Jana Offergeld currently works as a researcher at the WWU University of Münster, Germany, evaluating projects on independent living opportunities for elderly persons with disabilities. Meanwhile she is undertaking a PhD, conducting participative research with persons with mental disabilities. Jana is also a member of the Mental Health Worldwide Network, a global group aiming to improve the situation of persons with mental health conditions worldwide by awareness rising and advocacy and a regular contributing author of the Disability and Human Rights blog.
Veena Tandon is a caregiver from Pune, India and a student from the first batch of the enriching course. She is also a facilitator with NGO, Schizophrenia Awareness Association, Pune (SAA) for the last seven years. Apart from awareness about the illness and stigma removal, she makes the care receivers and caregivers aware about their rights–legal and social.
KRISTINA BRAZEVIC Working at the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania
Advisor (Monitoring Officer) of the Group on Monitoring Human Rights Situation in Closed Detention Institutions Her activities and responsibilities are: Investigation of complaints of applicants on a number of issues regarding the conditions of closed detention institutions (such as mental health institutions, care homes as well as interrogation isolators, correction houses and prison), the procedure of involuntary admission to a mental health institution, the access to legal aid and good administration; also planning and making inspections to closed detention institutions, drafting reports and recommendations and cooperating with mental health and health care experts, NGOs.
LAURA HAMBLETON Working at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in New Delhi, India
She is currently working at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in New Delhi India as Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Specialist. She has been sent as a Junior Professional Consultant from United Nations Canada to assist the RSD team in determining the status of asylum seekers who are coming to India for refuge and seeking protection from the UNHCR.
DOVIL JUODKAITE President of the Association Lithuanian forum for the disabled
LDF is an independent umbrella organization for Disability Organizations, which was founded in 2001. At the moment it has 15 national member organizations representing Lithuanian people with disabilities and their families. The aim of LDF is to ensure equal rights and possibilities to all in Lithuanian and European institutions, and effective social integration of persons with disabilities; to promote and securehuman, civil and economical rights of the disabled; to participate in forming social policy and improving situation of the disabled and realizing equal rights of Lithuanian disabled people; Main work direction of LDF are: securing equal rights of the disabled: to ensure effective implementation of provisions of UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, to strive for equal access of education and social services for all persons with disabilities; active participation in forming countries social policy: to promote participatory approach and strengthen effective participation of disability organizations in all the decision making processes, to cooperate with different agencies on national and local level in creation of appropriate system of social support services for people with disabilities; informing society and raising awareness about the disability as human rights issue: to spread information about situation of the disabled and their integration into society, their equal rights and opportunities.
EBTISAM SANHOURI ELRAYH Senior lecturer at the faculty of law, university of Khartoum, Sudan
She teachs constitutional law and human rights on the full-time base. She is also a practicing lawyer and certified arbitrator. Ebtisam She is an affiliate with different organizations and groups working in the area of disability, gender, women and human rights. She contributed two papers last year on disability rights, entitle “Right to Political Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Sudanese Political Parties Agendas: The Election of 2010 and Referendum of 2011”, & “Realizing Rights of Women with Disabilities under International and Regional Conventions: Case Study of Sudan.” Disability was one of the discussed issues as well in her papers: “The Up-coming Constitution of Sudan: Gender concerns”, “Legal Aid and Vulnerable Groups: Women Story”, “Enhancing Women Access to Justice: Gender-based Analysis of the Judiciary, MoJ, Police and legal Profession.” She is wrapping-up her Ph.D. dissertation on Mental Health and the Law in Sudan: Human Rights Perspectives, where she is presenting model legislation based on CRPD and WHO guidelines.
ION CIBOTARICA is a lawyer and NGO activist
He has long experience in the area of the rights of persons with disabilities. Especially he has worked in various projects of the Centre of Legal Assistance for Persons with Disability, a disability people’s organization that promotes and protects the rights of persons with disability. He has been evolved in the drafting and reforming national legislation in the field of disability.
AIKATERINI NOMIDOU is a practicing lawyer and vice-president of the Association of Families and Friends for the Mental Health of the Prefecture of Serres (SOFPSI N.SERRON, Greece).
Being an active career to her brother and seeing the problems faced by families trying to cope with mental illness consequences and the unfairness of the situation service users find themselves in prompted her to become actively involved in the mental health issues that affect society as a whole. Aikaterini is also a WHO nominated PFPS Patients for Patient Safety Champion for Greece, a Board member of the Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks-Europe and has completed the Global Leadership Institute training course on Recovery and Rehabilitation offered by the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University. She is active in promoting awareness among mental health professionals, family members and people with a mental health condition of what is meant by ‘’rights’’ under equality legislation; in advocating against stigma, discrimination and prejudice surrounding mental health conditions; in promoting a recovery ethos in mental health services; and in offering legal aid to those mentally challenged facing anti-human rights practices.
KANNA SUGIURA is a technical officer at WHO as a JPO ( Junior Professional Officer).
While Kanna was working as a psychiatrist in Japan she became interested in health systems and quality assurance (reforming mental health services). She also came to know that there are 40 countries in the world without psychiatrists and the challenges to service delivery and scaling up mental health services that exist in these settings. Those interests led her towards global mental health and she received an MSc Public Health degree from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and also a International Diploma in Mental Health Law and Human Rights from Indian Law Society. Her interests are service delivery, quality assurance and human rights.