Rita Gail Johnson is the Director of RFK Compass, a core program of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. Based in New York, she leads RFK Compass staff and consultants in planning and executing conferences and education programs that focus on sustainable investing and help advance the discussion of business and human rights.
Rita has over 25 years of business experience, working with corporations, private equity firms and nonprofit organizations on issues of strategic importance. As a Director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services practice, she led teams of consultants in merger integration assignments throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East. Rita has also worked as an independent consultant and held senior business development positions at the geopolitical risk advisory firms Eurasia Group and Oxford Analytica, where her clients included multinational corporations and financial services firms, international nonprofit organizations and pension funds.
Rita has an AB, cum laude from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is Chairman of the Board of Chen Dance Center - a performing arts organization located in Manhattan’s Chinatown - and Vice Chairman of the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. She is also a member of the Board of the Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, a nonprofit social services organization that works with Arab and Muslim families throughout New York City.
Programs Director, Partners for Human Rights
Ms. Baeyens joined Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights as Programs Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights in June 2014. She previously served at the United Nations as Political Affairs Officer in the Americas Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs in New York from March 2012 to May 2014. Ms. Baeyens also worked as a Human Rights Officer in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington D.C. since 2006, where she started as a Legal Fellow. In 2008, she became the Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary, and, starting in 2009, she also served as the Coordinator of the Office of the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders of the IACHR. Ms. Baeyens is also an Adjunct Professor of law at Georgetown University Law School. A dual Belgian and Colombian citizen, she holds a Law Degree from the University of Ibague (Colombia) and an LL.M in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame (United States).
Frank LaRue is the Director of European Operations at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. He is widely respected as one of the world’s foremost human rights advocates, with particular expertise in political analysis; democratic development; and conflict management, negotiation, and resolution. A lawyer by training, Mr. LaRue has worked as a journalist, served in the government in his native Guatemala, and has frequently taught and written about human rights.
In 2008, the United Nations appointed Mr. LaRue as its Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of the right to the freedom of opinion and expression, a position he held until just a few weeks ago. In this capacity, he authored ten closely researched, widely read, and deeply influential reports on the state of freedom of expression, addressing crucial topics like the Internet’s potential as a tool for human rights; the protection of journalists; and state surveillance. Mr. LaRue’s work took him around the globe on fact-finding missions and human rights delegations, and his reports were presented before both the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General assembly.
Before his appointment as Special Rapporteur, Mr. LaRue held a number of posts both here in the United States and in Guatemala. Mr. LaRue began his career as the legal advisor to Guatemala’s largest union. In 1980, the Guatemalan military raided the union’s headquarters and disappeared 27 of its leaders, forcing Mr. LaRue into exile. He came to Washington, where he was a senior fellow at the Commission on US-Latin American relations for more than a decade.
In 1990, Mr. LaRue founded the Center for Human Rights Legal Action in Washington, D.C., establishing its operations in Guatemala when he finally returned in 1993. Under Mr. LaRue’s leadership, the center brought the first case of genocide against General Efrain Rios Montt, which proceeded to oral trial last year. For these efforts, he received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
From 2004-2008, Mr. LaRue served in the Guatemalan Cabinet as the Presidential Secretary for Human Rights. During his tenure, he courageously broke with the state’s policy of denying past human rights violations, vigorously promoting a National Plan for Reparations. He also managed to resolve 90% of the cases involving Guatemala that had been pending before the Inter-American System, in each case securing either full state compliance or a friendly settlement. As a cabinet member, he successfully negotiated with the United Nations to establish an office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala.
He is also an accomplished journalist, writing a weekly column for Prensa Libre and producing a number of radio and television programs about human rights.
Mr. LaRue holds a law degree from San Carlos University in Guatemala and has studied at Johns Hopkins University and American University’s Washington College of Law
Dan Cronin is Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. Prior to joining the organization, Dan worked for elected officials and nonprofits including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Environmental Defense Fund, and U.S. Congresswoman Judy Biggert. Dan has worked with outlets and placed pieces in outlets as diverse as the Associated Press, ESPN, Washington Post, BET, and the Guardian.
Born and raised in Upstate New York, Dan graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1998.
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