8 November 2022, 14.30-16.30 - Room 11 – Palais de l’Europe 

Interpretation: EN/FR

Sponsored by France

Human rights defenders and activists often play a pivotal role in strengthening democratic institutions, keeping the decision-makers accountable for their actions, and, naturally, defending the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. Because of their important role, they often become targets themselves.

Who can protect those who are protecting others? How do we ensure that the principles of the Rule of Law are respected and preserved, especially in relation to vulnerable groups?

Lab 9: Protection of Activists and Human Rights’ Defenders
Palais de l'Europe, room 11 8 November 2022 - 14.30-16.30
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Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

initiative 1 initiative 1

GCC Red Notice Program - Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

BAHRAIN, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar (USA)

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) fosters awareness of and support for democracy and human rights in Bahrain and Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC).

The INTERPOL Red Notice program provides governments across the world with an easy-to-use tool to extradite suspected criminals for trial. Over the last decade, autocratic governments have used the Red Notice program to retaliate against dissidents, political opponents, and human rights defenders (HRD) in exile. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) developed a program in 2016 to fight INTERPOL Red Notices on behalf of civil society activists from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. The program seeks out and identifies persons who have been subject to red notices or diffusions. It then goes about collecting the evidence necessary to disprove the red notice, assembles that information into a 2 dossier, authors a complaint against the red notice in question, and files a request for removal with INTERPOL.




Deputy Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain


James Suzano is the Deputy Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), where he manages the creation of new projects, maintains donor relations, and oversees all of the organization's fundraising-related activities. He also manages ADHRB's European and Asian teams, coordinating work in Brussels with the European Union and Geneva with the Human Rights Council. He has previously served the organization as the Director of Legal Affairs and Director of the Washington office prior to his move to Europe. He has represented human rights defenders, political activists, and wrongfully-convicted death row inmates before the UN and other international bodies, fighting for and in many cases winning the freedom and safety of his clients. Before joining ADHRB, James worked as a professor, and has taught courses for the US military in Europe and in private schools in Asia. James earned his Juris Doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a member in good standing of the New York State Bar.

initiative 2 initiative 2

The Changemakers Program - Projets de paix de La Haye


The Hague Peace Projects (HPP) est une organisation pour la paix et les droits de l'homme sans affiliation politique, religieuse ou gouvernementale. Elle a été créée pour permettre aux défenseurs des droits de l'homme et aux réfugiés des zones de conflit du monde entier de se faire entendre. Le programme Changemakers fournit une approche holistique pour soutenir les changeurs influents à travers le monde qui représentent un réel pas vers la paix et le changement positif dans leurs communautés. Les bénéficiaires du programme sont des journalistes, des activistes, des défenseurs des droits de l'homme et des défenseurs de l'environnement en Amérique latine, au Moyen-Orient, en Afrique et en Europe.




Executive Director of The Hague Peace Projects

The Netherlands

Carlos Guadamuz, Executive Director of The Hague Peace Projects in The Netherlands, is an Environmental and Human Rights Defender from Latin America. Originally from Nicaragua, moved to The Hague in 2018 to work in the development of alternative methods for peacebuilding. He has been focusing on methods that rely on grass root action and support, rather than the current expensive and often slow top-down approach. After three years of intense work, The Hague Peace Projects has achieved great results in developing and deploying an inexpensive, yet highly effective approach towards peace building in countries with rampant violations of human rights.

initiative 3 initiative 3

Social Mediation Project to uphold the Rule of Law and Democratic Values - Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods (ICLAIM)


ICLAIM is a non-profit organisation based in Cyprus, established in 2017. It envisions a world where citizens, small businesses and the industry engage with applied research and creative legal solutions, widening access to rights and impacting society.

The aim of the Social Mediation project is to introduce SM as a conflict resolution tool to a broader audience, who can benefit from its application in their respective environment. It is applicable in social and professional settings, where large and diverse groups of people interact on a regular basis. The method is introduced through specially-designed training workshops, offered to the public, combining theory with practice, following a peer-to-peer approach, which offers participants a simple but robust introduction to tools that can be used to resolve social conflicts.




Professor of European Law & Reform at UCLan Cyprus and Founder of CSO ICLAIM


Professor of European Law & Reform at UCLan Cyprus and Founder of CSO ICLAIM, Stéphanie actively promotes fundamental rights and social justice in Europe and was awarded the EP's European Citizen 2020 Prize on behalf of ICLAIM for promoting European values on the ground in Cyprus via social mediation. She is a Rule of Law expert on the sustainability of rights & systemic challenges to Justice (Director of Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence CRoLEV); an ADR expert (certified Mediator, Arbitrator/Trade & Sustainable Development Expert at EU level); an AI and privacy expert (DPO). Senior executive in the Higher Education sector, multilingual and interdisciplinary, she is also a public outreach and legal expert.

Discussants Discussants

Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.


Benjie Allen Dela Pasion AQUINO

Youth Delegate


I have been an activist for almost ten years. I started with leading the student movement and now I am working towards a law degree hoping to focus on international human rights law when I practice. I have worked with a legal-focused non-governmental organization with a focus on providing legal assistance to indigents, human rights defenders, and seeking accountability for the victims of the administration’s so called “War on Drugs.” I also worked with a youth-led NGO focusing on fighting disinformation. As a young activist myself, I believe that our hope for stronger democracies rests on young activists who bring new and fresh ideas into the movement.


Esther Vongai ZIMUDZI

Youth Delegate


I am a representative of the majority in my society, which is fed up with the state of our livelihoods. Our voice as citizens only matters when it is election season. Thereafter, we are no longer governance entities . Coups, authoritarianism, counterproductive economic sanctions and rampant human rights abuses characterize our society. It is from this background that stems from my passion projects, which are centered on reconstructing the social contract between those who occupy positions of power and the masses. I am redefining democracy to not only work for me but also for those who are disadvantaged. I am stirring up good trouble by influencing a generation of democracy builders who are ready to dream, design, and create Africa 2.0! The WFD is providing a level playing field to engage , interrogate, and strengthen the argument of redefining our democracy.

moderator moderator
FONTANEL Marie 2022


Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Council of Europe


rapporteur rapporteur