The CTI Secretariat supports the six Core States in realising their vision of global ratification and implementation of UNCAT by 2024, by providing policy, technical and strategic advice, and delivering an annual programme of activities of constructive dialogues, visits, capacity building seminars and technical advice to governments and other stakeholders. This work is supported by a roster of expert consultants, specialists and advisers, and they collaborate closely with a number of trusted partner organisations. The Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland, though its network is global.
Dr. Alice Edwards (British-Australian) is Head of Secretariat of the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI). She has held this position since January 2016 (see appointment announcement), providing strategic and policy advice to the six CTI Core States to deliver their 10-year vision aspiring to reduce and prevent the risks of torture and ill-treatment through the universal ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT), by 2024. Dr. Edwards is the primary facilitator of the CTI’s year-round programme of activities and conferences that enable government-to-government exchanges, alliance building, and valuable experience sharing and knowledge transfer. Prior to joining CTI, Dr. Edwards was the Chief of Section - Protection Policy and Legal Advice at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and has served in UNHCR field assignments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco and Rwanda; worked within the NGO sector in Mozambique and at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London. Dr. Edwards has also held academic appointments in law at Oxford and Nottingham universities, and continues to teach in her spare time. She is widely published and cited, with over 30 publications, and sits on the board of a number of leading journals. She is an Australian qualified barrister and solicitor (1998), and has appeared in a range of human rights cases as amicus including before the US Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice. PhD (Australian National University, 2008), LL.M in Public International Law (Distinction/1st class) (University of Nottingham, 2003), B.A, LL.B (Honours) (University of Tasmania, 1995), Dipl. in International Human Rights Law ( Institut International des Droits de l’Homme, Strasbourg, France). Speaks English, French and intermediate Portuguese.
Head of CTI Secretariat
General: +41 (0)22 592 14 19
Mobile: +41 (0)78 831 65 email@example.com
Gayethri M. Pillay (Seychelles) joined the CTI Secretariat in February 2021 as Senior Adviser and is responsible for CTI’s technical assistance and capacity building support on ratification, implementation and reporting for SIDS – Small Island Developing States, in particular in the Caribbean and Pacific which make up over half of the remaining non-States-parties to the UN Convention against Torture. She will also be overseeing CTI’s engagement with the UN human rights system, managing a range of regional seminars and conferences, managing CTI’s internship and consultancy programmes, and coordinating the CTI Advice Hub. Prior to joining CTI, Gayethri was Chargée D’affaires e.p and Head of Seychelles’ Permanent Mission in Geneva. Ms Pillay has worked in numerous capacities within the Government of Seychelles, including as Director of the International Law and Human Rights Unit, and as the Director of Seychelles’ National Committee on Trafficking in Persons. As a diplomat and legal expert, Ms Pillay has extensive experience in the national coordination and implementation of international human obligations. Ms Pillay holds a LLM in Public Law and Human Rights Law from the University College of London (UCL) and a LLB from the University of Kent. Speaks English, French, Seychellois Creole and Tamil.
Gayethri M. Pillay
General: +41 (0)22 592 14 19
Mobile: +41 (0)79 873 15 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Selg (Swiss) joined the CTI Secretariat in May 2021 ad interim. She will reinforce the team by providing technical assistance and capacity building support on ratification, implementation and reporting for Asian, European and Middle Eastern countries, which includes eight remaining non-States-parties to the UN Convention against Torture. She will also be providing expert advice to governments on all aspects related to torture prevention and the effective implementation of the Convention, including through the CTI Advice Hub as well as overseeing the development of CTI practical tools and managing a range of regional seminars and conferences. Prior to joining CTI, Ms. Selg has worked in numerous capacities as a torture prevention and human rights expert, including as the Adviser on Torture Prevention for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) in Warsaw, as the assistant to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Prof. Juan E. Mendez (OHCHR) in Washington D.C., as legal officer to the Human Rights Review Panel of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and as the legal and senior legal adviser to the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Ms. Selg has extensive experience in working with governments, international and regional human rights bodies, national human rights institutions, international and national non-governmental organizations and experts in the field of torture prevention, criminal justice, the independent monitoring of places of detention and related human rights issues. Ms. Selg holds a MA in Law (lic.iur.) from the University of Basel and a Diploma of Transnational Law of the University of Geneva. Speaks English, French, German and intermediate Italian and Spanish.
Senior Adviser (Interim)
General: +41 (0)22 592 14 email@example.com
Laura Blanco (Spanish) conducts legal research and analysis and provides advice on a wide range of matters pertaining to international, regional and national anti-torture legal frameworks, in support of CTI’s universal ratification and implementation efforts. She was recruited as Legal Researcher in February 2018 and was promoted to Legal Officer in October 2020. Prior to joining CTI, Laura was a consultant at London-based REDRESS. She also has previous professional experience at the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. Laura is a Spanish-qualified lawyer. Holds Master’s degrees from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona (UPF) and an LL.M. in Transnational Law from King’s College in London. Speaks Spanish, Catalan, English and French.
General: +41 (0)22 592 14 19
Mobile: +41 (0)76 284 47 firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlotte “Charlie” Diserens (British-Swiss) provides overall logistical and administrative support to the Head of CTI Secretariat and her team, ensuring the seamless functioning of the Geneva office. She also coordinates the logistical side of CTI’s major regional and Geneva-based events. Holds a university degree in French and Language studies from London Guildhall University. Speaks English and French.
General: +41 (0)22 592 14 19
Mobile: +41 (0)76 346 59 email@example.com
CTI Special AdvisersCTI’s Special Advisers offer essential advice and guidance to the CTI Secretariat, and also engage with specific States over a broad spectrum of technical and capacity building issues. Their deep knowledge and experience enables CTI to enhance its engagement and bolster the technical know-how of States on various aspects of UNCAT. If you would like to contact our special advisers, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org CTI’s Special Advisers offer essential advice and guidance to the CTI Secretariat, and also engage with specific States over a broad spectrum of technical and capacity building issues. Their deep knowledge and experience enables CTI to enhance its engagement and bolster the technical know-how of States on various aspects of UNCAT. If you would like to contact our special advisers, please write to: email@example.com
Abelwahab Hani (Tunisian) is a former member of the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) from 2016 to 2019, and is currently supporting CTI’s efforts to encourage ratification and implementation of UNCAT. He provides diplomatic and technical guidance to CTI and liaises with a selected number of countries in the Middle East and Asia, and advises on the inter-linkages between the international human rights framework and sharia law. An active human rights defender and adviser, he is supporting and monitoring the process of Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture implementation of the Tunisian National Preventive Mechanism. Mr Hani is a founding member and Secretary-General of the Tunisian Association of Victims of Torture in Exile, and a Board Member of the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). Mr Hani can be contacted in Arabic, French, English and Spanish.
CTI Special Adviser
Debra Long (British) has been working with CTI since 2016 on the development and drafting of a range of tools in CTI’s UNCAT Implementation Tools series, which exchange practical examples to assist States to implement the UN Convention against Torture. Debra is the Co-Deputy Director of the Human Rights Implementation Centre of the University of Bristol Law School, in the United Kingdom (HRIC), and a UK qualified lawyer who has specialised in the rights of persons deprived of their liberty and the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment. At the HRIC Debra works on a range of projects aimed at providing advice and support to policy- and decision-makers at all levels to strengthen the implementation of human rights standards and mechanisms to prevent torture and other ill-treatment. Previously she worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). Debra was closely involved with the UN negotiations on the draft Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and developed and led the APT's first global ratification campaign on OPCAT. Debra was one of the principal drafters of the ‘Robben Island Guidelines’ for the prevention of torture in Africa, which were subsequently adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in 2002. Between 2008 and 2015 Debra was appointed to serve as a member of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Expert Sub-group on Torture Prevention’.
CTI Special Adviser
Denise Campbell (Jamaican-American) is CTI’s New York-based, freelance Communications Adviser, providing strategic communication planning and writing services in support of CTI’s goal of universal ratification and effective implementation of UNCAT. Central to her role is content management, strategy and development as well as the creation and curation of CTI’s narrative, via traditional and digital platforms. She is also responsible for overseeing website design and development as well as the dissemination of strategic communication materials. Denise is a communications professional with 10+ years of experience crafting and sharing narratives for a wide range of global organisations within diverse industries including international development and relations, healthcare, financial services, philanthropy, pharmaceutical, among others. Denise earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from New York University, a Master of Arts in International Relations from Columbia University’s School of International Service and a Master of Arts in International Communication from American University’s School of International Service. She speaks English and intermediate French and Spanish.
The CTI’s expert team provides one-on-one technical advice to governments and national institutions responding confidentially to technical queries on a wide range of issues.