Mervat Rishmawi - Human Rights Consultant: Research, Training and Policy Analysis
Mervat Rishmawi, MENA human rights consultant, MENA strategic planning, MENA needs assessment and training Who I work with and testimonials

The following are the main organisations I've worked with. Please also see testimonials below from some of these partners.


Who I work with 

Human rights research
(in alphabetical order – not an exclusive list
  • Al-Haq, Palestine 
  • Amnesty International 
  • Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) 
  • Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), Switzerland 
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt 
  • Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers 
  • Higher Judicial Council in Palestine 
  • Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, UK 
  • Institute of Law at Birzeit University, Palestine 
  • International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), USA 
  • International Commission Against the Death Penalty 
  • IDLO
  • Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law
  • Open Society Foundations, Arab Regional Office  
  • Oxfam
  • Penal Reform International 
  • Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), Denmark 
  • University of Windsor, Canada 
  • UN OHCHR
  • UNICEF
  • UN ESCWA

Evaluation, needs assessment, strategy development
(in alphabetical order - not an exclusive list) 
  • ActionAid 
  • Amnesty International
  • Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF), Beirut, Lebanon
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt 
  • Cordaid, Netherlands 
  • Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF) 
  • European Human Consultancy, the Netherlands 
  • Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, Palestine
  • INTRAC, Oxford, UK 
  • MDF Training and Consultancy, the Netherlands 
  • Mu’assasat (multi-donor Secretariat set up by Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria), Palestine 
  • Open Society Foundations / Arab Regional Office
  • Oxfam Novib
  • UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

 
Training and lecturing
Most recent clients include: 
  • Amnesty International
  • Asia Pacific Forum for NHRIs
  • Association for the Prevention of Torture
  • Birzeit University, Palestine
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • The League of Arab States
  • Open Society Foundations, Arab Regional Office
  • School of Oriental and African Studies / UK
  • University of Essex/ UK
  • University of Nottingham/ UK
  • University of Lunenburg/ Germany

Testimonials (... being updated... Thanks for re-visiting later)

Mervat Rishmawi worked with the Arab Regional Office of the Open Society Foundations for approximately five years, initially as a consultant and then as Senior Policy Analyst. Her main focus was to strengthen the engagement of civil society with the League of Arab States. Mervat demonstrated mastery and in depth understanding of the human rights concerns and needs of the MENA region and intimate knowledge and network of organizations working on socio-economic and political developments across the MENA region. She is the go-to expert on the League of Arab States and its human rights standards and mechanisms. We benefitted greatly from Mervat’s experience and networks in the development of our strategy in the Arab Region, particularly in relation to the League of Arab States – a project she conceptualized and spearheaded in its formative stages. 
Ammar Abu Zayyad, Executive Director, Open Society Foundations, Arab Regional Office, June 2017

Cathy Keable-Elliott, UK
"Mervat has a deep and enviable understanding of human rights issues and of the Middle East and North Africa region. She is an extremely thorough and painstaking researcher, skilled at sifting through hundreds of pages of complex information to produce concise, lucid, well-structured reports. She is a delight to work with – good-humoured, flexible, patient and generous in sharing her knowledge and expertise."
Cathy Keable-Elliott, Writer and EditorMay 2017

Human European Consultancy, the Netherlands
"For an evaluation of the contribution of human rights 
projects to Dutch Foreign Policy objectives, Mervat evaluated in April 2012 five major human rights projects funded by the Netherlands in the Palestinian territories. The evaluation was part of an assignment of the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.  Mervat’s extensive network of contacts, her knowledge of the human rights situation in the Palestine territories and her expertise with regard to the topics of the projects (women’s rights, torture, children’s rights and a combination of issues) showed in the report she wrote. It provided an extensive overview of the context in which human rights organisations in the Palestine territories have to work, important insights in the achievements of the projects and the challenges they face. Moreover, the report was the expected solid and substantial input for the synthesis report of the assignment."
Marcel Zwamborn, Managing Partner, Human European Consultancy, January 2013

Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), University of Nottingham, UK
"Mervat Rishmawi is a Research Fellow of the University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre and has taken part in many Centre activities. She has served as a leading trainer in a series of capacity building courses on international human rights standards and reporting or shadow reporting to the UN held in Iraq that the Centre has organised for the UN for government officers and NGOs from that country. Mervat has also taught on the Centre’s short course programme, including presentations on the Chevening Fellows programme on International Human Rights Law that the Centre has organised for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In addition, she has taught on the Centre’s annual Summer School on the UN human rights system. Most of Mervat’s teaching has been based upon her experience over many years of NGO work in the UN human rights system and with the League of Arab States. As well as her capacity building and other teaching for the Centre, Mervat has acted as a consultant for the Centre on Middle Eastern human rights projects and has contributed articles on the Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights for the Centre’s Human Rights Law Review. All of these activities make Mervat an invaluable Research Fellow for the Centre and confirm her reputation as one of the leading experts on human rights in the Arab World."
Professor David Harris, Director, HRLC, February 2012
 
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
“Mervat Rishmawi has made important contributions and provided key guidance to the work of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. Mervat has extensively worked with CIHRS on exploring the different human rights institutional initiatives at the League of Arab States. Additionally, she provided a strong basis and foundation on which to improve and adopt our work on the international and regional level through CIHRS' International Advocacy Program, the largest program of its kind in the Arab region. The insights and guidance she gave demonstrated such a strong level of expertise in human rights and humanitarian affairs in both the Arab region and on an international level that CIHRS asked Ms. Rishmawi to become a Board Member of our International Advocacy Program. We are very glad that she chose to take up the position and believe her insights and consultation has been and will continue to be of great importance to the development and improvement of our organization. Mervat has a unique knowledge of the legal and socio-political dynamics in the Middle East. Her legal and on the ground experiences with Palestinian, Arab and International NGOs working on the Middle East qualifies her to be one of the unique international experts on both civil and political as well as economic, social and culture rights pertaining to this region.” 
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, December 2011
 
Arab Human Rights Fund, Lebanon
 “I ‘met’ Mervat Rishmawi through a document. It was a thoughtful and thorough evaluation of the Arab Human Rights Fund, with excellent recommendations, which I was brought in to implement. Guided by her outstanding work, the staff and I worked over the course of nine months to introduce the changes she recommended. The staff, the Board and I remain grateful to Ms. Rishmawi for her astute assessment of the Fund's needs and potentials.” 
Mona YounesInterim Executive DirectorDecember 2011
 
“I've worked with Mervat a number of times over the past 20 years, from the beginnings at Al-Haq in Palestine, and most recently when we asked her to assess our progress at the Arab Human Rights Fund. She provides an astute and grounded analysis informed by her knowledge of human rights law at the theoretical and practical levels, by her knowledge of the Arab region and by her personal and deep commitment to human rights.” 
Fateh Azzam, Founder and current Chair of the Board of TrusteesNovember 2011
 
MDF Training & Consultancy, the Netherlands
“Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Creative. Mervat is a conscientious researcher. She is very strong analytically, has an eye for political and social processes and has a critical mind. Thus the report she wrote was well-researched, well balanced and provided many interesting insights. Her recommendations in the report reflected this and were highly-valued.”
Jan De VriesFebruary 2011
 
Amnesty International, UK
“I have worked with Mervat on country human rights issues in the Middle East and North Africa and on thematic issues such as the use of children as soldiers and abolition of the death penalty. Mervat is very committed to the cause of human rights and is an excellent lobbyist.” 
Martin Macpherson, Director, Legal and International Organisations Program, March 2010
 
“Mervat and I, working in the same team (legal advisers) within the same program (Amnesty International’s International and Legal Organizations Program) have often collaborated on issues ranging from internment in Iraq to litigation on blasphemy laws in Indonesia. We have also sat in numerous meetings together, to discuss matters ranging from litigation to the future structure of Amnesty International’s legal department. I cannot recommend Mervat enough. She is professional, knowledgeable, dedicated and hard-working. She has literally managed to change the human rights map of the Middle East through her concerted efforts on behalf of Amnesty International at the Arab League and working with human rights NGOs, governments, international bodies and concerned individuals. Mervat’s professionalism was combined with a warm and friendly approach to her colleagues, regardless of their status within the organization. This made it not only professionally rewarding but also fun to work with her. Today is her last day of work, and I know I shall miss her sorely, although I have no doubt we will collaborate in the future as well. In a word, if you are presented with an opportunity to benefit from Mervat’s knowledge and experience – grab it!" 
Dr Yuval Ginbar, Legal Advisor, March 2010
 
“Mervat is an exceptionally talented human rights expert. She has a rare combination of expertise in human rights issues and law in the Arab region as well as extensive international experience. I worked with Mervat for several years and she was always a very reliable and collegiate colleague. She pays great attention to detail and is very thorough in all her work. I very highly recommend her.” 
Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of the Refugee and Migrants' Rights Team, June 2010
 
Birzeit University, Palestine
“I have first worked with Mervat when we both were at Al-Haq, starting 1992. Mervat joined Al-Haq few years earlier, and was my mentor. But I have also worked with Mervat more recently, as I joined Birzeit. Mervat has written the Karamah team a thorough paper on human dignity as is embodied in a large number of international human rights instruments. Mervat has always demonstrated commitment to furthering respect for human rights, not only for her people, but internationally as well. I learned a lot from and enjoyed working with Mervat over the last two decades or so. Mervat has given a lot to her country and humanity and I am confident her ability to give has grown even more over the years.”
Dr. Mustafa Mari, Curriculum Development OfficerMarch 2010
  
University of Glasgow, UK
“I can give Mervat Rishmawi my highest recommendation. I have worked with Mervat when she was a member of the Executive Board of the International Service for Human Rights and I was its legal advisor. She is highly intelligent, efficient and possess a profound understand of and commitment to international human rights. Mervat's experience in international human rights is vast and her reputation as a human rights defender and advocate is outstanding.” 
Dr. James Sloan, Lecturer, March 2010
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