ABOUT US

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights

is an international, human rights capacity-building organization that works side by side with activists in Latin America to enhance their ability to promote and protect the human rights of marginalized and vulnerable people who suffer from discrimination based on their national or ethnic origin, their sexual orientation or gender identity. We strengthen grassroots organizations, helping them to become political actors able to promote structural changes in the countries where we work. Our methodology consists of providing technical assistance in order to help our partners monitor and document human rights abuses and increase their advocacy capacity at the national, regional and international levels.

Our Work

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights exists to:
Document and expose human rights and labor violations relating to racial discrimination or discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to advocate for legal and policy reform at the national level, to use strategic litigation at the regional and international level and to engage the international community on critical human rights issues, including at the United Nations and regional bodies.

Our Principles

The Human Rights culture is formed by individuals whose rights are threatened, violated, and are otherwise non-existent. We believe that social change begins at the local level and is strengthened through the alliances between people and organizations that share the same necessities, values and experiences. Our work is guided by the principles of equality in diversity and the goal of making sustainable structural changes for the long term.

Our Vision

Our vision is an equal society for all based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one without racial, ethnic or gender discrimination, or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Our Mission

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights challenges discrimination, inequality and injustice and amplifies the new voices of local activists in Latin America to promote, protect, and fulfill human rights.

Seek justice for victims of human rights abuses.

Work to promote racial, ethnic and gender equality, and to promote the rights of people who face discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Help to empower individuals and communities to achieve structural changes.

Strengthen the capacity of our partners to monitor and document human rights abuses and to make recommendations at the national, regional and international level.

Our Team

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CARLOS QUESADA

Executive Director and Founder of the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. Until October 2014 Carlos was Global Rights’ Director of the Ethnic and Racial Equality Program/Advisor on the Rights of LGBTI people. He is trained as a journalist and a lawyer. Carlos is working to combat racial and ethnic discrimination and discrimination based on a different sexual orientation and gender identity in the Americas and in some countries in Africa. He has 25 years of experience working before the Organization of American States and its different bodies, including the Inter-American Human Rights Protection System, the Summit of the Americas Process, the General Assembly and the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs. He conducts trainings, offers technical assistance and monitors the UN system.

Carlos worked for the Commission for the Defense of the Human Rights in Central America (CODEHUCA) as an Advocacy Director and he was the Latin America Program Officer for Penal Reform International.

He holds a B.A. in Mass Media and a Law Degree (J.D.) from the Universidad de Costa Rica. He also obtained an M.A. in Human Rights from the United Nations University for Peace.

Quesada@raceandequality.org

Program Staff

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Christina M. Fetterhoff

Christina M. Fetterhoff is the Senior Legal Program Officer for Latin America at the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In this role, Christina works with human rights defenders in Latin America to build their capacity in international advocacy and litigation through innovative training programs.

Christina was previously a Fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, where she was responsible for litigation and advocacy before the Inter-American System human rights mechanisms on issues of violence against women, racial discrimination, freedom of expression, and the right to a nationality. Her interest in social justice issues in Latin America has led her to study transitional justice in Argentina, intern with an indigenous rights organization in Ecuador, and eventually become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. While there, Christina worked with community leaders to expand local government services, especially for women and children.

Christina received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where she specialized in international human rights law and gender issues, and also holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. She is admitted to practice law in the state of New York.

Fetterhoff@raceandequality.org

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Elvia Duque

Elvia Duque is Latin America Program Officer at the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. She works on advocacy projects before the Organization of American States, principally in favor of the ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance.

Previously, Elvia worked for many years as the International Affairs Director at the organization Afroamérica XXI. In this role, she advocated for the Afro-Latino population and was the coordinator of many international projects for Afro-Latinos. Also, along with the organization Global Rights – Partners for Justice, she was one of the Afro-Latino leaders who helped to advocate for the creation of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination at the OAS. As a member of different AfroLatino organizations she published numerous training materials. Also, Elvia is the author of the book entitled, “Aportes del Pueblo Afrodescendiente. La Historia Oculta de América Latina”. Elvia Duque studied Law at the Universidad Santiago de Cali, and was born in Cali, Colombia.

Duque@raceandequality.org

Caitlin M. kelly

Caitlin M. Kelly is the Legal Program Officer for Latin America at the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In this role, Caitlin works with human rights defenders in Latin America, focusing on the administration of justice in Cuba and the right to nationality in the Dominican Republic.

Prior to joining Race and Equality, Caitlin was a Policy Fellow at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she was responsible for providing legal analysis on proposed state legislation affecting reproductive rights. She also was the Helton Fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, where she assisted in litigation and advocacy before the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Caitlin also has experience working in Colombia, where she clerked with a judge in the Justice and Peace Tribunal and conducted a study of the Colombian transitional justice system.

Caitlin received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she focused her studies on international human rights and reproductive rights. She also holds a B.A. in Chemistry and Spanish Language and Literature from Kalamazoo College. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York.

Ckelly@raceandequality.org

Ana Victoria Bolaños

Ana Bolaños is a Latin America Legal Program Officer at the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In this role Ana works with human rights defenders in Latin America to support and strengthen their advocacy capacity at the domestic and international level.

Before joining Race & Equality Ana worked for the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) where she provided legal analysis and assisted in litigation and advocacy before the Inter-American System of Human Rights. She also was a Legal Advisor at the Myrna Mack Foundation in Guatemala where she worked on different human rights issues such as women’s access to justice, rights of LGBTIQ and transitional justice. Ana interned with the American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative, Minority Rights Group and Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

Ana holds a M.A. in Human Rights and International Politics from City University in London and a B.S. in Legal and Social Sciences from Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala.

Bolanos@raceandequality.org

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MAURICIO NOGUERA

Mauricio Noguera Rojas is the LGBTI Program Officer for Latin America at the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In this role, Mauricio works with LGBTI and other non-normative sexuality and gender activists in the region, focusing on the intersectionality with race, poverty and incarceration.

Before joining Race & Equality, Mauricio worked for the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia where he coordinated a team focused on the investigation of crimes motivated by victims’ sexual orientation and/or gender identity, particularly homicides, sexual violence, and other types of violence related to Colombia’s internal conflict. He was also a Fellow with the LGBTI Unit at the Inter American Commission on Human Rights before the creation of the current LGBTI Rapourteurship.

Mauricio has worked with Colombian civil society on strategic litigation of issues including same sex couples’ rights, marriage and adoption. Mauricio Noguera has a law degree from the National University of Colombia and he is candidate for a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute of Argentina.

Noguera@raceandequality.org

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ADRIANA QUIROZ

Adriana Quiroz is a Consultant and Colombia representative for the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In her role, Adriana works with human rights defenders in Latin America to strengthen and support their advocacy efforts at the national and international level.

A proud Afro-Colombian, born in Bogota. Adriana is trained in Clinical Psychology with experience in human management coordination, social coaching and project management. In the last eight years, she has developed methodologies to systematize experiences and best practices, developed investigative strategies, implemented social development projects with an emphasis on Afro-descendant populations and promoting the rights of the LGBT population using a focus on gender equality. She has worked on developing political advocacy methodologies that create protection mechanisms. As a psychologist, she has carried out psycho-social assistance, individual and collective therapy.

quiroz@raceandequality.org

Support Staff

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Alejandro Aguayo

Alejandro A. Aguayo is the Latin America Program Assistant for the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In this capacity, Alejandro works to provide logistical support for the Institute’s ongoing projects, as well as implementing daily operations tasks for the Washington, DC office. He is also tasked with exploring new techniques to improve the organization’s scope of reach, and new development opportunities.

Before joining the Institute, Alejandro interned at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, where he supported the Contracts and Grants department to monitor implementation of various regional democracy projects, including some in Latin America and the Caribbean. Alejandro monitored federal compliance measures and supported the procurement of goods and services.

Alejandro is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, having completed an M.A. in International Commerce and Policy in 2015, and a B.A. in Global Affairs in 2012. His areas of focus are topics related to human rights violations, democracy, and economic development in the Americas. Alejandro has research experience in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and his native country of Bolivia.

Aguayo@raceandequality.org

GETYE DAGNE MULAT

Getye D. Mulat is the Senior Accountant at the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. In this role, Getye directly reports to the Executive Director of the Institute and performs all the day-to-day financial transactions, as well as preparing periodic financial reports of the organization.

Getye has over twenty years’ work experience in the field of Accounting and Financial Management. Before joining the Institute, he worked at a publicly-owned enterprise, a coffee plantation development corporation, and in his own professional consultancy firm in Ethiopia.

Getye received his B.A. in Accounting from Addis Ababa University/Ethiopia. He also obtained a professional certification from ACCA, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, of the United Kingdom (UK).

Mulat@raceandequality.org

Diana Durango

Diana Durango is Communications Officer for the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. Diana handles the design and implementation of the Institute’s communication strategy, as well as the spreading of denunciations and promotion of human rights through digital and IN LOCO strategies, together with the Institute’s partner organizations.

Prior to joining Raza and Equality, Diana worked on Planeta Paz Project in Colombia, where she was responsible for coordinating the communication strategy of the Agenda Común para la Paz desde los Territorios project, through the use of activities, proposals and pieces of communication and education, as well as dialogue mediators and the participation between the project’s technical team and leaders of various social organizations in Colombia. In addition, Diana was content coordinator at the Centro Ático of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, where she coordinated the Institution’s communication strategy design. Diana has experience in audiovisual production assistance work especially related to documentary work.

Diana is a trained social communicator from Javeriana University in Cali, Colombia. She is a specialist in pedagogy from the National Pedagogical University of Colombia.

Communications@raceandequality.org

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Pedro Cortes

Consultant in Colombia for the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human rights, Pedro is responsible for offering technical assistance to our partner organizations on methodological aspects required to produce human rights reports that serve as advocacy tools. He also supports the Institute’s training and research activities in the region. 

Over the last 12 years Pedro has been involved in the organizing processes of the Afro-Colombian population victimized by Colombia’s armed conflict, in particular with the work of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (Asociación Nacional de Afro-Colombianos Desplazados, AFRODES). His contributions as researcher and activist have helped to strengthen national and international advocacy efforts that seek to improve public policy for the protection of the rights of Afro-Colombian communities. Pedro played a central role in supporting AFRODES’ first actions before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

Pedro is a Doctor of Philosophy – PhD in Political Science from Howard University (Washington, D.C.), where he attended as a Fulbright Scholar of the Colombian Program for Afro-descendant Leaders. His doctoral dissertation analyzed the international advocacy processes between 1990s-2015 related to human rights violations against Afro-Colombian communities. He holds a master’s degree in Political Studies from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a Psychology degree from the Universidad de los Andes; he received the degree of Specialist in International Cooperation and Development Project Management from the Universidad Externado de Colombia.  

Cortes@raceandequality.org

Latest News

Nicaraguan Delegation Meets with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
Nicaraguan Delegation Meets with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
February 13, 2019
The International Institute of Race, Equality, and Human Rights (Race & Equality) facilitated a private meeting on February 1 between 10 representatives of Nicaraguan civil society organ...
Brazil is the country with the greatest number of assassinations of trans persons in the world
Brazil is the country with the greatest number of assassinations of trans persons in the world
January 30, 2019
Washington, DC, January 30, 2019 – With a rate of 41% in the world ranking of assassinations of trans persons, Brazil has become the country that kills the most individuals with this gender
14 Afro-descendant, indigenous, and campesino leaders assassinated during the first month of 2019
14 Afro-descendant, indigenous, and campesino leaders assassinated during the first month of 2019
January 29, 2019
Bogota, Colombia.  January 29 2019. The International Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights (Race & Equality) expresses profound concern regarding the alarming number of grassroo