IRCT Executive Committee

Lela Tsiskarishvili

Lela Tsiskarishvili

President

Lela Tsiskarishvili is the Executive Director of Georgian Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT). Ms Tsiskarishvili was elected as President at the IRCT General Assembly in October 2020.

Cristian Urbalejo

Cristian Urbalejo

Vice-President

Cristian Urbalejo Luna is a Social Worker and Philosopher. He currently lives in one of the few native towns south of Mexico City. He is the executive co-coordinator of the Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI). The CCTI is in charge of fighting torture and impunity in Mexico through medical-legal documentation of torture based on the Istanbul Protocol, providing comprehensive rehabilitation to torture survivors, and providing psychosocial support to relatives of the forced disappeared in the state of Guerrero. The organization has collaborated with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the World Organization Against Torture, the UN Office of the High Commissioner, Amnesty International, the Center for Justice and International Law, and participated in the session of the Committee Against Torture for Mexico in 2019. Mr. Urbalejo has participated in community projects with indigenous communities in the construction of processes of autonomy through the use of community radio stations in native languages as well as strengthening community identity through decolonial narratives. He has taught courses at the National University of Mexico on models of social intervention, critical social work, human rights and epistemology.

Debabrata Roy Laifungbam

Debabrata Roy Laifungbam

Executive Committee Member

Debabrata Roy Laifungbam (b.1954) is an indigenous Meetei from the North Eastern Indian State of Manipur, bordering with Myanmar. He is a public health physician who pioneered multidisciplinary services of direct assistance to victims of torture in the region, which has witnessed long term armed conflicts for several decades. The centre that he set up and leads has been a member of the IRCT for two decades. A passionate human rights defender and environmentalist, he has experienced torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including arbitrary detention, several times from State agencies since his medical student days. He has been closely associated with the finalisation of the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples (UNDRIP) by the erstwhile UN Commission on Human Rights of ECOSOC, and interacted with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and WHO, particularly on the issues of indigenous peoples' health and environment. Dr Laifungbam is the founder and Senior Director of the Human to Humane Transcultural Centre for Torture and Trauma in Manipur, a collective of over twenty human rights organisations, which he led from 2010 to 2020. In this capacity, he has closely interacted with the UN’s various thematic mechanisms, such as the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions, torture, violence against women, water and sanitation, and human rights defenders. He presently resides in his native State of Manipur.

Kathi Anderson

Kathi Anderson

Executive Committee Member

Kathi Anderson serves as an elected member of the IRCT’s Executive Committee. In 1997, Kathi co-founded Survivors of Torture, International (SURVIVORS) located in San Diego, California, USA. SURVIVORS’ mission is to facilitate the healing of torture survivors and their families, educate professionals and the public about torture and its consequences and advocate of the abolition of torture. She served as SURVIVORS’ first board chair before becoming its executive director. She is also a co-founder of the U.S.-based National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs. She has extensive experience in health care, human rights, refugee resettlement and higher education. She received from San Jose State University her M.A. in Counseling and from the University of the Pacific her B.A. in International Relations. Kathi is the recipient of many awards, most recently from American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties, American Bar Association Immigration Justice Project and the United Nations Association, San Diego.

Khader Rasras

Khader Rasras

Executive Committee Member

Pending

Robyn Smythe

Robyn Smythe

Executive Committee Member

Pending

Peter Kum Che Mebeng

Peter Kum Che Mebeng

Executive Committee Member

Pending

IRCT Council

IRCT Council

(elected in 2020 for the period 2020-2024)

Asia

  • Suraj Koirala, Nepal
  • Debabrata Roy Laifungbam, India 

Europe

  • Metin Bakkalci, Turkey 
  • Lela Tsiskarishvili, Georgia

Latin America

  • Cristian Urbalejo Luna, Mexico
  • Angelina Ospina, Colombia

Middle East and North Africa

  • Suzanne Jabbour, Lebanon
  • Khader Rasras, Palestine

North America

  • Lin Piwowarczyk, US
  • Kathi Anderson, US

Pacific

  • Jorge Aroche, Australia
  • Robyn Smythe , Australia

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Taiga Wanyanja, Kenya
  • Peter Kum Che Mebeng, Cameroon

Advisory Board Conveeners

  • Hana Hamzeh, Communications 
  • Michael Brune, Health 
  • Sebnem Korur Fincanci, Research
  • Mihiri Ferdinando, Resources and Sustainability
  • Pradeep Agrawal, Compliance 

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