MENA Rights Group is a Geneva-based legal advocacy NGO working on the protection and promotion of universal human rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.
We are a multicultural and multilingual team of dynamic and dedicated individuals. We all share a deep knowledge and understanding of the countries in the MENA region.
MENA Rights Group is registered as an association under Swiss law.
Natasha Latiff – President
Natasha is the co-founder of and serves as legal counsel at Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights (SAHR), a legal advocacy NGO dedicated to advancing human rights and justice, which has supported individuals and projects in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Kashmir, Turkey and Syria. She holds an LL.B from the University of Warwick, an LL.M from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and she is also a member of the Singapore Bar.
Alistair Davison – Secretary
Alistair is the General Manager of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva, an NGO working on violence prevention and peace promotion. He holds an MA in Arabic and Persian from the University of Cambridge, and he is a UK chartered accountant, which has led him to work with a number of businesses and projects in North and West Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Alistair previously taught Arabic and English at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London.
Hans von Rütte – Treasurer
Hans von Rütte, historian and archivist living in Berne, has worked as an archivist with the Swiss Federal Archives and World Council of Churches. He has also taught archival science at Haute Ecole de Gestion, Geneva, and Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft in Chur.
Yahya is a Saudi Arabian human rights defender and the head of London-based human rights NGO ALQST. Prior to his activism, Yahya was an officer with the Saudi royal air force, during which time he became more attuned to issues such as poverty, unemployment and repression in the country, and began discussing these issues in online and public forums. Yahya moved to the UK in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in human rights and, as more activists were arrested in Saudi Arabia, he applied for political asylum in the UK. In 2014, Yahya established ALQST, which monitors and documents human rights violations in Saudi Arabia with the help of a network of individuals on the ground.
Professor James Cavallaro is the director of Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and the Stanford Human Rights Center. He received his BA from Harvard University and his JD from Berkeley Law School, and holds a doctorate in human rights and development from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Spain. James joined Stanford Law School’s faculty in 2011, prior to which he was a clinical professor at Harvard Law School, where he also served as executive director of the school’s Human Rights Program. His expertise derives from his decades of work documenting rights abuses, and advocating for victims and communities through a range of fora and methods. He has authored or co-authored dozens of books, reports, and articles on human rights issues. He served as a Commissioner on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2014-2017) and as its president (2016-2017). He is also the founding president of the University Network for Human Rights.
In recent years, Noemie has worked with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She holds a Master of Arts in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and an Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict, International humanitarian law and human rights from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Dr Ayça Çubukçu is an associate professor in Human Rights and the co-director of the Human Rights programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Before her appointment at LSE, Dr Çubukçu taught at Columbia University and Harvard University. She is the author of For the Love of Humanity: The World Tribunal on Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). She co-edits Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development, the LSE International Studies Series at Cambridge University Press, and the Turkey page of Jadaliyya.
Osman El Hajjé
Osman is the president of the Center for Human Rights at Al Jinan University in Lebanon. He is a former member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances as well as the Subcommittee on Human Rights and its Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. He also served as an adviser to the Permanent Mission of the League of Arab States in Geneva, the Lebanese delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights, and the General Federation of Lebanese Workers. Osman holds a doctorate in international law from the University of Geneva.
Noura is a Syrian human rights lawyer and the co-founder and director of Nophotozone Foundation, an NGO providing legal assistance to victims of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance and their families. The organisation was established in honour of Noura’s husband, activist Bassel Khartabil Safadi, who was arrested by Syrian government forces in 2012 and executed in 2015. Noura authored “Waiting…”, a collection of poetry and prose she wrote to her husband while he was detained. In 2018, Amnesty International named Noura among “8 kick-ass women standing up for our rights”.
Julia is an adviser for internet freedom at the German branch of Reporters without Borders. Prior to this engagement, she worked for over four years providing legal assistance to victims of human and labour rights violations in the MENA region. As a co-founder of MENA Rights Group, Julia worked on advancing the organisation’s lobbying and public advocacy efforts at the UN level. She holds a BA in Arabic and International Relations from Westminster University and an MA in Middle Eastern Politics from the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London.