Our work in Armenia

Our involvement in Armenia began in the early 2000s. Between 2006-2009, we collaborated with UNDP Armenia to implement a Sida-funded project designed to strengthen the capacity of Armenia’s Human Rights Defender’s Office to promote and protect human rights principles. 

As a result of recent developments, including the ‘Velvet Revolution’, the re-escalation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic, Armenia remains polarised around many human rights issues. Its human rights reform agenda faces delays and is insufficiently applied in practice. These unfolding developments highlight the necessity to build human rights awareness and compliance with international human rights standards. Nonetheless, a window of opportunity remains to design and implement policy and legislative reform.  

We currently engage with our Armenian partners through a two-year programme supported by Sida. Our programme seeks to increase the capacity of representatives from the judiciary, state agencies, academia, and civil society, to apply international human rights standards in ongoing and future reforms in the country. We work together with a range of local and international stakeholders. We also collaborate with the Academy of Justice to support human rights training of justice sector professionals.

Read about our work with the Armenian justice sector 

We work together with universities in Armenia to support educational human rights programmes. Together with the American University of Armenia (AUA) and Yerevan State University (YSU), we have also explored how to support universities with their clinical legal education initiatives. Additionally, we support Masters programmes in human rights in Armenian universities, says Zuzana Zalanova, Director of the Europe Office. 

Learn more about our work with Academia and Research in Armenia 

Our activities also bring together representatives of different sectors in Armenia. In 2021, we organized a workshop concerning cooperation between legal clinics and other actors delivering access to justice with YSU, AUA, and representatives from the Human Right’s Defender’s Office and civil society organisations.

Recently, we initiated the process of establishing a cross-sectoral platform, which would monitor cases of torture. This collaborative platform would involve prosecutors, investigators, ministry representatives, police representatives, and representatives from civil society. Read more about the cross-sectoral platform here.

Since 2020, we also have been engaging with Armenian participants through the Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP), developed in collaboration with Lund University. In this programme, we gather young policymakers, public servants, and civil society actors, and develop their skills in governing, giving them the opportunity to network and exchange knowledge. We deliver human rights training, which specifically targets young professionals working in government and civil society from Armenia and other countries in the Eastern Partnership region, Baltic countries, and Sweden. 

Learn more about our SAYP training

Meeting to support implementation of Armenia’s National Human Rights Action Plan 2020-22 held in Yerevan in December 2021.

Armenia Programme Staff

Zuzana Zalanova

Zuzana Zalanova

Director of the Europe Office

Phone: +46 46 222 12 57
E-mail: zuzana.zalanova@rwi.lu.se

Zuzana has been promoting human rights, good governance, and civic engagement in various capacities in Europe and Central Asia.

Prior to joining RWI’s Europe Office, Zuzana was in charge of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Ukraine with focus on civic and youth engagement. She previously coordinated rule of law programmes of the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) in Mongolia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, supported regional human rights and justice initiatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Europe and Central Asia, and managed the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, a platform of civil society actors from the EU and Russia. Zuzana holds a BA degree in Political Science, an MA degree in Security Studies, and a joint (BA and MA) degree in International Relations with a specialisation in Non-Profit Management from her studies in the Czech Republic (Charles University, University of Economics) and the United Kingdom (University of Reading).

David Eile

David Eile

Senior Programme Officer

Phone: +46 46 222 12 58
E-mail: david.eile@rwi.lu.se

David Eile currently works as a Senior Programme Officer responsible for various projects under RWI’s Europe Office, focusing on different forms of academic cooperation in Europe and Cuba. Since joining RWI in 2006, David worked with various human rights programmes in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. David has an MA in Anthropology from Lund University and is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Uppsala.

Jo Palfreman

Jo Palfreman

Programme Associate

E-mail: jo.palfreman@rwi.lu.se

Jo studied her Master’s in International Development and Management at Lund University (LUMID), and before joining Raoul Wallenberg was working with UNDP on disability advocacy and rights in the MENA region. She has spent several years working in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa with youth, health and education, and has a particular interest in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Josh Ounsted

Josh Ounsted

Leader of Access to Justice Thematic Area

Phone: +46 46 222 12 00
E-mail: josh.ounsted@rwi.lu.se

Josh is Head of the Thematic Area ‘Access to Justice’.

He previously served as the Director of the RWI Regional Office in Nairobi and before that as Director of the Institute’s Office in Jakarta. Prior to working for RWI, he worked for organisations including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights.

Read more: Our work with NHRI’s

Alejandro Fuentes

Alejandro Fuentes

Senior Researcher

Phone: +46 46 222 10 46
E-mail: alejandro.fuentes@rwi.lu.se

Alejandro Fuentes is a Senior Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), an affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Lund University (Sweden) and –since 2022, a Professor of International Human Rights Law at Africa University (Zimbabwe). He received his Doctor of Laws (PhD) in International law and Master (LL.M) in Comparative and European Legal Studies from Trento University (Italy), and Law degree from the University of Córdoba (Argentina).

His main areas of expertise are international human rights law, with focuses on regional systems of human rights protection, local governance, human rights cities, and sustainable development. Additionally, Alejandro’s expertise convers a diverse set of collective and individual rights questions including cultural diversity, identity, minority, indigenous peoples, and children’s rights.

Some of the foundational questions that currently engage his research are related to balancing potential conflict of rights and how regional human rights courts search for a fair adjudicative balance between conflicting legal interests. For instance, regarding indigenous peoples rights, essential questions relate to how regional tribunals find a fair balance between the protection of their traditional lands and cultural practises, and the interest of national governments to exploit natural resources, support sustainable development and protect environmental rights.

Alejandro also has extensive experience in developing and implementing international development programmes. These programs are aimed at strengthening institutional capacities in partnership with local stakeholders, including governmental institutions and judicial actors, across the globe. These initiatives have largely focused on the advancement of human rights education (HRE) in academia, including the development of clinical legal education (CLE) at partner universities. Alejandro is currently in close collaboration with institutional partners in Africa (Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe); Europe (Belarus, Poland, Armenia, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, and –of course- Scandinavian countries); and the Americas (Mexico, Colombia, Cuba).

For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile:


Maria Andrea Nardi

Maria Andrea Nardi

Affiliated Senior Lecturer

E-mail: maria_andrea.nardi@rwi.lu.se

Andrea’s research interests focus on environmental change and territorial transformations in rural areas of the Global South. Her fields of studies in environmental and development geography brought her attention to the conflictive dynamics between economic globalization, internal armed conflicts, unequal geographies of development and local livelihoods. Conservation and development, peace and conflict, and human rights are central to my current research interest. Andrea has many years of fieldwork experience in forest regions, particularly in South America. Her last field study took place in the Congo River basin in Cameroon´s borderlands with Nigeria, and she is now planning fieldwork in Uganda.

In the interdisciplinary research Andrea has been conducting from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and currently at Lund University -funded by FORMAS – she studies environmental change in Northern Uganda during and after the armed conflict and the policies put in place to promote peacebuilding and environmental protection.

Andrea teaches graduate and undergraduate students in Development Studies at the Graduate School of the Faculty of Social Science (LU), the Department of Human Geography, as well as graduate students in Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine (LU).

At RWI, Andrea has been involved in research capacity building activities in the Armenia, Zimbabwe, regional Africa and Belarus programmes. Within this, Andrea has taught qualitative research methods, and ethics, for human rights and HRBA to research cooperation with scholars and civil society organisations.

For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile:




Morten Koch Andersen

Morten Koch Andersen

Deputy Research Director, Senior Researcher

E-mail: morten.koch_andersen@rwi.lu.se

Morten Koch Andersen holds a PhD in International Development Studies from Roskilde University. His research interests are in the fields of human rights documentation, rule of law practices, public authority, corruption, torture and violence, impunity and discretion, and unequal citizenship.

He specializes in the interdisciplinary study of the nexus between corruption, human rights and development, mainly in South Asia.

The key questions of his research are, the paradoxes and dilemmas in:

  • The interactions between violent political organizations and their members.
  • The effects on impunity on individuals, institutions, and society?
  • The motivational aspects of choice making in corruption.

He has several years of experience as programme manager of development cooperation in relation to prevention of torture and rehabilitation of survivors – during and after violent conflict, and in places of detention. I have worked on institutional and legal reform, establishments of support systems, education of health and legal professionals, and of prison and police authorities. He has managed partnership collaborations in Europe, North, South and West Africa.

Currently, he advises national human rights institutes, anti-corruption institutes and universities on the relationships between corruption and human rights, and their implications for institutions, individuals and societies, in Africa, Asia and Caucasus.

He has previously been guest researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, senior researcher at the Danish Institute Against Torture. Currently, he is affiliated researcher at the Center for Global Criminology at University of Copenhagen, external lecturer in Global Studies at Roskilde University and teaches at the International Anti-Corruption Academy.

He has worked with the UNODC on the development of educational material on the nexus between human rights and corruption, and developed web-based educational material on corruption and human rights, and violent mobilization for high school education.

For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile:


Scroll to top