Latin America and Caribbean Regional Working Group

Cristina Hardaga

Mexico, Latin America

I was born 1982 in Sarajevo, Bosnia –Herzegovina, but I have been living almost all my life in Mexico City. I am a feminist, dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights in Mexico since 2004. Before joining the JASS (Just Associates) team for the Mexico and Mesoamerican Office as the Strategic and Political Engagement Coordinator, I worked as the International Area Coordinator with Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña “Tlachinollan” in the state of Guerrero, Mexico for four years. I also worked as a Human Rights Advisor with the LX session of the House of Representatives and as a researcher for the Human Rights Program of the Iberoamerican University. I am one of the four founders of a recent NGO in Mexico named Equis:Justicia para las Mujeres. Some of the publications in which I collaborate with my colleague Santiago Aguirre are: “The Military Violence against indigenous women in Mexico: the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú before the Interamerican Court” and “Implementation of judgments of the Interamerican Court in the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú”. I have other articles about due diligence and sexual violence; women’s rights and Women Human Rights Defenders.

Maria De Lourdes Alcantara

Brazil, Latin America

Maria De Lourdes Alcantara is an Anthropologist working in the field of Medical Anthropology at the University of São Paulo, Medical Faculty. She has been working since 1999 with Indigenous Youth at Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, mainly with suicide and violence among indigenous women. She is also a consultant at International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs-IWGIA and the Head of Support Group for Indigenous Youth-GAPK.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs(IWGIA)

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs – IWGIA supports VAW in relation to Indigenous Women and IWGIA is in favor of developing a global binding norm on VAW and supports this effort.
We work together with indigenous women’s associations around the world, particularly in Latin America. We support the agenda of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), regarding indigenous women and targets for the agenda post 2015.

IWGIA is an international human rights organization staffed by specialists and advisers on indigenous affairs.IWGIA supports indigenous peoples’ struggle for human rights, self-determination, right to territory, control of land and resources, cultural integrity, and the right to development.IWGIA was founded in 1968 by anthropologists alarmed about the ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples taking place in the Amazon. The aim was to establish a network of concerned researchers and human right activists to document the situation of indigenous peoples and advocate for an improvement of their rights. Today indigenous peoples from all over the world are involved in IWGIA’s global network.

Reyna Rodriguez Palacios

Nicaragua, Latin America

Reyna Isabel Rodriguez Palacios was born in the department of Managua and lived in the municipality of Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. She is a mother of three children, a lawyer, a feminist, and a defender of human rights of women. She has been a feminist activist for 23 years and was the founder of a women’s organization in her community called AMIFANIC. She is part of the national network of women against violence and one of the founders for the commissioners of women and children in Nicaragua. She was a facilitator in the process of designing models, protocols, norms and procedures focused on care and access to justice for victims of gender violence. She helped with formation and processes of autonomy for women who have lived in situations of violence. She has been part of actions of development and a supporter of policies in relation with VAW. She is currently the national coordinator of the Network of Women Against Violence which joins 113 organizations and 79 individuals in Nicaragua.

Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia

Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia is located in the urban sector of the municipality of Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. It works with women in both urban and rural sectors. It focuses in all subject matters of violence against women in three municipalities and one department in the region. This organization has been recognized for the work in the prevention of incidents by institutional authorities. It has 32 recognitions from the work that it has accomplished with authorities and organizations. It has managed to sustain its work despite limited funding.
Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia is in favor of a global binding norm on VAW and we support this project.

Viola Van Bogaert

Aruba, Latin America

Viola V.R. Van Bogaert is Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Aruba and Associate Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law. She teaches courses on Constitutional Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Public International Law, European Union Law and the Divide between Private and Public Law as well as Human Rights. Prior to teaching at the University of Aruba, Viola Van Bogaert taught Legal Method at the Law Faculty of the University of Groningen. She earned her Masters of Laws degree from the University of Maastricht and her Ph.D. (Doctor Iuris) from the University of Groningen. She wrote her Ph.D. thesis on judicial accountability and the protection against abuse of judicial power (De rechter beoordeeld. Over aansprakelijkheid en verantwoordelijkheid in civiel- en staatsrechtelijk perspectief, Antwerpen/Apeldoorn: Maklu 2005).

Viola Van Bogaert mainly publishes on the topic of state architecture and institutions. Her main area of interest is the problem of judicial accountability and judicial independence.

Francisco Rivera

Puerto Rico, Latin America

Francisco J. Rivera Juaristi is a human rights attorney from Puerto Rico who specializes in the Inter-American Human Rights System. Prior to joining Santa Clara University School of Law (in California) as founding director of the law school’s International Human Rights Clinic and as co-director of its Costa Rica and Geneva Summer Programs on Human Rights, Francisco was a senior staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of the Organization of American States seated in Costa Rica, where he was also director of that court’s internship program. In the late 1990s, he also served as Executive Director of the Amnesty International Section in Puerto Rico. He has been a consultant for a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as for the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR).
Francisco has worked on several cases and thematic hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, has also submitted numerous amici curiae briefs before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as well as stakeholder and shadow reports before the United Nations. He writes regularly for Corte IDH Blog on recent developments before the Inter-American Human Rights System.

Jocie Philistin

Haiti, Latin America

A human rights activist since 1997, Jocie Philistin wages a relentless struggle to fight the feminization of poverty and social exclusion. Her goal is eradicating violence against women and girls. At the same time, Jocie promotes the emergence and promotion of all female voices including those of the masses and survivors. She can always be found at the side of women and men with an awareness of a better approach to the problem of gender-based violence. This must necessarily take into account the effective integration of women, without any discrimination, at all levels of society. Jocie’s work is also to help the survivors (SGBV), prisoners and the most vulnerable population groups in their rehabilitation process and social reintegration, She works to strengthen the capacity of local grassroots organizations (la Fondation Trente Septembre, la KOFAVIV, LA VIHAMO, Hand to Hand for Haïti, la Fondation Yahve Rapha)) in their training, awareness, and mobilization programs as well as an integrated approach to community development. As an evangelist, she plays a leadership role among the religious communities to encourage them to exercise their community leadership without discrimination and stigma in relation to various social affiliations.

America Joaquina Romualdo

El Salvador, Latin America

Amércia is a feminist from El Salvador, who studied electrical engineering, legal science and gender relations. She is an activist of the Salvadoran feminist movement and a member of social and feminist organizations like Women for dignity and life “Dignified women” (Mujeres por la Dignidad y La vida “Las Dignas”) and Center for the defense of the consumer “CDC” (Centro para la defensa del consumidor “CDC”). Her experience in feminist activism began in 1991 as a volunteer in the Department of Gender Studies at the University of El Salvador, and later she participated in organizations such as “Women 94″ (“Mujeres 94″), “Initiative for more women in politics” (“Iniciativa por más mujeres en la participación política”), “November 25th Committee” (“Comité 25 de Noviembre”) and currently in the “Feminist Agreement Prudencia Ayala” (“Concertación Feminista Prudencia Ayala”). Amércia did a remarkable job as a designer of care programs for women affected by sexual violence, in “Cemujer”, “Mothers’ association demanding alimony” (“Asociación de madres demandantes de la Cuota Alimenticia”) and “Dignified women” (“Las Dignas”). She has also worked in the design and amendment of women´s rights laws, in research on violence against women, and in the design of feminist training processes and human rights. Amércia is a point of reference in the Salvadoran feminism movement especially for her work lobbying on public policies with different instances of the state.

Sandra Elisabeth López Astudillo

Ecuador, Latin America

Sandra Lopez ia a feminist, environmentalist, activist for the rights of women and nature. She is the GAMMA Foundation coordinator, and field director of the Center of Encounter with Nature and Social Therapy. Sandra is Technical Coordinator of the Citizen Observatory of Communication in Cuenca. She has postgraduate studies in Social Anthropology with application to gender and social conflicts, specialization studies in Social Therapy, and a Master in Quality, Safety and Environment (MBA). Sandra has expertise in training for prevention and care of violence; social therapy for technical teams that serve problems of violence; construction and generation of knowledge about the care of the water and the network of life from the school of systemic thinking for strategic planning (lifting of comprehensive proposals for the medium and long-term from the Essential Human Needs); and masculinities. She has been a participant in various networks for the defense and enforceability of the rights of women, including the Women’s Network for Development (Costa Rica), World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), inter-agency Network of Care and Prevention of Family Violence (RIAP-IFV).

Silvia Vega Padilla

Bolivia, Latin America

Silvia Vega Padilla studied at Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba, specializing in “NGOs social management”. She has also completed several graduate courses in “Health Systems Management”, and a certificated course in “Project design using the logical framework methodology”. Sylvia is a feminist, working for 20 years in different programs and areas at IFFI, earning experience in gender issues, health, food security, development, citizenship, negotiation and lobbying, legislative policy frameworks, social control, human rights of women, violence against women, sexual and reproductive rights and political impact with gender perspective. Sylvia has expertise in gender, local development, public policies, and advocacy. Her strengths include, design of advocacy strategies, impact on public policy, regulatory and legislative frameworks with a gender perspective, coordination and relationship with authorities, networks against violence, leaders and organizations, and knowledge of national and international legal framework related to human rights and protection of women’s rights.

Alina Ramirez

Honduras and Dominican Republic, Latin America – ADVISORY MEMBER

From 1992 until 2010 I worked for NGOs specialized in gender issues in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. I played different roles including managerial, articulation and outreach, and coordination and implementation of projects on human rights, in particular of women and children. Since 2010 I have been working as an independent consultant and I continue working closely with NGOs and international agencies. My areas of specialization are: gender and human rights approach in public policies and reform of laws; human rights of women and children; violence against women; HIV and gender-based violence; family, criminal and labor laws with gender approach; solidarity economy and advocacy. My professional skills are on socio-legal research; coordination of processes of consultation, consensus building and formulation of proposals for reforming laws; designing, leading and evaluating processes for increasing awareness and building capacities; planning, implementing and systematizing strategies for advocacy; formulating and developing projects; producing educational and informative materials; coordinating multi-sectoral articulations for advocacy.

Rodrigo Jimenez

Costa Rica, Latin America – ADVISORY MEMBER

Rodrigo Jimenez is a Costa Rican lawyer and consultant specializing in women rights, rights of people with disabilities, rights of the seniors and rights of the LGBTI group. He studied law and has a degree in Education and a Masters in International Law and Business. He is a Professor of International Law and Human Rights of People with Disabilities in Universities of Latin America ( Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panamá, Ecuador, Paraguay Chile), and is a Member of Advisory Group for the Women’s Human Rights Education Institutes (WHRI) of the University of Toronto and Alabama State University. International consultant for the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, United Nations Development Program, World Bank, Interamerican Bank, UNFPA, UNIFEM, and Co director of the Women, Justice and Gender Program at the Latin American United Nations Institute for Crime Prevention (ILANUD).

Fundacion Justicia y Genero

Fundacion Justicia y Genero strengthens institutional capacities of judiciaries and National Mechanisms for Women in the region, through spaces that generate reflection indices and information on the administration of justice with a gender perspective aimed at ensuring the enjoyment and exercise of the right of access to justice for women. Their mission is to provide a space for reflection and analysis on the administration of justice from a gender perspective as a public service designed to ensure access to justice and complementary rights without discrimination and under the vision of human rights. The objective is to improve the administration of justice and human rights in the region, combating the invisibility of populations traditionally discriminated in the administration of justice which results in discrimination, inequality, oppression and violence against these populations.
Fundacion Justicia y Genero is in favor of a global binding norm and supports this project.

Claudia Herrmannsdorfer

El Salvador, Latin America – ADVISORY MEMBER

Claudia Herrmannsdorfer was born in Honduras. She is a lawyer with thirty years of professional experience, litigant, a human rights defender and advocate, especially in women’s human rights, VAW and sexual and reproductive rights. She is Associate in the Center for Women’s Rights (Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM), an NGO based in Honduras and in the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for Women’s Rights (CLADEM) regional network. She has been cataloged a United Nations Expert attending international conferences on VAW; lecturer in VAW, access to justice, legislation and law enforcement. She is a trainer in different issues related to VAW, international and national legislation, human rights legislation, access to justice and due process. She has developed and achieved experience through active participation in constructing specific VAW legislation in Honduras and the region. She has worked as a collaborator for law schools, legal clinics and private law firms in political asylum applications for women and their children seeking protection from VAW. She is currently living in El Salvador and working as an International Consultant.

Yasmín Silvia Portales Machado

Cuba, Latin America – ADVISORY MEMBER

Yasmín Silvia Portales Machado is an essayist, narrator and LGBTIQ activist. She graduated from the fifth course on Narrative Techniques at Literary Training Center “Onelio Jorge Cardoso” (2003), and received her bachelor’s degree in Theater Art, from the Faculty of Performing Arts at “Instituto Superior de Arte” in Havana (2007). Yasmín has had more than thirty reviews and essays published in printed and digital media (about gender, LGBTQ rights, the Internet and fantastic literature). She participates in the Section Cuba of Latin American Studies Association, Working Group “Emerging anti capitalism and sociability” in “Latin American Council of Social Sciences” and Global network “Outlook Digital Humanities”, the “Critical Observatory of Cuba” and “Rainbow Project”. “LGBT Collective, anti-capitalist and independent of Cuba”. Her hobbies include cinema, TV and fantastic literature, essays in the social sciences, history of women, merchandise from “The Lord of the Rings”, hijabs and manuals of how to use them, chocolate and spaghetti.

Alejandra Ancheita

Mexico, Latin America – ADVISORY MEMBER

Alejandra Ancheita, winner of the 2014 Martin Ennals Award, is the founder and Executive Director of the NGO Project of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Mexico. Alejandra is a Mexican lawyer and a human rights defender who leads the fight for the rights of the migrants, workers, and indigenous communities in her country. Due to Alejandra’s status as one of the leading Latin American voices in the human rights movement, she has spoken in various international forums, such as the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and the OECD Annual Meeting of National Contact Points, as well as arguing cases before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the national courts. She has been acknowledged for her work as a human rights defender by the Mexican Senate in 2015 and by several communication media and by international institutions, such as the Spanish newspaper El País that named Alejandra one of the 25 most influential Latin Americans. Also, in 2013, the Law School of Harvard University recognized her work giving her the Wasserstein Public Interest Award.

ProDESC: The Project of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

he Project of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ProDESC) is a non-governmental organization which was founded in 2005. ProDESC is dedicated to contributing to the justiciability and fulfillment of economic, social and cultural rights of communities and workers with the goal of creating a just and dignified world for all. ProDESC’s work is focused on highlighting the failure of the State to guarantee economic, social and cultural rights, stimulating a debate on the obligation of State institutions to make them accessible and justiciable, and, above all, accompanying processes that contribute to the enjoyment of these rights. ProDESC’s main areas of work include the defense and promotion of labor rights and rights connected with land, territory and natural resources, the security of human rights defenders and monitoring the compliance of transnational companies and the State with their human rights obligations. The crosscutting themes of our work are: transnational justice, gender perspective and diversity, and education and technical assistance.
ProDESC is in favor of a Global Treaty on VAW.