Maryam Al-Khawaja and Pierre Avanzo appointed to ISHR Board

23.01.2015

ISHR is delighted to announce the appointment of Maryam Al-Khawaja and Pierre Avanzo to its global Board. The appointments further strengthen ISHR's commitment and connection to human rights defenders at risk and the organisation's strategic planning and governance expertise.

(Geneva) - The International Service for Human Rights is delighted to announce the appointment of Maryam Al-Khawaja and Pierre Avanzo to its global Board. The appointments further strengthen ISHR's commitment and connection to human rights defenders at risk and the organisation's strategic planning and governance expertise.

Maryam Al-Khawaja is Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and former Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. A dual national of Bahrain and Denmark, where she lives in exile, she is a leading human rights defender and activist working across the Middle East and Gulf regions. On 1 December 2014, she was tried and sentenced to prison in absentia in Bahrain in connection with her peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Her struggle for democracy and accountability in Bahrain, together with that of other human rights defenders working in Libya and Syria, was recently portrayed in award-winning film 'We are the Giant'.

Pierre Avanzo is a management consultant and a former Partner with McKinsey & Co, where he worked for 18 years across Asia, Europe and the United States. A French national, Pierre has a degree in engineering and an MBA, together with more than 20 years' experience advising companies, governments, foundations and non-profits on issues of strategy, governance and development.

Welcoming the appointments, ISHR Director Phil Lynch said, 'We are delighted to have Maryam Al-Khawaja and Pierre Avanzo join the organisation in non-executive leadership roles.'

'Maryam Al-Kahawaja brings to the organisation first-hand, frontline experience defending human rights and knowledge of the substantial risks that implies. Combining a deep commitment to the principles and practice of human rights, a well deserved reputation as an outstanding communicator and collaborator, and recent personal experience of harassment and detention, Maryam will help to ensure that ISHR's work remains relevant and responsive to human rights defenders at risk,' Mr Lynch said.

'Pierre Avanzo brings substantial experience advising corporations, governments and non-profits on issues of strategy and governance at the highest level. He is renowned for his disruptive thinking and his commitment to organisational development and innovation, an approach which we are excited he will bring to ISHR's expert board.'

The recent appointments further strengthen ISHR after former US Assistant Secretary of State Michael H. Posner was appointed to the Board in March 2014 and leading international human rights advocates Hina Jilani and Sir Nicolas Bratza joined the Board in 2013.

Contact: Phil Lynch, Director of ISHR, on p.lynch@ishr.ch or + 41 76 708 4738.