Three Leading Advocates for Human Rights Join WOLA Experts
Washington, D.C.—Today, WOLA (the Washington Office on Latin America) is pleased to announce the addition of three new senior fellows to our team of experts. The new senior fellows—Claudia Paz y Paz, Lázaro Cárdenas Batel, and Joe Eldridge—each have decades of experience advocating for human rights in the Americas and have had prolific careers in their respective fields.
Claudia Paz y Paz, the former Attorney General of Guatemala, joins WOLA after concluding her term on the Group of Independent Experts, convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to provide technical assistance in the investigation of the case of the 43 disappeared students in Mexico. During her time as Attorney General, Ms. Paz y Paz brought to justice prominent human rights abusers from Guatemala’s civil war period, most notably leading the team that assembled the case against former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. In 2013, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lázaro Cárdenas Batel is the former governor of Michoacán, Mexico. Previously, Mr. Cárdenas has served as a member of WOLA’s Board of Directors. He has been a Mexican senator, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and has headed up electoral observation missions for the Organization of American States (OAS).
Joe Eldridge, the Executive Director of WOLA in its early years from 1974 to 1986, is returning to the organization after nearly 20 years as the chaplain at American University (AU). Mr. Eldridge was adjunct faculty at AU’s School of International Service, founded the university’s Alternative Break program, and was instrumental in fostering the school’s culture of service. Before joining AU, he served as the founding director of the Washington office of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First); and during the late 1980s he worked in Honduras consulting on human rights and development issues.
“Each of the new fellows adds to WOLA a depth of experience, knowledge, and a life-long commitment to human rights. We are honored that they have chosen to lend their time and expertise to WOLA and will do our best to make the most of this new pool of talent,” said WOLA Executive Director Joy Olson.
The new fellows will join current WOLA senior fellows Jo-Marie Burt, Kathy Gille, Elizabeth Leeds, David Smilde, and Coletta Youngers to augment WOLA’s full time staff—a leading team of experts working on human rights and public policy in the Americas.