John Packer is Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution in the Faculty of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa. He previously taught at the Fletcher School (Tufts University, USA) and the University of Essex (UK), held Fellowships at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, and has lectured at academic and professional institutions around the world. Over his 30-year career, he was an inter-governmental official for 20 years (UNHCR, ILO, OHCHR, UNDPA, OSCE) and has advised numerous governments, communities and other actors in over fifty countries. As a UN staff member in the early 1990s, he investigated serious violations of human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and Burma/Myanmar. From 1995 to 2004, he was Senior Legal Adviser then the first Director of the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) active mainly across Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 2012-2014, he was the Constitutions and Process Design Expert on the UN’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts and continues to advise UNDPPA in a number of situations. The focus of his research and practice is at the inter-section of human rights (including minority rights) and security, notably conflict prevention and quiet diplomacy, international mediation, transitional arrangements, and institutional developments at domestic and multilateral levels.
Dr Ewelina U. Ochab is a human rights advocate, author and co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response. Dr Ochab works on the topic of genocide, with specific focus on the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities around the world, with main projects including the Daesh genocide in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram atrocities in West Africa, the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and of the Uyghurs in China. Dr Ochab has written over 30 reports for the UN (including Universal Periodic Review reports) and has made oral and written submissions at the Human Rights Council, the UN Forum on Minority Issues, PACE and other international and regional fora. Dr Ochab has been working with several APPGs, including providing a secretariat for the APPG on Uyghurs. Dr Ochab authored the initiative and proposal to establish the UN International Day Commemorating Victims and Survivors of Religious Persecution. The initiative has led to the establishment of the UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief on August 22.