Biographies

CHAIRMAN

Krassimir Kanev

Krassimir Kanev

Krassimir Kanev was among the founders of BHC in 1992. Between 1992 and 1994 he was its secretary and since 1994 he has been chair of the organisation. He received his PhD in Philosophy from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and is a graduate of Columbia University, where he specialised in human rights.

He teaches courses in human rights at Sofia University and is also an instructor for human rights professionals and activists internationally for the Boston-based Human Rights Education Associates (HREA). He has also lectured at Plovdiv University Paisiy Hilendarski, as well as Central European University, University of Sarajevo and University of Oregon, Eugene. Between 1998 and 2007, he was member of the executive committee of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, based in Vienna. Since 2005, Dr. Kanev is member of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and between 2008 and 2010 he was its chair. As of 2006, he is board member of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, Geneva. In 2008, Kanev also became board member of the Public Interest Law Institute (PILI), New York, while between 2007 and 2008 he was board member of the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest. Dr. Kanev has participated in numerous international human rights monitoring missions in various countries in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. He has authored and edited many books and articles on international human rights law, interethnic relational sociology, law and education, aesthetics and logics.

Back to top ↑

PROGRAMMING AND ADMINISTRATION

Dessislava Simeonova, programming and administration programme director

Dessislava Simeonova, programming and administration programme director

Dessislava Simeonova has been the director of the fundraising and administration programme of BHC since 2008. Before that, she was the administrative director of the organisation. She develops a broad base of support working with foundation partners and supporters, and is also responsible for monitoring the committee’s various programmes. Other than that, she has partaken in fact-finding missions in prisons, child and elderly care homes. Simeonova has contributed to research on Roma social inclusion and the operation of equality bodies. Since 2010, she has been member of BHC’s general assembly and between 2009 and 2010 she sat on the jury for the annual Human of the Year award.

Severina Petkova, accountant-clerk

Severina Petkova, accountant-clerk

Back to top ↑

LEGAL PROGRAMME

Borislav Dimitrov

Borislav Dimitrov

Borislav Dimitrov studies Law in the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski". He is a graduate of Second English Language School "Thomas Jefferson". During his studies he worked in law firms as well as a volunteer legal practitioner providing pro bono legal consultations to asylum seekers in Bulgaria. Out of the office he is involved in voluntary initiatives helping refugees and migrants.

Radoslav Stoyanov, assistant

Radoslav Stoyanov, assistant

Radoslav Stoyanov is LGBTI equal rights activist since 2008. Through the years he dealt with strategic litigation in public interest in cases of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion and age. For long years he supports his own blog on LGBTI issues where he popularized educational and analytical articles on the LGBTI community, stigmatization and prejudices. In 2012 he received the special award "Activist of the year" during the ceremony of "Human of the Year Award" of Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. He is part of BHC's team since March 2013.

Back to top ↑

MONITORING AND RESEARCH PROGRAMME

Krassimir Kanev, monitoring and research programme director, chair of BHC

Krassimir Kanev, monitoring and research programme director, chair of BHC

Krassimir Kanev was among the founders of BHC in 1992. Between 1992 and 1994 he was its secretary and since 1994 he has been chair of the organisation. He received his PhD in Philosophy from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and is a graduate of Columbia University, where he specialised in human rights.

He teaches courses in human rights at Sofia University and is also an instructor for human rights professionals and activists internationally for the Boston-based Human Rights Education Associates (HREA). He has also lectured at Plovdiv University Paisiy Hilendarski, as well as Central European University, University of Sarajevo and University of Oregon, Eugene. Between 1998 and 2007, he was member of the executive committee of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, based in Vienna. Since 2005, Dr. Kanev is member of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and between 2008 and 2010 he was its chair. As of 2006, he is board member of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, Geneva. In 2008, Kanev also became board member of the Public Interest Law Institute (PILI), New York, while between 2007 and 2008 he was board member of the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest. Dr. Kanev has participated in numerous international human rights monitoring missions in various countries in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. He has authored and edited many books and articles on international human rights law, interethnic relational sociology, law and education, aesthetics and logics.

Stanimir Petrov, project coordinator, general oversight of closed institutions coordinator

Stanimir Petrov, project coordinator, general oversight of closed institutions coordinator

Stanimir Petrov holds a Philosophy degree from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. He has worked as researcher of closed institutions at BHC since 1997 and has been carrying out monitoring of the rights of the deprived of liberty in prisons and detention facilities, as well as children in correctional institutions and persons with intellectual disabilities. He works towards initiating reform in the practice of penitentiary institutions and lobbies for change of relevant legislation to ensure compliance with international standards for treatment of those deprived of liberty.

As a result of his projects, he has co-authored a total of 10 books, which focus on the state of human rights in different closed institutions. He has also contributed to the preparation of a large number of special reports and articles, including BHC’s annual reports and Obektiv magazine.

Dr. Georgi Bankov, senior researcher, specialized oversight of closed institutions coordinator

Dr. Georgi Bankov, senior researcher, specialized oversight of closed institutions coordinator

Antoaneta Nenkova, project coordinator, senior researcher of children institutions

Antoaneta Nenkova, project coordinator, senior researcher of children institutions

Antoaneta Nenkova  was one of the founders of BHC in 1992. She is a Member of the General Assembly and the Board of Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. Nenkova received her master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communicaton from Sofia University. She has 15 years of experience as a correspondent of the Bulgarian service of Deutsche Welle (DW) Radio in Sofia.

As a senior researcher for children’s rights, Antoaneta Nenkova has been involved since 2010 in the monitoring and analyzing of the process of the deinstitutionalization of children’s institutions. Antoaneta Nenkova is a member of the expert group Family and Deinstitutionalization of the National Network for Children. She serves as a country expert for the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project – a collaboration among University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, USA.

Antoaneta Nenkova is author of the publication Children in institutions – Homes for Children with Special Needs; and co-author of publications: The Archipelago of the Forgotten - Social Care Homes for People with Mental Disorders in Bulgaria; and Metamorphosis of the homes for children aged 0 to 3 years, 2014. She is also author of many articles in the press and radiobroadcasts of the Bulgarian National Radio and Deutsche Welle on Human Rights of the disadvantaged minority groups in Bulgaria. Nenkova has been awarded numerous prizes: prize of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); German – Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce; Paniza Prize for Bulgarian Journalists. She was nominated for the Robert Schuman Award, given by the European Commission. Her radio documentaries are included in the Golden Fund of Bulgarian National Radio.

Slavka Kukova, coordinator, senior researcher

Slavka Kukova, coordinator, senior researcher

Slavka Kukova is coordinator of the Legal Studies for EU Fundamental Rights projects. She has been researching children’s institutions since 2000. She monitors living conditions and opportunities for wholesome emotional, mental, and intellectual development of all children who live in homes. Kukova lobbies for the establishment of conditions for raising children from institutions in family or close-to-family settings. She has contributed to drafting of legislation and policies, related to the protection of the rights of the child. She is a legal graduate, with a number of publications on the rights of the child, the rights of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities, and the rights of prisoners. She believes that the recognition of and support for diversity leads to more wholesome life within all societies.

Kaloyan Stanev, researcher

Kaloyan Stanev, researcher

Kaloyan Stanev is a researcher in the “Monitoring and Research Programme. Kaloyan has a degree in Arab Studies from the Sofia University and at the moment he is finishing his MA in Human Rights in the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, as an Open Society Justice Initiative (2012‑2014) fellow.

Kaloyan began his work in BHC as a trainee the Legal Programme in 2010 and until 2012 he was an assistant there. He was also a part of the “Campaigns and Communications” Programme for a while. Since September 2013 Kaloyan is a researcher in the “Monitoring and Research Programme” where he takes part in monitoring and research of places for detention, as well as other studies on the rights of LGBTI people, child protection systems and others.

Adela Katchaounova, attorney-at-law

Adela Katchaounova, attorney-at-law

Adela Katchaounova received her LLM from Sofia University in 2002 and in 2003 she got a master’s in international and comparative law from Uppsala University, Sweden. She has worked in the European banking law field but due to her personal convictions and social commitments she joined BHC in 2012.

She started her work in BHC as a volunteer to the Legal Programme and continued to work as a lawyer in the programme where she participated in the work of several applications with ECHR for ill-treatment of children in closed institutions. As of October 2014 she joined Monitoring and Research Programme where she leads cases in the fields – conditions of imprisonment, rights of the child in closed institutions, juvenile justice.

She is a lecturer in seminars for equal rights of LGBT couples, and an author of human rights law articles.

Zhenya Ivanova, sociologist

Zhenya Ivanova, sociologist

Zhenya is a child rights researcher in the Monitoring and Research Programme of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and one of the main researchers in a project “Children deprived of liberty in Central and Eastern Europe: between legacy and reform”.

She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Political Science at Plovdiv University, Bulgaria with additional professional qualifications in Journalism. She further specialized in Leisure and Environments in Wageningen University and Research Center, the Netherlands, where she received her M.Sc. The topic of her diploma is a sociological research-experiment which concerns the perceptions of human relations of children growing up in social homes. At the moment she is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at Panteion University, Athens, Greece and her dissertation topic is also connected to children growing up in residential care.

Zhenya has worked with children growing up away from family and placed at social homes. She has created leisure programs and activities as precondition for better quality of care. Later on she obtained additional professional qualifications in Group Dynamics of Education – Мediation and Child and Youth Development Disturbance (symptomatology-valuation-intervention). She is interested in European Union policies concerning children’s problems, rights and practices for their successful personal development. She is a member of Quality for Children (Q4C), quality standards for out-of-home child and youth care in Europe, Greece. Zhenya takes part in scientific conferences concerning children at risk and she is an author in a number of articles about children and youth. She created several qualitative sociological researches, one of which is an international research, case study with the participation of social homes for children from Bulgaria, Greece and The Netherlands.

Dilyana Angelova, lawyer and researcher

Dilyana Angelova, lawyer and researcher

Dilyana Angelova has graduated with a law degree from the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in 2009. Then she specialized European Human Rights Law in Aarhus and International and European Public Law in Rotterdam. Alongside, Dilyana worked actively in the NGO sector, developing expertise in the fields of rule of law, human rights protection and access to justice. In the period from 2010 to 2012 she was the coordinator for Bulgaria of a regional project for Roma rights protection, prevention and promotion.

Dilyana joined Bulgarian Helsinki Committee in 2013 where she currently works as a researcher of closed institutions for children. Besides, she conducts legal researcher and analysis on other topics, cases and projects related to the work of the Monitoring and Research Program.

Back to top ↑

CAMPAIGNS AND COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAMME

Svetla Baeva, Director of "Communications and Campaigns" program

Svetla Baeva, Director of "Communications and Campaigns" program

Svetla completed a double degree in European studies and Communications, after which she specialized in International Relations and Political Science in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She has worked as a Project manager and Media analyst in the preparation of reports analyzing traditional and social media trends on various topics for international organizations, governments and the private sector. She is interested in the problematics surrounding refugee integration in Bulgaria and Europe and is an active volunteer at the Integration Center in Sofia.

Radostina Georgieva

Radostina Georgieva

Radostina Georgieva has a Double Master’s Degree in Euroculture from Uppsala University, Sweden and Strasbourg University, France. Her academic work focuses on European integration, law, politics and sociology. Her Master’s thesis explores the role of Bulgarian media in creating negative attitudes towards ethnic minorities. From 2012 to 2015 she worked for the city of Plovdiv’s successful bid for European Capital of Culture where she developed social and cultural projects. She became part of BHC’s team in August 2015.

Radoslav Stoyanov, analysis and communications expert

Radoslav Stoyanov, analysis and communications expert

Radoslav Stoyanov is LGBTI equal rights activist since 2008. Through the years he dealt with strategic litigation in public interest in cases of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion and age. For long years he supports his own blog on LGBTI issues where he popularized educational and analytical articles on the LGBTI community, stigmatization and prejudices. In 2012 he received the special award "Activist of the year" during the ceremony of "Human of the Year Award" of Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. He is part of BHC's team since March 2013.

Raya Raeva

Raya Raeva

Raya Raeva is a final year undergraduate student pursuing her bachelor's in philosophy. She is also an editor-in-chief at Banitza.net. In her spare time she is engaged with various volunteer and civic initiatives at the NGO sector, also interested in digital media in information society. member of BHC's team since April 2016.

Andrey Getov, multimedia producer

Andrey Getov, multimedia producer

Andrey graduated from First English Language School Sofia and  received an “International Relations” MA degree from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Later he completed his “Film and Television Art” MA studies at New Bulgarian University.

His short fiction films "Rebellion", “Magicians” and "Zero Street" participated in various film festivals around the globe, with "Magicians" winning the Best Bulgarian Short Film Award of Filmini 3.0 and the Best Fiction Video Award of the Black & White Audiovisual Festival in Porto.

Andrey has also directed two documentaries: "GÖÇ - stepping across the border" (in collaboration with Irina Nedeva and Daniela Gorcheva) and "Seeing You" (in collaboration with Yana Buhrer Tavanier and Stefan Krastev).

Yana Buhrer Tavanier, Advisor

Yana Buhrer Tavanier, Advisor

Yana Buhrer Tavanier started work at the BHC in December 2009, when she headed the newly founded Campaigns and Communications Programme. Since March 2014 she is Advisor to the Chair, responsible for the special projects of the organization. Previously Yana was "Social Issues" editor of Capital Weekly (2003—2008). She has won numerous Bulgarian and international journalism awards. Yana is a TED Senior Fellow (2014—1016) and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (2012—2017).

Back to top ↑

REFUGEE AND MIGRANT PROGRAMME

Iliana Savova, director

Iliana Savova, director

Iliana Savova has been working on issues of housing and migration at BHC since 1996. Since 1997 she is the coordinator of the National Legal Network for Refugees, while in 2001 she became the director of the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and has studied human rights and refugee law at the European Court of Human Rights and New College, Oxford. She is a member of the Sofia Bar Association.  Savova lectures refugee and immigration law at the Krastio Tsonchev Centre for lawyers’ training of the Supreme Bar Council.

Plamen Zhelev, legal officer

Plamen Zhelev, legal officer

Plamen Zhelev has been attorney-at-law in the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme since 1997 and is responsible for the trial proceedings of refugee cases. He graduated from the Higher Institute for Instruction of Officers and Research. He has specialised on the proceedings of determining the state, responsible for reviewing the claim for protection before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Mariana Andreeva

Mariana Andreeva

Mariana Andreeva has been attorney-at-law in the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme since 2001 and is responsible for monitoring borders and access to territory of asylum seekers. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and has specialised in international protection of refugees and relocation at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and Churches Commission for Migrants.

Elisa Sekulova

Elisa Sekulova

Elitsa Sekulova has been accountant in the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme since 2005 and is responsible for administrative and financial book-keeping and management. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Accountancy and Control at the University for National and World Economy and holds international accountancy standards certifications (IASs).

Georgi Toshev

Georgi Toshev

Georgi Toshev is attorney-at-law in the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme. He joined BHC in 1997 as legal associate. In 2002, he became attorney-at-law and joined the National Legal Network for Refugees, for which he carries out monitoring of places for administrative detention of foreigners. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and has specialised in immigration and asylum at the Free University of Brussels.

Valentina Nilsen

Valentina Nilsen

Valentina Nilsen has been attorney-at-law in the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme since 1999 and is responsible for conducting monitoring of legal standards in the administrative proceedings for granting of international protection. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University for National and World Economy and has specialised refugee law at the European Council on Refuges and Exiles (ECRE).

Antoaneta Dedikova

Antoaneta Dedikova

Antoaneta Dedikova is legal consultant and deputy director of the legal protection of refugees and migrants programme. She joined BHC in 2000.  She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of the Moscow State University M. V. Lomonosov. She specialised in the issues of separated children and is the Bulgarian coordinator for Separated Children in Europe. She participates in national and international research projects on the right to healthcare of migrants and the basic standards during voluntary return.

Back to top ↑

Accounting

Zhelkova, Staneva & Georgiev - Accounting Office Ltd.

Zhelkova, Staneva & Georgiev - Accounting Office Ltd.

Back to top ↑