Founding Director

Dimitrina Petrova

Dimitrina Petrova
Dr Dimitrina Petrova is the co-founder of the Equal Rights Trust and from 2006 - 2016 she led the organisation as Executive Director. Previously she headed the European Roma Rights Centre, an international human rights organisation based in Budapest, of which she was the founding Executive Director since 1996 and which has been the recipient of a number of awards for pioneering work on racial equality. She led teams of lawyers and advocates to record numbers of landmark court victories - over 20 cases won in the European Court of Human Rights and hundreds of cases in other international and national jurisdictions during her tenure. Since 1997, she has also been Visiting Professor at the Central European University's Legal Studies department, and is currently a Fellow at the University of Essex. She was the Director of The Human Rights Project in Sofia, Bulgaria (1992-96), and Chair-holder in international relations and peace at the University of Oregon (1995).
 

Between 1982 and 1994 Dimitrina Petrova was teaching philosophy and philosophy of law at the Kliment Okhridiski University of Sofia's Legal department. In 1990-1991 she was a member of the Bulgarian Parliament, to which she was elected as a result of her activism in Bulgarian dissident groups under communism, and her leadership of one of these, the environmental group Ecoglasnost. As an MP, she participated in the drafting of the 1991 Constitution. She has been consultant to UN OHCHR, Human Rights Watch, the World Bank, IHFHR and other organisations, and has been adviser to the President of Bulgaria on pardoning prisoners. She has conducted human rights work, including field research, in a variety of countries, and has been a visiting lecturer in universities in Europe and the USA. She was member of the Board of the International Council on Human Rights Policy until 2008.

Dimitrina Petrova's writings include over 75 publications on human rights, equality, democracy, politics, and social sciences. She holds a PhD from the University of Sofia, where she defended her dissertation on utopia and value rationality (1993). She is the recipient of several awards, including the Human Rights Award for 1994 from the American Bar Association and the Dutch Geuzenpenng Award in 2001. Her work has also been honoured by Human Rights Watch, which selected her as one of its international monitors in 1994.

Click here to see a list of publications.