Ðorđe’s relationship with the ERRC dates back to 2001. Jovanović’s family instilled in him an abiding aversion to fascism, racism, and other forms of injustice. Motivated by his relatives’ experiences of torture, forced labour, and, in some cases, extermination in Nazi concentration and death camps, Jovanović has dedicated his professional life to working for the emancipation of his fellow Roma. Jovanović is also openly gay and is particularly interested in the intersectional forms of discrimination many Roma face. He holds a university degree in preschool education and completed Romology studies at the University of Novi Sad. He also studied psychotherapy at the school of Transactional Analysis (TA) and is a TA practitioner. Prior to being named President Jovanović was the ERRC’s Research and Networks Director.
Anna Orsos, Women’s Rights Officer.
Anna studied Human Management in PTE-FEEK and completed an international program in NGO Management, Advocacy and Public Campaign Facilitation at the International Peoples' College in Helzingor, Denmark. She worked as a regional coordinator at the National Educational Integration Network and at the Amrita association for integrated education of Roma youth. Her experience includes work with PHARE, HEFOP and many research projects. She joined the ERRC in January 2009.
Sophie Datishvili, Communications Specialist.
Sophie has 10 years of experience in journalism, working for the broadcasting and digital media in Georgia. As a reporter at Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Georgian service, she has covered political and human rights topics. She is a former fellow of Digital Communications Network. Her fellowship placement was CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Sophie Datishvili has worked for the Georgian feminist NGO Women’s Information center, where she served as the digital communications specialist and she is the co-author of several women’s rights campaigns in her home country. Sophie is a blogger writing about disinformation in Georgia. She has master’s degree in Journalism.
Bernard Rorke, Advocacy & Policy Manager
Bernard has a MSc in Politics and Sociology from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a PhD in Political Theory from the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London. He worked as international research and advocacy director for the Open Society Roma Initiatives until December 2013. Prior to that he was director of the Roma Participation Program, and worked on Roma issues with the Open Society Foundations since 1998. Since the launch of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies in 2011, he has produced numerous reports, briefings and articles related to the process, and was heavily involved in civil society reporting on the progress of the Framework. He has also been involved for over a decade in advocating for the rights and wellbeing of Romani children; promoting access to early childhood education, school desegregation and access to quality integrated education for Romani pupils across central and south-eastern Europe. He currently teaches the “Roma Rights” course at the Central European University in Budapest. He is also editor of the ERRC Blog and is a regular contributor and commentator on Roma issues. He joined the ERRC in May 2016.
Dzavit Berisha, Publications Officer.
Dzavit has a secondary school degree as a miner. Due to the war in Kosovo he didn't have the opportunity to further his education. Since 1999 he is a human rights activist, working to defend the rights of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian refugees in Macedonia. He received the Human Rights Award of the Hungarian Ministry of Justice in December 2007. He joined the ERRC in June 2004.
Jonathan Lee, Advocacy & Communications Manager
Jonathan is a writer and Romani activist from South Wales. He graduated with a Masters degree in Middle East & Islamic Studies from the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. He also holds a BSc in Archaeology and Forensic Science from Exeter, and has completed studies in Arabic, International Relations and Anthropology at the University of Malta. Jonathan has previously worked with a Romani and Traveler liaison service in England, as an IT and systems design consultant, and as part of a film and media company focusing on arts productions and business media solutions. He writes in various publications on Roma Rights issues, and tweets @jon_j_lee. He joined the ERRC in May 2016.
Julianna Oros, Financial Officer.
Marek Balaz, Human Rights Monitoring Coordinator.
Marek has completed Master of Public Administration program at Central European University. He had previously worked for the ERRC as human rights monitor, served as a Decade focal point manager for Slovakia, project administrator for County Association of Roma Initiatives and also has experience as a Roma health mediator. He joined the ERRC in June 2016.
Senada Sali, Lawyer
Senada is the second child from a Muslim Romani family in Macedonia. Her personal experience as a victim of childhood domestic violence was her main inspiration in completing her BA in Legal Studies, MA in Constitutional Law from the Law University "Iustinian Primus"- Skopje and a second MA in International Relations and European Studies from the Central European University-Budapest. Before joining the ERRC she worked as a public notary assistant in a notary office in Skopje. She was also coordinator of “Youth in Action” projects at the Roma Youth Centre in Kumanovo. She did voluntary work as a street-law trainer at the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA), and was a tutor at the CEU Roma Access Program. She initially joined the ERRC in July 2014, as an intern. In January 2016, she was hired for the position of legal trainee. After a year of productive work on cases from all over the Western Balkans, she became a full-time lawyer in December 2016. She was the first Romani woman to hold this position at the ERRC. She focusses mainly on cases involving the death of Roma in prison, mistreatment of Romani children in correctional centers, and domestic violence against women and children.
Vivien Brassói, Lawyer.
Vivien studied law at Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Law in Budapest. She has acquired a strong foundation in the field of international human rights, which she has strengthened through participation in programmes such as the Roma Graduate Preparation Programme at Central European University, which she recently completed. Prior to joining the ERRC as a legal trainee, Vivien worked in trainee positions at the Romaversitas Foundation, the Autonómia Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations. She joined the ERRC in October 2016.
Hannah Crane, Administrative Assistant and Proofreader
Hannah holds a BA in Greek & Roman History as well as an MA in Classics & Ancient History from the University of Exeter in the UK. She has also studied Latin, History, and Philosophy on a Liberal Arts Programme at University College Utrecht in the Netherlands. After graduating in 2016 she began working at Oxford University Press, publishing academic legal texts in the Higher Education Law Department. While in Oxford she volunteered teaching English as a foreign language to refugees and recent immigrants. Hannah joined the ERRC in 2020.
Ethel Brooks Board Chair
Ethel is both the ERRC’s first Romani Board Chair and our first woman Chair. Ethel is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University (USA) and a Tate-TRAiN Transnational Fellow at the University of the Arts-London, where she was 2011-2012 US-UK Fulbright Distinguished Chair. In 2016, President Obama appointed Brooks to the United States Memorial Council. She is a member of the U.S. Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and on the boards of a number of journals and organisations, including the RomArchive and the USC Shoah Foundation. She holds a PhD from New York University and a BA from Williams College. Brooks is the author of Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organizing and Women’s Work (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) which received the award for Outstanding Book for 2010 from the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
Abigail Smith, Board Member.
Abigail is the Senior Director of Financial Planning at the Spencer Cox Center for Health in New York. She has extensive international experience primarily in public health. Prior to joining the Spencer Cox Center, she was the West Africa Regional Manager for pediatric HIV/AIDS programs at the Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative. From 2002 to 2007 she served as Director of Finance and Administration at Doctors of the World USA (now HealthRight International). Ms Smith’s for-profit experience includes seven years as Vice President at Cendant, Inc. an international consumer services company, and she served as Senior Vice President of Structured Web, an online marketing company. Ms. Smith has an MA and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Idaver Memedov, Board Member.
Marc Willers, Board Member.
Marc Willers QC is the Joint Head of Chambers at Garden Court Chambers. He specialises in human rights, planning and discrimination law with a particular emphasis on the representation of Gypsies and Travellers and he was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in 2011. Marc is the co-editor of Gypsy and Traveller Law, (Legal Action Group) and the editor of the Council of Europe’s handbook Ensuring access to rights for Roma and Travellers. The role of the European Court of Human Rights. He regularly writes for legal publications and presents seminars on human rights and other issues both in the UK and abroad.
Mirjam-Angela Karoly, Board Member.
Mirjam is Chief of the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues (CPRSI) and Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) since 5 December 2013. Karoly, political scientist by education, joined the OSCE/ODIHR in November 2009. In her professional career she focused on human and minority rights. From 2007-2009 she served as Senior Communities Adviser at the OSCE Field Mission in Kosovo, where she worked in particular on the rights of minority communities including the situation of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and on refugees and displaced persons and their property rights, return and reintegration. Prior to this she was active member of Austrian Roma civil society with work experience in the civil society sector and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Karoly is member of the Austrian Ethnic Council for Roma and Sinti at the Federal Chancellery of Austria and board member of the non-governmental organisation Romano Centro, Vienna.
Our Team in the Field:
Xhenson Cela, Human Rights Monitor (Albania)
Xhenson holds a BA degree in Law and an MA in Civil Law from the University of Tirana. He has worked since 2012 on Roma related issues in Albania, especially on defending human rights against forced evictions and displacement of Romani communities. In 2015, he moved to Budapest to study at the Central European University as part of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program, aiming to pursue a degree in Public Policy. He later graduated in 2017 with an MA in Public Policy. After finishing his studies, he started a 3-month internship at the European Roma Rights Centre. He joined the ERRC as a Human Rights Monitor for Albania in 2018.
Eugen Ghită, Human Rights Monitor (Romania)
Eugen holds a BA in Law, and a MA in European Administration, Institutions, and Public Policy. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Babeş Bolyai Cluj, in the Faculty of Sociology. Eugen has worked for over ten years with projects aimed towards helping Romani and socially disadvantaged people in Romania, through his work as a human rights monitoring expert and coordinator for a number of well-established NGOs. Eugen is also the founder and president of the Roma Lawyers Association – RomaJust, which develops incubator programs for solo, small firm, and non-profit Romani practitioners as well as providing information about how these programs contribute to enhancing justice through improved access to law. Eugen joined the ERRC in 2019.
Andrea Čolak, Legal Consultant (Serbia)
Andrea graduated in international law from the law school of the University of Belgrade. As an Open Society Institute fellow in 2004/05, she attended the undergraduate exchange programme at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, USA. She has been working on Roma rights issues since 2007 and from 2009-2012 was the Executive Director of the Minority Rights Center (MRC), a Belgrade-based human and minority rights NGO. During her work with MRC, she was involved in project management and monitoring implementation of Roma related policies and anti-discrimination legislation, particularly in relation to hate crimes, discrimination in education, health care and housing. She completed a two-year legal training programme at a law office in Belgrade and has experience in representation before domestic courts and administrative bodies. She joined the ERRC in May 2012 and is currently a legal consultant focusing on Serbia and Macedonia. Andrea is based in Belgrade.
Ion Bucur, Country Facilitator (Moldova)
Ion has a Bachelor's Degree in psychology and social work, specialising in the social inclusion of Roma in Moldova. He also has an MA in international law; his thesis was entitled “Roma Rights Protection at International Level”. From 2008 to 2011 he worked as a human rights monitor at the National Roma Centre in Moldova. In 2012 and 2013, he work on an OSF-funded project on improving the right to liberty and security in Moldova. In 2014 and 2015, he worked as a national consultant on inclusive education for Romani children at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Moldova. He is based in Chisinau.
Judit Gellér, Legal Consultant (Hungary)
Judit holds a BA degree in Public Administration from the Corvinus University of Budapest, a Master of Laws, and and an LLM in Children's Rights from the Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest. She studied international law at the Law Faculty of University of Leuven, Belgium and worked as a trainee lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Judit was a fellow of the Women’s Human Rights Training Institute’s programme for women’s rights lawyers (2013-2015) and a recipient of various research scholarships, including on children’s rights from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and the French Government. As a qualified lawyer, Judit is admitted to the Budapest Bar Association in Hungary. Judit is an experienced senior lawyer who has been leading litigation at national and international courts and legal advocacy challenging discriminatory practices against Roma in Europe. Judit plays a key role in litigating intersecting forms of discrimination in Europe focusing her work in particular on advancing equality and justice for Romani women and children. She has been working with the ERRC since November 2007.
Maja Nikolić, Human Rights Monitor (Serbia)
Maja became involved in Roma Rights because of her experiences growing up as a Romani woman in Serbia. She was discriminated against in education by teachers who thought her motivation to learn was a waste of time, as they assumed she would marry early. Maja had no support from her friends but succeeded anyway and is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Preschool Education. She is proud to now have the opportunity to help and motivate young Roma go to school herself. She has worked as a mediator in education with socially deprived and underprivileged Romani children and parents for six years. During this time Maja was also an activist working to improve living conditions for Romani families. She helped them find food, clothes, hygiene kits, and went with them to the social and health centres to ensure their rights were respected. She devotes special attention to keeping Romani girls in the education system so that they, like her, can reach their full potential. Maja joined the ERRC as a country monitor in November 2016.
Manjola Veizi, Legal Consultant (Albania)
Manjola has worked with different international and national human rights NGOs promoting equal opportunities for Roma since 2006. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in law and a MA degree in civil rights. Her relationship with the ERRC started in early 2009, when she coordinated the ERRC’s campaign in Albania for the adoption of an anti -discrimination law. In 2010 Manjola was an ERRC gender fellow. From August 2014 Manjola was a junior researcher, undertaking research on housing and segregation in education in Albania and Kosovo. Since January 2015, she has been the ERRC’s country facilitator for Albania. She is based in Tirana.
Michal Zalesak, Legal Consultant (Slovakia)
Michal holds a Masters of Law (Mgr.) degree from the University of Matej Bel in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia and a Master of Law in Human Rights with a specialisation in EU Law (LL.M) degree from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He was an intern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic in 2008 and at the ERRC in 2010. He worked as a legal trainee in a law office and for Ludia proti rasizmu (People Against Racism) as a project manager. He joined the ERRC in October 2012 as a legal fellow dealing with litigation and research in relation to the Czech Republic and Slovakia and was promoted to the position of Lawyer on 1 January 2015. In September 2014, Michal successfully passed bar exams to become attorney-in-law and has been working with the ERRC since February 2019 as a legal consultant.
Mustafa Asanovksi, Country Facilitator (Macedonia & Kosovo)
Mustafa holds a BA in English language and literature and completed an international programme in conflict analyses, negotiations and conflict Management. He is a human rights activist and has been working on Roma related issues for almost 13 years within grass root NGOs and international organizations. He joined the ERRC in 2009 and is based in Skopje.
Rosi Mangiacavallo, Country Facilitator (Italy)
Rosi holds an MA in intercultural and social citizenship and a BA in politics and international relations. She has worked for over nine years with Romani communities in Italy and Roma rights NGOs based in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. She joined the ERRC as intern in 2010. Since 2011 she has been working for the ERRC, based in Milan, Italy.
Hacer Foggo, Human Rights Monitor (Turkey)
Hacer has worked as a journalist focusing on human rights since 1991. Since 2003, she has been focusing on Roma Rights issues through different civil society organisations. She recently organized the opening of a study center for Romani children and a womens' center in her local Roma neighbourhood. Hacer was a prominent activist during the gentrification of Sulukule, Küçükbakkalköy and Kağıthane. In 2012, she played an active role in the formation of the Roma Rights Forum (ROMFO) which includes 60 Roma NGOs across Turkey. She is the author of “Kırmızı Püskül” published by Çivi Yazıları Publishing House. In addition to monitoring for the ERRC, she is also a constultant for the Çimenev Children Center. In 2015, she was chosen as an Ashoka Social Entrepreneur.
Volodya Navrotskyy, Human Rights Monitor (Ukraine)
Volodymyr Navrotskyy graduated with Diploma in Law from Zakarpattya State University, as well as an LLM in International Human Rights Law, and an LLM in European Business Law. He has worked as a human rights monitor and legal consultant with the ERRC since 2013 on housing, land, criminal cases, school segregation and other litigation. He is based in the city of Uzhgorod (Zakarpattya region).