HRC Panel Discussion With Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Team

HRC Panel Discussion With Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Team

Posted on behalf of Law & Human Rights Centre Events Team

Wednesday 16 October, 16.00-19.00, Room NTC.3.05

Investigations and Advocacy by Amnesty International Crisis Response Team. ‘From the Field to the Corridors of Power with Amnesty International’


Brian Castner, a Senior Crisis Advisor with the Crisis Response Programme, specializing in arms and military operations.

Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Adviser (Recent missions include Libya and Syria)

Micah Farfour, a Special Adviser in Remote Sensing for the Crisis Response Programme

Richard Pearshouse Head of Crisis and the Environment at Amnesty International

Dr. Scott Edwards Senior Advisor/Analyst at Amnesty International’s Research Directorate

Chair: Dr. Daragh Murray, University of Essex


Join us for a panel discussion with senior members of Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Team. This interactive panel will discuss issues central to the work of the Crisis Response Team including how to conduct investigations on the ground, how to use remote and open source tools to conduct or support investigations, and how to translate investigations into effective advocacy. 

The objective of this event is to provide you with an in-depth insight into how investigations are conducted in some of the world’s most serious conflicts, and how States, International Organisations and Society can be engaged in order to pursue accountability and bring about meaningful change.

The panel members all have extensive experience conducting investigations and engaging in high level advocacy, and this is a unique opportunity to gain an insight into their work, and to learn from their experiences in order to inform your own practice. The entire Amnesty International Crisis Response Team will be present at the event, and will be available for questions both during the Q&A, and at the reception afterwards.


Brian Castner, Senior Adviser, Military and Weapons Expert (Recent missions include Hong Kong, Libya and Somalia)

Brian Castner is a Senior Crisis Advisor with the Crisis Response Programme, specializing in arms and military operations. He is a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer in the United States Air Force, where he served in Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. In the military he specialized in unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices, post-blast investigations, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. After his military experience, Castner became a journalist, writing stories for the New York Times, Esquire, Wired, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and National Public Radio. He has twice received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to cover the US military intervention in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak, and report on the effects of climate change on indigenous villages in Arctic Canada. He is the author of three nonfiction books, including the war memoir "The Long Walk," which was adapted into an opera that has been performed across the United States.

Scott Edwards, Senior Adviser for Tactical Research and Analysis

Scott Edwards is a Senior Analyst with Amnesty International. His work focuses on the development of early warning mechanisms for humanitarian crises, as well as the practical use of new methods and technologies for human rights compliance monitoring and evidence collection, especially as it relates to international justice and accountability. Dr. Edwards previously served as Amnesty International’s Advocacy Director for Africa in the U.S. Section and as Director of the Science for Human Rights Program. Dr. Edwards completed his doctoral work in Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, focusing on causes and consequences of violent political conflict, and has written and consulted extensively on complex humanitarian crises, forced displacement, and armed conflict. He is currently a Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs.

Micah Farfour, Special Adviser, Remote Sensing

Micah Farfour is a Special Adviser in Remote Sensing for the Crisis Response Programme at Amnesty International. After returning from Peace Corps in Africa, Micah received her Master’s in GIS and spent four years working with high resolution satellite imagery to monitor events globally. She developed skills to align open source information with the analysis of remotely sensed imagery to produce visual evidence of human rights abuses all over the world from her home in Colorado. Micah's work has provided corroboration of mass graves, attacks on civilians, indiscriminate bombings and other humanitarian crises to support research for numerous NGOs and government entities. Currently, she is working on projects in Syria, Nigeria, Sudan, Myanmar and Iraq.

Richard Pearshouse, Senior Adviser, Crisis and the Environment (Recent missions include Amazon region in Brazil, South Pacific and northern Iraq)

Richard Pearshouse joined the Crisis Response Programme in September 2018 as Senior Crisis Advisor (Crisis and the Environment) – where he leads work on the intersection of environmental degradation, conflict and crises. Richard was most recently associate director of the environment program at Human Rights Watch, where he worked for 10 years. From 2015-2017, he helped found HRW's environment program and develop its main pillars of work: environmental defenders, toxic substances, and climate change. He has undertaken high-level advocacy on environmental issues with national governments, the UN, and multilateral and bilateral aid donors. He has researched and written reports in countries including Brazil, Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Prior to this he was director of research and policy for the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network where he worked on legislative frameworks to protect the rights of people living with HIV. He has also worked as a legal advisor to the United Nations Special Panels for Serious Crimes in East Timor, as a researcher for an East Timorese judicial monitoring organization, and as a field monitor with a Guatemalan human rights group. He is a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia.

Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Adviser (Recent missions include Libya and Syria)

Donatella Rovera is Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Researcher. Her role involves investigating human rights violations in crisis situations. Working at Amnesty International for 20 years, Rovera has travelled to some of the world's most dangerous conflict zones to investigate war crimes and other gross human rights abuses. Recent field missions include Nigeria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Ivory Coast, and Sudan. Previously, she worked in Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Algeria and other parts of the Middle East & North Africa. Rovera studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London University), specialising in Middle Eastern politics and economics. Subsequent training includes international human rights and humanitarian law, refugee law, and international criminal investigations. She also speaks English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew.

All Welcome.

16 Oct 2019 at 4:00pm
until 16 Oct 2019 at 7:00pm
University of Essex Colchester Campus, Room NTC.3.05

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