been sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery. There was a campaign run by Amnesty International to save them and I decided to take action. As a consequence I started receiving emails about human rights abuses happening in the four corners of the world and I became more and more aware of the importance of activism.

    Therefore, I progressively got involved on the work of Amnesty International which finally led me to take responsibilities within the organisation such as coordinating a student group at my university or becoming a member of AI Spain’s Board.

    What have you done since your studies at Essex?

    • Project Officer at the Human Rights Centre Clinic (until September 2013).
    • Assistant Secretary, Youth Department, Comisiones Obreras (CCOO, Spanish Trade Union) (from October 2013).
    • Volunteer, Legal Team, Amnesty International Spain (from November 2013).

    Issues, campaigns and reports

    • HRC Clinic: National Commissions of Inquiry; Racial Profiling and Domestic Immigration Enforcement.
    • AI Spain: Regressive and discriminatory measures on the access of immigrants to healthcare in Spain.
    • CCOO: youth employment, youth guarantee, labour law, EU policies.


    • VV.AA, National Commissions of Inquiry: Towards a Human Rights-Based Approach, (The University of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic, October 2013).

  • Ricky Gunawan, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    Ricky Gunawan

    Current position: Director of LBH Masyarakat (January 2013 – present) and South East Asia Fellow – Reprieve (February 2013 – present)
    Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
    Studied at Essex: MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, 2011-12

    What have you done since your studies at Essex?

    After completing my studies at Essex in October 2012, I took a three-month internship at the Harm Reduction International (HRI) based in London, as a human rights analyst. HRI is a leading international NGO working on promoting human rights based approach on drug policy. I worked on the 2012 annual report about the death penalty for drug offences. I also attended a roundtable meeting organized by the International Commission against the death penalty, in Madrid, where I presented the 2012 death penalty report.

    Upon returning to Indonesia in January 2013, I resumed my work with LBH Masyarakat (Community Legal Aid Institute), based in Jakarta, as the Director. I lead a team of dedicated lawyers, activists, and community workers to provide free legal services for poor people and victims of human rights abuses; and undertake legal empowerment for marginalized communities such as people living with HIV, drug users, sex workers and transgender. I also supervise the organisation’s research, analysis and policy advocacy on promoting legal reform and human rights protection.

    Since February 2013, while directing LBH Masyarakat, I also work as a South East Asia fellows for Reprieve. Reprieve is an international NGO based in London, assisting prisoners facing the death penalty and prisoners held beyond the rule of law in ‘the war on terror’ whether in Guantanamo Bay or secret prisons elsewhere. My responsibilities include conducting legal and human rights research on death penalty in Indonesia and other countries in SEA region; conducting investigation in death penalty cases; providing legal support and assistance to capital defence lawyers; and liaising with prisoners’ families, NGOs, government officials, lawyers, human rights defenders, and foreign consulates.

    Issues, campaigns and reports

    I have worked on the death penalty, torture, right to information, human rights defenders, right to housing, right to health, human rights and youth, human rights and drug policy, human rights and HIV/AIDS, legal empowerment, community paralegal, legal aid, strategic litigation, legal reform, and criminal justice.

  • Edzia Carvalho, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    Edzia Carvalho

    Current position: Lecturer in Politics, School of Humanities, University of Dundee
    Location: Scotland, UK
    Studied at Essex: MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, 2005-07

    What sparked your initial interest in human rights?

    There were two events in the 1990s that awakened me to the importance of human rights. The first event took place in December 1992 when the Babri Mosque was demolished in India by an organised group of Hindu extremists. Mumbai, where I had grown up and resided in was particularly affected by the riots between Hindus and Muslim communities that occurred across India. The other event, if I can call it that, was the release of the film Schindler’s List in 1994. Watching this film was the first time that I was confronted with the magnitude of human evil, suffering, and courage depicted in the film. The themes of the film also resonated with the actions and conditions that occurred in the riots in Mumbai that I had experienced a few years earlier.

    The MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights was an incredibly rewarding experience for me on a professional and personal level. Professionally, the Masters helped me grow as a researcher, to learn about theoretical conundrums and practical perspectives from international experts on human rights, and inspired me to contribute to the field as an academic.

    The friendships forged during that first year at Essex have formed my support system in the years since the Masters. The scholars and activists who graduate from the Masters and work in the field are truly dedicated individuals who continue to lead by example and inspire me through their courage and tenacity.

    What have you done since your studies at Essex?

    • 2006-10: PhD in Government, Department of Government, University of Essex
    • 2010-11: Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chair in Political Science IV, University of Mannheim
    • 2012: Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam
    • 2013-present: Lecturer in Politics, School of Humanities, University of Dundee

    Issues, campaigns and reports


    • FIDH. 2012. EU Member States under the Spotlight. Incorporating Human Rights into the Investment Strategies: 2012 Non-Financial Rating of the 27 EU Member States, report prepared by Andrew Fagan, Edzia Carvalho and Gemma Cowling on behalf of The Geneva Foundation for FIDH.
    • Todd Landman, Jim Bewsher and Edzia Carvalho. 2007. Preliminary Survey on Donor Use of Governance Assessments, report prepared for UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and presented at the Seminar on Governance Assessments and the Paris Declaration: Opportunities for Inclusive Participation and National Ownership, Bergen.
    • Todd Landman, Marco Larizza, Edzia Carvalho and Claire McEvoy. 2006. The State of Democracy in Central Asia: A Comparative Study, report prepared for the UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia as part of the follow-up activities for the Fifth International Conference on New and Restored Democracies (ICNRD-5).

    Research assistance

    • 2012, FIDH-funded study on EU country rankings on human rights to determine the investment strategy of FIDH's ethical fund Liberty and Solidarity. Project Leader: Dr Andrew Fagan, University of Essex
    • 2007, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre-funded Preliminary Survey on Donor Use of Governance Assessments. Project Leader: Professor Todd Landman, University of Essex
    • 2006–07, International IDEA-funded revision of the Handbook of Democracy Assessment. Project Leaders: Professor Todd Landman, Professor David Beetham and Professor Stuart Weir
    • 2006, DfID-funded Human Rights and Social Exclusion Indicators. Project Leader: Professor Todd Landman
    • 2005-06, UNDP-funded project for follow-up activities to ICNRD-5. Project Leader: Professor Todd Landman



    • Todd Landman and Edzia Carvalho, 2009, Measuring Human Rights, Routledge
    • David Beetham, Edzia Carvalho, Todd Landman and Stuart Weir, 2008, Assessing the Quality of Democracy: A Practical Guide, Stockholm: International IDEA. Translated into Spanish (2009), French (2010) and Arabic (2011)

    Refereed journal articles

    • Edzia Carvalho and Kristi Winters. Forthcoming 2015. “‘I went with what I always do…’: A qualitative analysis of the effect of ‘Cleggmania’ and vote choice in the 2010 British General Election”, Parliamentary Affairs.
    • Kristi Winters and Edzia Carvalho. 2013. “2010 British General Election Leader Evaluations: A Case Study using Focus Group Data”, The Qualitative Report, 18(45): 1-21.
    • Edzia Carvalho. 2008. ‘Measuring Children’s Rights: An Alternative Approach’, International Journal of Children’s Rights, 16(4): 545-563.

    Online entries

    • Edzia Carvalho and Kristi Winters, 2013, The Grounded Theory Method: Popular Perceptions of Party Leaders during the 2010 British General Election, in SAGE Research Methods Cases. Sage. (Peer-reviewed)
    • Kristi Winters and Edzia Carvalho, 2013, The Qualitative Election Study of Britain: Qualitative Research using Focus Groups, in SAGE Research Methods Cases. Sage. (Peer-reviewed)
    • Edzia Carvalho, 2011, More Questions, Few Answers on State Failure and Human Rights, Human Rights and Human Welfare Roundtable, August
    • Edzia Carvalho, 2011, Generic Wish-lists for State-centric Policies, Human Rights and Human Welfare Roundtable, June
    • Edzia Carvalho, 2011, Pandora’s Box of Humanitarian Intervention, Human Rights and Human Welfare Roundtable, April
    • Edzia Carvalho, 2010, Children’s Rights in Fagan, A. (ed.) Essex Internet Encyclopaedia of Human Rights, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
    • Edzia Carvalho, 2010, Measuring Human Rights in Fagan, A. (ed.) Essex Internet Encyclopaedia of Human Rights, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

  • Mutuma Ruteere, MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights

    Mutuma Ruteere

    Current position: UN Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur
    Studied at Essex: MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights, 2001

    When I thought of undertaking postgraduate studies in human rights, almost every programme I came across was located in the faculty of law. What I was looking for was a programme that would be multi-disciplinary in its approach. I had been working on human rights and was clearly aware of the limitations in a narrow and single-discipline approach to human rights. I did not know such a programme existed anywhere in the world, until I came across the human rights programme at the University of Essex.

    The Essex human right programme turned out to be a most memorable intellectual experience. It taught me to frame and to ask the right questions. It opened me up to the great potential as well as the limits of the human rights idea and project. Beyond the classroom, the programme has succeeded in creating a community of people-lecturers as well as students- who passionately care and think about human rights.

    Essex prepared me future academic work. I acquired a PhD specializing on human rights and continued with both academic and practical human rights work. In 2011, I was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

  • Mary Snow, MA Human Rights and Cultural Diversity

    Mary Snow

    Studied at Essex: MA Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, 2010

    I am so grateful for my time studying Human Rights and Cultural Diversity at the University of Essex. I was immersed in a supportive community of leading thinkers in the human rights field and emerging practitioners from across the world. I was challenged and stretched daily by the ideas, passions, and wisdom of my colleagues.

    Today, I have an international support system that I can call on to share lessons learned and problem solve as I work to put my learning into action and advance the fulfilment of human rights in Central Appalachia.

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