Board and Advisory Council

The Rights Forum has a board of dedicated experts, headed by former UN Child Rights Committee chair Prof. Jaap Doek. About 20 former ministers and professors of international law are associated via an advisory council. The organization’s strategy and work is carried out by an experienced director, a communication officer and two part-time staff members.

Dries van Agt

Honorary Chair

Andreas van Agt was Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1977 to 1982. Consequently, he was the Queens’ Commissioner (Governor) of the province of North Brabant and European Union Ambassador to Japan and the United States. Van Agt is the founder and honorary chair of The Rights Forum.

Jaap Doek


Jaap Doek is Emeritus Professor Family and Juvenile Law at the VU University Amsterdam. He was a member and the chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Jaap Doek advises various international organisations and countries on child rights. He contributed to the establishment of the international child rights organisation Defence for Children, taught at several universities and was president of the European Law Faculties Association (ELFA). Doek is the chair of the board of The Rights Forum.

Berber van der Woude


Berber van der Woude is a political scientist. She worked at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat and policy advisor specializing in peacebuilding and the development of the security and justice sector in (post-)conflict areas such as Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and – her last diplomatic posting – Ramallah. Now she works as an independent consultant, coach, and facilitator for (semi-)governmental organizations.

Ghada Zeidan


Ghada Zeidan is an expert in gender & development, conflict transformation & peace building and inclusive local governance & citizen participation with a focus on the MENA region. Mrs. Zeidan is a Palestinian Human Rights defender and the Founder and Director of Palestine Link; a Palestinian Advocacy group in the Netherlands.

Theodora Siemons


Theodora Siemons is an applied linguist with a specialization in Intercultural Communication. She works as a teacher trainer and NT2 teacher. Siemons is a team member of DocP.

Hans Jordens


After completing his studies in theoretical physics, Hans Jordens has worked as a teacher in secondary education, the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and for the last 30 years at the University of Groningen. He has been involved in the Palestinian cause since 1971.

Erik Ader

Advisory Council

Erik Ader is a former ambassador who has served in countries including Lebanon and Jordan. His engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply rooted in his parents’ history of resistance and his own personal experiences in both Israel and Palestine. These narratives are documented in his book titled ‘Wars & Oceans’. In May 2023, he published another book called ‘Children of Amalek’, in which he uses his vast knowledge of the conflict to systematically dispel prevalent myths by contrasting them with factual information.

Pieter Bekker

Advisory Council

Pieter Bekker is a jurist specialized in public international law. He is a lawyer and teaches at the faculty of Law of Columbia University, New York. Bekker worked at the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague.

Theo van Boven

Advisory Council

Theo van Boven is Honorary Professor of International Law at Maastricht University. Van Boven was UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Netherlands’ representative on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and Director of the UN Division of Human Rights.

Laurens Jan Brinkhorst

Advisory Council

Laurens Jan Brinkhorst was State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, EU Ambassador to Japan, Minister of Economic Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

John Dugard

Advisory Council

John Dugard was Judge ad hoc on the International Court of Justice and Special Rapporteur of the United Nations. For the UN Human Rights Council, he reported on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Dugard was a Professor of international law at various universities, including Leiden University, Princeton University, UC Berkeley and the universities of New South Wales and Pretoria. He is a member of the Institut de Droit International.

Marcel Brus

Advisory Council

Marcel Brus is Professor of International Law at the University of Groningen and Secretary of the Netherlands branch of the International Law Association. Brus has taught at the universities of Leiden and Oxford.

Hedy d’Ancona

Advisory Council

Hedy d’Ancona was a member of the Senate, State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Koos van Dam

Advisory Council

Nikolaos (Koos) van Dam was Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Germany and Indonesia. He is Arabist, political scientist and Middle East expert. Van Dam is a member of the Advisory Committee on Peace and Security of the Advisory Council on International Affairs.

Cees Flinterman

Advisory Council

Cees Flinterman is Honorary Professor of Human Rights at the University of Utrecht and the University of Maastricht and member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Jan Keulen

Jan Keulen is a journalist, specialized in the Middle East. He served as a correspondent in Lebanon, Egypt, Mexico, and Jordan for various media, including de Volkskrant and NOS.. He was the director of the Doha Center for Media Freedom (2011-2014) and The Rights Forum (2017-2019). Keulen is the author of books about the Middle East and Latin America. In 2022, his book “The War of Yesterday, Memories of a Correspondent” was published.

Tineke Lodders

Advisory Council

Tineke Lodders was chair of the Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO), vice and interim chair of the Christian democratic party CDA and member of the Senate.

Mairead Maguire

Advisory Council

Mairead Maguire received the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. She is active in inter-church organisations and the international peace movement. Maguire is a member of the International Peace Council.

Egbert Myjer

Advisory Council

Egbert Myjer was between 2004 and 2012 Judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Until 2012, he was Professor of Human Rights at the Free University, Amsterdam. He is Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists and a member of the board of the Dutch section of Amnesty International.

André Nollkaemper

Advisory Council

André Nollkaemper is Professor of Public International Law at the faculty of Law of the Universitity of Amsterdam and a member of the Advisory Commission on Public International Law of the Netherlands.

Jan Pronk

Advisory Council

Jan Pronk was Minister of Development Cooperation, Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Housing and a member of the Dutch House of Representatives. Pronk was the UN Special Representative for Sudan. He is Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Social Studies, chair of IKV Pax Christi and chair of the Society for International Development (SID) in Rome.

Mouin Rabbani

Advisory Council

Mouin Rabbani is a researcher, analyst, and commentator specialising in Palestinian affairs, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the contemporary Middle East. He has previously served as principal political affairs officer with the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, head of Middle East with Crisis Management Initiative/Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, and senior Middle East analyst and special advisor on Israel-Palestine with the International Crisis Group. He is a co-editor of Jadaliyya and frequently comments on developments in the region in various media.

Lex Takkenberg

Advisory Council

Lex Takkenberg worked with UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, from 1989 until late 2019, most recently as the first Chief of its Ethics Office. He also served as first Chief of its Ethics Office, General Counsel, agency-wide Director of Operations, and Deputy Field Director in Gaza and Syria. He is co-author of the standard work “Palestinian refugees in International Law”. He currently is Senior Advisor to Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development and teaches organizational ethics at Fordham University.

Bert de Vries

Advisory Council

Bert de Vries served as Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and chair of the Christian democratic party CDA. He was professor of financial and economic policy at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

Liesbeth Zegveld

Advisory Council

Liesbeth Zegveld is a lawyer, specialized in international law and human rights. Zegveld is a member of the Committee for Compensation for War Victims of the International Law Association and Professor of International Humanitarian Law at the University of Leiden.

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