New Board Members Bring Key Expertise

NEW YORK — Today, Human Rights First announced the addition of three new members to its board of directors: Catherine Amirfar, Gil H. Ha and Carlos Pascual.

“Given the urgency and importance of Human Rights First’s mission of advancing human rights and justice in the U.S. and around the world, it is exciting to have these experts join our board,” said Human Rights First’s Board Co-chair Mona Sutphen.

Michael Rozen, co-chair of the board of Human Rights First, added, “the expertise in government, law, and finance that these new board members bring to Human Rights First will complement the organization’s strong work in those areas and beyond.”

“The addition of Catherine, Gil, and Carlos to our Board of Directors shows the breadth of experience and knowledge we can tap into as an organization,” said Human Rights First’s president and CEO, Michael Breen. “They join a board and a staff intent on working for justice in the United States and around the world.”

Catherine Amirfar, elected to the Human Rights First Board at its meeting on September 29, is a partner at the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. Her practice focuses on public international law, commercial and treaty arbitration, and complex international commercial litigation. With her deep expertise in representing states, international organizations, NGOs and multinational companies worldwide, we expect to see the benefit of Catherine’s expertise in our accountability and other programs.

Catherine advises NGOs and individuals on a wide variety of human rights matters. She worked with the Clooney Foundation for Justice to seek the release of unlawfully imprisoned journalists around the world. She also represents plaintiffs in Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victims Protection Act cases in U.S. courts with a co-counsel from the Center for Justice and Accountability.

Catherine is Immediate Past President of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Advisory Committees of the American Law Institute for the Restatement (Fourth) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States and the Restatement of the U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration. She is a member of the Governing Board of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, the Court of Arbitration of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. She serves as Co-Chair of the ICCA-ASIL Task Force on Damages in International Arbitration and Deputy Co-Chair of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom to provide advice to countries that are members of the Media Freedom Coalition of States.

Gil H. Ha, elected at the organization’s June board meeting, is a private investor who spent 26 years as an investment banker advising clients primarily in the telecommunications, media & technology sectors and provided strategic and financial advice on over $750 billion of transactions. His experience in finance, as well as the relationships he cultivated throughout his career in technology, media, and telecommunications industries worldwide, will be immensely helpful to Human Rights First, notably our Innovation Lab.

Gil has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, leveraged finance, partnerships and joint ventures, and restructuring transactions. He served as a Managing Director, Global Head of Telecommunications Corporate Advisory at Greenhill & Co., a Senior Managing Director at Evercore Partners, Managing Partner of Rohatyn Associates, Co-Head of Deutsche Bank’s Telecommunications Investment Banking Group for the Americas and a Managing Director of Lazard in New York.

Carlos Pascual was elected to Human Rights First’s board of directors at its September meeting. Carlos is senior vice president for Global Energy and International Affairs at S&P Global Commodity Insights, responsible for leading all the company’s business in Latin America. His expertise will be critical to Human Rights First’s efforts to extend the reach of all our programs within government and worldwide.

As the energy envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs for the United States, Carlos established and directed the new Energy Resources Bureau at the U.S. Department of State and was senior advisor to the Secretary of State on energy issues. He had previously been a United States Ambassador to Mexico and Ukraine and was a special assistant to the President and director and then senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council.

At the State Department, Carlos established the department’s first civilian response capacity to conflicts, creating the position of coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization. He also was the State Department’s coordinator for American assistance to Europe and Eurasia. He previously held leadership roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development, including as deputy assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia, chief of policy and strategy for Africa and in field postings in Mozambique, South Africa and Sudan.


Published on October 4, 2022


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