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.


We:

01

Seek justice for victims of human rights abuses.

2

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.

3

Help to empower individuals and communities to achieve structural changes.

4

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 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 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.


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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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

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Christina M. Fetterhoff

Christina M. Fetterhoff is the 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

Pedro Cortes

Consultant and Representative in Colombia for the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human rights, Pedro is responsible for coordinating the Insitute’s activities in Colombia, which focus on strenghtening the advocacy capacity of Afro-Colombian, LGBTI and human rights organizations. 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 PhD candidate in Political Science at Howard University (Washington, D.C.), where he attended as a Fullbright Scholar from the Colombian Program for Afro-descendant Leaders. He is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation, a comparative analysis of the international advocacy processes related to human rights violations of the Brazilian and Colombian Afro-descendant communities. He holds a master’s degree in Political Studies from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and 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

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Laia Evia

Laia Evia is the Legal Adviser in Geneva for the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights. She is responsible for the Institute’s engagement and advocacy before the United Nations, especially with the mechanisms that focus on issues of racial discrimination and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Before joining the Institute, Laia was a Consultant for the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva, Switzerland, where she facilitated trainings for human rights defenders and also did advocacy before UN mechanisms mostly when Latin-American countries were involved. Previously, Laia completed a Legal Fellowship at the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice in New York City where she collaborated with the human rights and access to justice program with projects in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Before, she interned at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Mexican Permanent Mission before the OAS in Washington, DC.

Laia is a lawyer by training who received her LL.M. in International Legal Studies from Georgetown University Law Center with a specialization in International Human Rights Law. She also holds a Certificate from American University Washington College of Law in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Evia@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


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