Meet the Research Team
The Programme for Studies on Human Rights in Context brings together professors, practitioners, and senior, postdoctoral, and PhD researchers from within and beyond Ghent University. We share an interest in human rights, with a particular focus on the equal dignity of and respect for all people. Our team is composed of policy makers as well as legal and non-legal practitioners in order to ensure the policy and societal relevance of our work. The Programme was founded at the initiative of Prof Dr Clara Burbano-Herrera and Prof Dr Yves Haeck.
Prof Dr Clara Burbano-Herrera
Research Professor of International Human Rights Law
Clara Burbano Herrera is a Research Professor of International Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University. Previously, she was a Fulbright Senior Researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Postdoctoral Researcher of the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO). Her research lies on the intersection between international law and human rights, and relates to the role of international human rights organs in the prevention of violation of human rights, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. Clara has lived and spent most of her academic life conducting socio-legal research in diverse countries. Clara holds a PhD in Law (Ghent University), a Master after Master in Fundamental Rights, (University Carlos III, Spain), a Master after Master in Constitutional Law, (National University of Colombia), and a Master of Laws (University of Los Andes, Colombia). With her research Clara has been awarded the Dutch Prince Bernhard Price for Innovative Research.
Prof Dr Yves Haeck
Professor of International Human Rights Law
Yves Haeck is a Professor of International Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University, where he teaches International Human Rights Law, Human Rights in Developing Countries, and International Moot Court Human Rights. He is also a guest professor at the University of Geneva and the University of Pretoria. Prior to this, he was a lecturer at Utrecht University and a guest professor at the University of Malta. Yves holds a PhD in Law (Ghent University, 2007) and a Master of Laws (Ghent University, 1992).
Yves Haeck is co-founder of the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University. His research focuses on substantial and procedural issues before regional and universal human rights adjudicators, and particularly admissibility conditions He is also interested in substantial human rights issues related to absolute rights, as well as human rights in the ambit of migration.
Head Indigenous Judicial system
Amelia Alva is an Associate Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Rights Centre and the Department of Constitutional Law of Ghent University. In 2019, she defended her doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Prof Haeck and Prof Burbano Herrera, titled: 'The right to prior consultation of indigenous peoples: Evaluating national legislation and practice in Peru from an international human rights law perspective'. She holds a Law Degree awarded by the National University of San Marcos (Peru) and a Master's Degree in Latin-American Studies by the University of Salamanca (Spain). She has taught several specialisation courses on human rights and indigenous people’s rights. Prior to this, Amelia worked as a lawyer in the Congress of the Republic of Peru, the Ombudsman’s Office, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Senior Research Associate
Professor of International Human Rights Law,
University of Malta
Therese Cachia is a lawyer working in the field of human rights, and she is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta where she teaches Human Rights Law. As a lawyer, Therese has represented victims of human rights violations before the Superior Courts of Malta as well as before the European Court of Human Rights. In her career, she has acted as the legal advisor for, amongst others, the National Commission for Equality of Malta, the Maltese Confederation of Women Organisations, and the Mental Health Association of Malta. Additionally, Therese is a Member of the Parliament of Malta and a former Member of the European Parliament for Malta. Therese holds a Doctor of Law (LLD) and a PhD from the University of Malta.
Research Leader, Human Rights and Natural Resources
Programme Director Human Rights and Natural Resources, DPLF
Daniel Cerqueira is the Director of the Human Rights and Natural Resources Program of the Foundation for Due Process since 2014. He served as a lawyer for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights between 2006 and 2013. Daniel has published essays and articles on different areas of International Human Rights Law, especially on the jurisprudence of the Inter-American System of Human Rights, Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights. He has been a columnist for Newspaper El País in the political editorial for Latin America and contributes regularly to the opinion blogs Open Democracy and Global Americans. Daniel Cerqueira studied law at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and International Relations at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (Brazil). He has an LLM in International Legal Studies from Georgetown University, United States and MSC of the Global Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy Program at the University of Genoa, Italy.
Marie Curie Researcher, Ghent University
Alina Cherviatsova is as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, Ghent University. Prior to this, Dr. Cherviatsova was an associate professor for comparative public law, human rights, and international law of the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine) and a coordinator of three Jean Monnet Modules. She has had research fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Max Planck Institute of European Legal History, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law, the University of Turin, the Cambridge Colleges’ Hospitality Scheme, and the Petro Yacyk Education Foundation at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include international law, comparative constitutional law, and human rights, with a special emphasis on freedom of expression, soviet and post-soviet studies, and legal regulation of collective memories.
Steven de Jonge
Research Leader, Theater and Human Rights
Steven de Jonge is a cultural all-rounder who is associated with Miramiro, a circus workspace and festival that infiltrates into Ghent's urban fabric. As a Master in both Interior Architecture (Sint-Lucas Ghent) and Art Science (Ghent University), he specialises in production, infrastructure, safety, and sustainability within the cultural field. For over a decade, Steven has been active in Belgium's cultural scene, working with various organisations in different areas. Along with the Miramiro festival, he has worked for Filmfest for several years, and he has been the coordinator for the cultural hub De Expeditie, which hosts seven socio-cultural organisations. He is the founder of Het Vogelnest, a city-based artist workspace that hosts up to ten artist residents, and he is a member of the board of directors of several cultural structures. As a member of Green Track's steering committee, he persuades the cultural sector to work on their sustainability and ecological footprint.
Academic Assistant, Ghent University
Sien Devriendt is a PhD Research Fellow at Ghent University. She holds a Master of Laws from Ghent University, having graduated magna cum laude. During her studies, Sien did an internship at the civil court in Ghent. She also participated in an interrogation and research conducted by the local investigation cell Meprosch (specialising on human trafficking, prostitution, and marriage of convenience) in Ghent. These experiences taught her how to apply oral and written skills within different branches of law. The title of her doctoral research is ‘Actief pluralisme en actief burgerschap in het Vlaams officieel onderwijs: een studie van de theorie en praktijk rond levensbeschouwelijke diversiteit’ (Active pluralism and active citizenship in Flemish formal education: a study of the theory and practice of ideological diversity).
Research Leader, Human Rights and Politics
Professor of Human Rights
University College London
Par Engstrom (BA UCL, MSc London, DPhil Oxford) is Associate Professor in Human Rights at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He is also Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) as well as Sciences Po. His research focuses on the politics of human rights and transitional justice, with a geographical focus on Latin America. Par is the academic coordinator of an International Network on the Inter-American Human Rights System initially funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2014-2016). He has worked with a range of human rights organisations and as a consultant for the Association for the Prevention of Torture and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Prior to entering academia, Par worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.
Jorge Errandonea Medín
Senior Research Associate
Senior Staff Attorney
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Jorge Errandonea Medín is a staff attorney at the Registry of the Inter-Amercan Court of Human Rights (IACHR). Jorge holds a Juris Doctor degree (University of the Republic, Uruguay), an LLM in International Relations (University of the Republic, Uruguay), and a MSc in Human Sciences (Institute of Latin American Studies (IHEAL), France). His research lies on the intersection between international law, Pubic Policies, and Political Sciences, and relates to the role of international human rights organs such as the IACHR in the context of transitions, democratisation processes, and the aftermath of non-international conflicts.
Alicia Ely Yamin
Research Leader, Health and Human Rights
Professor on Global Health and Population
Alicia Ely Yamin is Adjunct Lecturer on Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as an affiliate of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, she is Senior Fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, and Senior Advisor on Human Rights at Partners in Health. Trained in both Law and Public Health at Harvard, Alicia's 25+ year career at the intersection of global health and human rights has bridged academia and activism, as well as law and global health and development. Alicia has lived and worked in Latin America and East Africa for half of her professional life, working with and through local advocacy organisations. Alicia holds a PhD in Law (Harvard University) and a Master in Law and Public Health (Harvard University).
Research Leader, Natural Resources and Human Rights
Senior Research Fellow
Jivan Dasgupta started his professional career as a lawyer at the Brussels bar. In 2012 he joined the Office of the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Consumer Affairs and the North Sea at that time to serve as advisor to the Minister for energy and maritime transport policy. Subsequently, he acted as legal advisor to a number of private companies active in renewable energy, waste treatment and the development of maritime infrastructures and industrial zones. In 2017 Jivan Dasgupta joined Ghent University as research fellow. He is carrying out research on human rights law and the regulatory framework on deep sea mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction and marine litter. Jivan works under the supervision of Prof. Haeck. Jivan studied Law at Ghent University (Master in Law, 2007) and European Law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Advanced Master in European Law, 2008).
Hannah Ghulam Farag
Hannah Ghulam Farag is an LLM student at Cambridge University and a Committee member of the Cambridge University Society for Women Lawyers. Prior to this, Hannah has been a Student Research Assistant at the Department of European, Public and International Law and the Human Rights Rights of Ghent University (2017; 2019). She also worked as a Summer Intern at the Council for Alien Law Litigation (Brussels) (2019) and Progress Lawyers Network (Antwerp) (2018-2019). Besides, Hannah has been a Volunteer at the Werkgroep Vluchtelingen/Working Group for Refugees Ghent (2019), Campagne Rosa (2019), Students 4 Climate (2018–2019), and has taken the Legal Clinic Human Rights (2019) and participated in the Belgian Jeugd Parlement Jeunesse (Youth Parliament) (2015–2018). She holds a Master of Laws (Ghent University) (2018) and has taken the Advanced Course African Human Rights System in Comparative Perspective (University of Pretoria) (2017). Hannah’s interests lie in international human rights law and grassroots activism.
Academic Assistant, Ghent University
Evelyn Merckx is an Academic Assistant in human rights law at the Department of European, Public, and International Law. She holds a Master of Laws from Ghent University (2014). Evelyn assists Prof Dr Yves Haeck in the Bachelor course of Human Rights Law. In her PhD research, Evelyn adopts an intradisciplinary approach by studying the compliance of Belgian family law with international human rights law and children’s rights. The PhD namely focuses on children’s rights and child-friendly justice in custody and access proceedings during and after parental separation.
Research Leader, Human Rights and ICCAL
Senior Research Fellow
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Germany
Mariela Morales Antoniazzi is a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. She coordinates the Ius Constitutionale Commune in Latin-America Latina (ICCAL) project. Mariela studied law (summa cum laude from the Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas (Venezuela), and holds an LLM (legum cum laude) from the University of Heidelberg
(Germany) and a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from Goethe University, Frankfurt (Germany). She is a Referentin for Latin America at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg (Germany), and co-editor of ICCAL publications in Mexico and Brazil.
Senior Research Associate
Salvo Nicolosi works as lecturer in European and International Law at Utrecht University Law School, where he is also a Researcher within the Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE). Salvo is also a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM). Before joining Utrecht University, Salvo worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University under the supervision of Prof Haeck, where he conducted a research project on the Common European Asylum System and its degree of compliance with International Human Rights Standards.
Practical Assistant, Ghent University
Trainee Judge, Belgium
Hanne Ollevier is a Trainee Judge with the (2020–present) and a Teaching Assistant and Co-Coach of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court team at the Department of European, Public and International Law of Ghent University (2020–present). Prior to this, Hanne was a Lawyer at Van Cauter Advocaten (Ghent) (2017–2019) and Van Cauter & De Backer (2014–2017), specialised in all fields of criminal law, where she has been involved in the litigation of a number of high-profile violent crime cases. Hanne Ollevier’s academic interests lie in criminal law and criminal procedure, as well as international human rights law, with a special focus on the Inter-American Human Rights System. Hanne holds a Master of Laws (Ghent University) (2014) and a Certificate to be allowed to conduct procedures before the Belgian Court of Cassation in criminal matters.
Oscar Parra Vera
Senior Research Associate
Magistrate Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia
Oscar Parra Vera is a Magistrate of the Chamber for the Acknowledgment of Truth, Responsibility, and Determination of Facts and Conduct of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia. He has a Master in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Oxford and a Lawyer and Master in Law Theory from the National University of Colombia. He served as Coordinating Attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). He also worked as a 'Rómulo Gallegos' Fellow at the IACHR, and as a Professional and Research Visitor at the European Court of Human Rights (2013). Oscar has been summoned as an expert by United Nations mechanisms such as the Office of the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Health, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, and the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. He was a Visiting Researcher at Abo Akademi University (Institute for Human Rights, Finland).
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque
Research Leader, Human Rights in Europe
Former Judge, European Court of Human Rights
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque was a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights. Between 1992 and 2004, he sat on the bench of different courts in Portugal. Since 2015, he has been Professor at the Law Faculty of the Catholic University of Lisbon, where he teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, Penitentiary Law, Public International Law, International Law of Human Rights, and Philosophy of Law. He has published widely in these fields of law. He has also worked as an expert for the Council of Europe and the European Commission.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Ghent University
Gustavo is a Postdoctoral Researcher. He was born in Quito, Ecuador, where he practiced and taught economic law until relocating in Europe to pursue his Doctoral studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Law from Verona University, Italy. He has been a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany. He has been researching the legitimacy of different legal regimes that regulate economic cross-border transactions.
Senior Research Associate
Esther Theyskens is a Senior Legal Counsel at Van Steenbrugge Advocaten, where she works on topics related to criminal law, human rights, and sports law. Esther obtained her Master of Laws at Ghent University and an LLM in International Criminal Law and Human Rights at New York University. She gained extensive international experience in this field, including an internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha and the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York.
Mario Andrés Torres Gómez
Researcher, Ghent University
Mario Andrés Torres Gómez is a PhD researcher at Ghent University. Prior, he was a lecturer of International Law and Constitutional Law at the University Jorge Tadeo Lozano (Bogotá, Colombia) and Legal Counsel in the Prisons Group at the Faculty of Law of the University of Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). Mario has previously worked as a Legal Counsel in the Colombian Ministry of Justice and a researcher in human rights and criminology in the Centre for Socio-Juridical Studies (CIJUS) at the University of Los Andes. His interests lie in international human rights law, mass incarceration, and security. Mario holds a Master in International Law, a Bachelor in Law and a Minor in Literature, both from the University of Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia).
Research Leader, Human Rights in Africa
Director of the Centre for Human Rights
University of Pretoria
Frans Viljoen is a professor of Internal Human Rights Law and director of the Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. Frans is as an internationally recognised scholar. His research area is international human rights law, with a focus on the African regional human rights system. He has been involved in advocacy and training on the African regional human rights system and published widely on international human rights law, including International human rights law in Africa (Oxford University Press, second edition, 2012). He is the editor of the African Human Rights Law Journal. Frans holds the degrees MA, LLB, and LLD from the University of Pretoria, and the degree LLM from Cambridge University.
Johan Vande Lanotte
Research Leader, Constitutional Law
Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law, Ghent University and Minister of State (honorary title)
Johan Vande Lanotte is a Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at Ghent University, co-founder of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of Ghent University, and a Senior Legal Counsel at Van Steenbrugge Advocaten. In addition to being a successful politician for 30 years (1988-2018), including 13 years as Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, Johan has worked in projects related to Belgian constitutional law and international human rights law. He holds a PhD in Law (Ghent University), a Master of Laws (Free University of Brussels), and a Master in Political and Social Sciences (University of Antwerp).
University of Leuven
Martijn Vermeersch is a Research Fellow at the Department of Roman Law and Legal History of the University of Leuven (2020– present) and a Co-Coach of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court team of Ghent University (2020–present). Prior to this, Martijn worked as a Lawyer at Amistadlaw (Bruges) (2018-2019), a Teaching Assistant and Coach of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court team at Ghent University (2018–2020), a Legal Consultant at the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (Washington DC) (2017), an Advocacy Fellow at the Women Thrive Alliance (Washington DC) (2016-2017), an Associate Researcher at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the Washington College of Law (2016), a Co-Coach of the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court team at Ghent University (2014–2015) and a Student Research Assistant at the Department of Constitutional Law of Ghent University (2014–2015). His academic interests lie in the history of law (with a special focus on humanitarian law), international human rights law and migration law. Martijn holds an LLM in International Legal Studies (Washington College of Law) (2016) and a Master of Laws (Ghent University) (2015).
Aurélie Van Baelen
Academic and Practice Assistant
Aurélie Van Baelen is a Programme and Research Assistant at Transition International (Amsterdam), an international consultancy firm specialising in corporate social responsibility, conflict transformation, peace management, rule of law, and sustainable development. Aurélie is a Practical Assistant and an Academic Assistant at the Department of European, Public, and International Law and the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University. Prior to this, Aurélie was a Legal Assistant at Just Rights (Brussel), a paralegal at Defares (Amsterdam), and a Research Associate at the Public International Law and Policy Group (Amsterdam). She was also an intern at the Directorate of European and Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Brussels) and the International Humanitarian Law Department of the Red Cross Belgium (Brussels). Additionally, Aurélie has also been a volunteer and researcher at the Northern Rangeland Trust (Kenya) and Care for Wild Africa (South Africa). Her interests lie in international law, human rights, climate change, and international security. Aurélie holds a LLM Law and Politics of International Security (Free University of Amsterdam) and a Master of Laws (University of Antwerp).
Doctoral Researcher, Ghent University
Ligeia Quackelbeen is a PhD researcher at the Department of European, Public, and International Law. She holds a Master of Laws from Ghent University (2012, cum laude) and a LLM International Human Rights and Criminal Justice from Utrecht University (2013, cum laude). Ligeia specialises in international criminal law and human rights law. She participated in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition and the ICC Trial Competition, and interned at the ICTY for the Standby Council for Karadžić. Prior to her current position as an academic assistant, Ligeia was the main researcher for the Steps 2 resettlement project, addressing the challenges in information exchange connected to the transfer of prisoners in light of Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This position gave her the opportunity to deepen her understanding of European criminal law. Ligeia is currently preparing a doctoral thesis on the judicial interpretation of international crimes by the International Criminal Court and how certain interpretative practices conflict with the legality principle.
Pedro A. Villareal
Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
Pedro A. Villarreal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and leader of the interdisciplinary project “International Health Governance”. In this context, he has conducted research on international and comparative law and human health issues, as well as its intersections with international economic law. He received his PhD in Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His book, “Pandemics and Law: A Global Governance Perspective” (published in 2019 in Spanish) was awarded the Prize for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Law and Social Sciences. He is also a Fellow at the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre (University of Groningen). He is a member of several academic groups, including: the International Law Association’s Global Health Law Committee; the Coordinating Committee of the European Society of International Law’s Interest Group on International Health Law; and the German Alliance for Global Health Research.
Kauan Juliano Cangussu
Kauan Juliano Cangussu is a Research Fellow at Ghent University. He is also a MA student in Human Rights and Multi-level governance at University of Padua and a lawyer. He worked as an intern in the Brazilian Public Prosecutor and Public Defender’s Office, where he provided legal assistance to vulnerable segments of Brazilian society. He has been Student Research in the Project Social Movements, Land and Citizenship in Juscelino Kubitschek Era, and a volunteer in the extension projects Refuge, Migrations and Hospitality and Popular Legal Counsel Movement, both from the Federal University of Paraná. He holds a Law Degree and is a History BA student from the same university. Kauan’s interests lie in legal history, legal anthropology and international human rights law. Kauan works under the supervision of Prof Clara Burbano Herrera.