Judges of the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize


Eliahu Abram
Chair of Kav LaOved Board of Directors – Israel

Eliahu Abram has worked since 1991 as a human rights lawyer in Israel. He served as a staff lawyer dealing with the rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; as a Director of the Legal Department at HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, dealing primarily with the residency rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories; and as Legal Director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. In these capacities, he participated in arguing major human rights cases before Israel’s Supreme Court. He also served as Chairman of Defence of Children International – Israel Section. Since 2013 he has been active in Kav LaOved – Workers Hotline. In his private practice, he engages in criminal law and the defense of the rights of the mentally ill.


Maja Daruwala
Senior Advisor at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Maja Daruwala is currently Senior Advisor at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), particularly focussing on the Access to Justice Programme. She was Director of CHRI for twenty years, until September 2016.

Maya has been working to advocate for rights and social justice for over thirty-five years. A barrister by training, she is actively engaged in numerous human rights initiatives, and concentrates on civil liberties including police reform, prison reform, right to information, legal literacy, non-discrimination, women’s rights, freedom of expression, and human rights advocacy capacity building. Maja’s interests lie particularly in the area of systemic reforms. She works tirelessly to demystify human rights and simplify technical issues of law and policy, for a variety of audiences. She focuses on mechanisms to reduce the distance between the standard and the practice.

Maja has lived and worked in India, England, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. She sits on several charitable boards including the International Women’s Health Coalition, Namati, International Record Management Trust, Public Affairs Centre (PAC) Bangalore, The Multiple Action Research Group and the Media Foundation.

She is a recipient of the Nani Palkiwala Award for protection and preservation of civil liberties in India. Maja believes the only way to be optimistic about the future is to invent it!


Sukti Dhital
Deputy Director, Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU School of Law

Sukti Dhital is a human rights lawyer and the Deputy Director of the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU School of Law, a cutting-edge center dedicated to research, education, and advocacy on human rights issues around the world, with a focus on legal empowerment. Previously, Sukti was the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Nazdeek, an award-winning legal empowerment organization committed to bringing access to justice closer to marginalized communities in India. At Nazdeek, Sukti worked closely with affected community members and social movements to advance labor, food, health, and housing rights through a community-driven approach.

Prior to Nazdeek, Sukti was the Director of the Reproductive Rights Unit at the Human Rights Law Network, India where she assisted in securing landmark social and economic rights judgments including Laxmi Mandal v. Deen Dayal Harinagar Hospital & ORS, W.P.(C) 8853/2008, the first decision by a national court to recognize maternal mortality as a human rights violation and the right to survive pregnancy a fundamental right protected by the Indian Constitution. Sukti has also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project and the firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP. Sukti was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and lives in New York City.

Follow Sukti on Twitter: @sfdhital


Enrica Duncan
Project Director, Nossas – Brazil

Enrica is a project director at Nossas, a civic engagement laboratory in Brazil. Nossas has led projects on human rights, participatory politics and women empowerment through initiatives such as DefeZap, Meu Rio, Mapa do Acolhimento and Beta. Enrica is a political scientist with a degree from the New School. She has lived and worked in Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and Belgium before joining the organization in 2014.


David McQuoid-Mason
Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal – South Africa

Professor David McQuoid-Mason established the first law clinic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1973, and the first Street Law program in South Africa in 1986. He has conducted clinical legal education training programmes for law teachers and clinicians in South Africa, West Africa, and East Africa. David has taught in continuing legal education courses for the legal profession across Africa.  He has been a member of the International Bar Association’s continuing legal education panel for developing countries and has taught negotiation and mediation skills to law teachers, legal practitioners, and paralegals in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South America. He is an advocate of the High Court of South Africa and has authored and co-authored 21 books.


Maria Generosa Mislang
Alternative Law Groups – The Philippines

Genee Mislang obtained her juris doctor degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1997 and passed the Philippine Bar Examinations in 1998. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Science in Physics from the same University in 1992. In 2002, she obtained her Master of Laws in Public Service Law degree from the New York University School of Law. She spent her internship at the Ateneo Human Rights Center assigned to Environmental Legal Assistance Center (Palawan) and PANLIPI (an indigenous peoples’ rights NGO). She joined Tanggol Kalikasan (Defense of Nature, a public interest environmental law office) in 1999 providing direct legal services to community clients (fisherfolk, farmers, upland dwellers, urban poor, and indigenous peoples) affected by various environmental issues, and conducts community paralegal training and environmental legal education for communities, law enforcers, government agency and local government officials, lawyers, judges and prosecutors. In July 2018, she joined the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), a coalition of non-government organizations with legal program components that adhere to the principles and values of alternative or developmental law, as National Coordinator. She is also a lecturer on Environment and Natural Resources Law at the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law, Philippines.


Manolo Morales
Executive Director, ECOLEX – Equador

Manolo Morales is executive director of ECOLEX, an environmental law organization based in Quito, Ecuador. His training includes a Master’s degree in Environmental Law from the University of the Basque Country in Spain and an S.J.D. from the Central University of Ecuador, as well as other specialization courses on the environment in France, Israel and the United States. He served as President of the Committee of Environmental NGOs (CEDENMA) for two periods (2005-2009). He is also a member of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), of the IUCN Environmental Law Commission, President of the Inter-American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA), part of the Advisory Board of Namati (Global Legal Empowerment Network), and part of IDB – External Consultative Group (MICI). He has worked with public and non-governmental entities at a national and international level in activities related to the management of agrarian and environmental conflicts, legalization of land and political influence. Manolo has expertise in the empowerment of indigenous and other marginalized communities so they may participate the in legal processes that affect their future. He has also pioneered a movement to train community paralegals within Ecuador.


Faustina Pereira
Director, Human Rights and Legal Aid Services, BRAC

Dr. Faustina Pereira is a Bangladeshi Human Rights lawyer and Development Specialist. She is Director (on leave), Human Rights and Legal Aid Services, BRAC; and Senior Advisor, Strategy and Programs, IDLO (International Development Law Organisation), based in The Netherlands. She played an active role in the advocacy for the inclusion of justice and the rule of law as development goals within the global development paradigm, which culminated in Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.


Sebastián Pilo
Co-Director of ACIJ (Civil Association for Equality and Justice) – Argentina

Sebastián Pilo is Co-Director of ACIJ (Civil Association for Equality and Justice), a civil society organization that works to reverse inequality, defend the rights of disadvantaged populations and promote a better quality of democracy in Argentina.

He is a lawyer, graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). He has postgraduate studies on Administrative Law at the University of Palermo. He holds a Diploma on Transparency, Accountability and Anticorruption from the Human Rights Center of the University of Chile.

He has been working for more than 10 years on public interest law around constitutional issues and economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. He was a parliamentary advisor, university professor and he litigated numerous constitutional cases in Argentina. In ACIJ, he works on issues related to access to justice, community legal action, right to the city and right to housing.

Follow Sebastián on Twitter: @piloofkors


Uli Parulian Sihombing
Executive Director, Indonesian Legal Resource Center – Indonesia

Uli Parulian Sihombing, a former public interest lawyer at the Legal Aid Office of Jakarta (LBH Jakarta), Executive Director of LBH Jakarta 2003-2006, Executive Director of Indonesian Legal Resource Center (ILRC). Obtaining a Bachelor Degree in Law (SH) at the University of Jenderal Sudirman in Purwokerto Indonesia, a Master of Law Degree (LLM) in Human Rights Central European University in Budapest Hungary, a Master of Law (MH) Degree in Law University of Pancasila in Jakarta Indonesia. Doctor in Law Candidate (Dr) Law School University of Brawijaya Indonesia.

Follow Uli on Twitter: @ulisihombing


Rebecca Wood
Executive Director, AdvocAid – Sierra Leone

Rebecca Wood is the Executive Director of AdvocAid, a Sierra Leonean organization providing holistic support to women and girls in conflict with the law. Prior to joining AdvocAid in September 2018, Rebecca worked for BBC Media Action, the international development charity of the BBC. From 2013 – 2018 Rebecca was BBC Media Action’s Senior Projects Manager in Sierra Leone, managing a portfolio of national media and communication projects on a wide range of issues – from women’s rights and youth empowerment, to the Ebola responses and malaria behavior change. She holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict, Security and Development from the War Studies Department at King’s College London, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh.


Wanhong Zhang
Professor of Jurisprudence, Wuhan University School of Law – China

China’s Zhang Wanhong earned his Ph.D. in Law from Wuhan University School of Law, Wuhan, where he now holds the position of Professor of Jurisprudence. He has mainly been working on legal issues related to human rights, public interest, and civil society. The courses he offers include Jurisprudence, Comparative Law, Human Rights Law, Legal Empowerment Clinic, and others. He is the author and translator of a number of books, and has published articles in both international and Chinese publications. As the Director of Wuhan University Public Interest and Development Law Institute, Professor Zhang founded the Access to Justice in Rural China project. This project aims to provide citizens with access to relevant, effective, affordable, and independent legal advice and services all rural counties of Hubei province.