About ICHRRF

Mission Statement

International Commission for Human Rights and Religious freedom is a US based non-profit focused on upholding Human Rights and Religious Freedom through continuous monitoring, policy intervention and collaboration. We are focused on educational, research, legal, and human rights advocacy and charitable purposes and strive to be an advocate for the human rights and religious freedoms of under-represented communities across the world. We believe that humankind can no longer afford to be selectively vocal about the rights of only a specific set of people. A humane and just world necessitates fair treatment of all living beings. Our focus is on indigenous rights and freedom, free speech and their cultural preservation.

Some of our initiatives include

  • Monitoring violations of the freedoms and sanctity of religious and philosophical minorities across the world

  • Research into and documentation of the culture, history and challenges faced by such communities

  • Policy recommendations on human rights, religious diversity and pluralism to international organizations, agencies, national and local governments

  • Collaboration to support the cultural and philosophical diversity across the world

Who Are We?

Our Board of Directors

Dr. A. Adityanjee, President and Chairperson, Board of Directors

Adityanjee@ichrrf.org

Dr. Adityanjee is a practicing psychiatrist who has worked as a clinician and psychiatrist in four different countries on three different continents. He has interacted with people from various ethnic, racial, religious, social and cultural backgrounds over his 40 years’ experience as a psychiatrist. He is passionately interested in the cultural, spiritual, religious and human rights of various marginalized and persecuted minorities world-wide. During his student life, as a young medical student he was involved with human rights organizations like Amnesty International and People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He has also worked on several resettlement projects on rehabilitation of Bhutanese refugees in the US.

Prof. Ved Nanda, Member of the Board of Directors

ved.nanda@ichrrf.org

Ved Nanda is a Professor of Law at the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver and serves as Director Emeritus of the International Legal Studies Program there. In 2006, Professor Nanda was honored with the founding of the Nanda Center for International Law. He served as Vice Provost at the University of Denver from 1994-2008. He holds or has held numerous official posts in international, regional, and national professional and civil society organizations. He is widely published, having authored or co-authored 24 books in various fields of international law. For his public service, legal scholarship and contributions to Human Rights, Prof. Ved Nanda has received a number of awards including the Padma Bhushan, Gandhi, King, and Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building.

Prof. Dr. Yashwant Pathak, Member of the Board of Directors

yashwant.pathak@ichrrf.org

Dr. Pathak has completed a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Technology and EMBA & MS in Conflict Management. He is Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. He has about 200 publications, 3 US patents, 2 patent application, 30+ edited books. He has travelled in 80 countries and lectured in more than 100 universities around the world. He has received awards such as Fulbright Fellowships, Outstanding faculty award at USF, and Global Engagement Achievement Award from USF. He has received awards from Australia, Brazil, UK, New Zealand, Ecuador and Trinidad and Tobago, India and China. He volunteers his time for many nonprofit organizations including, International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM.org), Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies (Uberoi.org), Research institute for world ancient tradition and cultural heritage (RIWATCH.org), International Center for Cultural Studies (Iccsglobal.org) and many others.

Krishna Adusumilli, Member of the Board of Directors

krishna.adusumilli@ichrrf.org

Krishna Adusumilli is a keen follower of social issues that crop up in developing societies that are making a transition to an industrialized economy. He has been an advocate of human rights in such societies that also have an entrenched feudal past that impinges upon the present. As a contributor to various welfare projects, he supports agriculture and rural development initiatives that empower labor and marginalized farmers. The equitable distribution of natural resources, particularly water, is an important area in his activism. He is also part of a number of advocacy groups based on the principle that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, no matter what geographical or cultural sphere. Professionally, Krishna Adusumilli works in the field of Information Technology.

Our Executive Team

Carl Clemens, Executive Director

carl.clemens@ichrrf.org

Carl Clemens has contributed as an author to articles and books on subjects at the intersection of public policy, information technology and contemporary and historical religious or ideological currents in society. He co-authored a book on language and education policy, focusing on the history of discriminatory language policies in India, the United States, Iran and China. He has advocated for a fair narrative on the past and present turmoil surrounding the Sikh and Baloch communities in South Asia, and has helped compile and analyze statistics on human rights violations in that region. Professionally, he works in the field of Information Technology and is a student of Persian and classical Sanskrit.

Prof. Dr. Nalini Rao, Director of Academic Affairs

academia@ichrrf.org

Dr. Nalini Rao holds a Ph.D. in Art History from UCLA and another in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Mysore, India. Rao's specialization includes South and Southeast Asian Art, Ancient and Modern. Presently, she is Associate Prof. of World Art at Soka University of America, CA, U.S.A., where she teaches, Indian History, Art and Religion, Ancient and Modern Art and Architecture. Rao is the author of several books, such as The Hindu Monastery in South India: Social, Religious and Artistic Traditions (Lexington Books, 2020), (ed.) Sindhu-Sarasvati Civlilization: New Perspectives Boundaries and Transformations, Sangama: Confluence of Art and Culture during the Vijayanagara Period, Royal Imagery and Networks of Power at Vijayanagara: A Study of Kingship in South India, Lothal, Belur and Sravanabelagola. She has published numerous research articles, curated Indian Art exhibits and organized international conferences. She is the Chair of the Dr. S.R. Rao Memorial Foundation for Indian Archaeology, Art and Culture and Chair, Taksha Center of History and Archaeology.

Prof. Dr. Lavanya Vemsani, Director of Research

research@ichrrf.org

Dr. Lavanya Vemsani is multi-award-winning scholar and Distinguished University Professor of History at Shawnee State University in the Department of Social Sciences. Vemsani is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in the Department of Historical Studies. She holds two doctorates in the subjects of Religious Studies (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada) and History (University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India) respectively. Her research and teaching interests are interdisciplinary and manifold. She researches and publishes on subjects of ancient history and religions as well as the current history of India. Vemsani is the author of several books as well as a number of articles on the history and religions of the Indian Subcontinent. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Indic Religions (2020-2023); American Journal of Indic Studies (2018-2020); International Journal of Dharma and Hindu Studies (2015-17), and associate editor of Canadian Journal of History; The Airforce Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, and Journal of South Asian Religious History (2017-20). Prof. Vemsani served as President of the Ohio Academy of History (2018-21).

Dr. Shekhar Patel, Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors

shekhar.patel@ichrrf.org

Dr. Shekhar Patel is socially active as the President of the International Center for Cultural Studies, USA, where he works with leaders of various indigenous traditions across the globe. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Hindu University of America and supports the governance committee of the University. Professionally, he is Senior Vice President at a Private Company and has a doctorate in Biosystems Engineering.

Kofi Sarpong, Director of Outreach - Africa Region


Kofi Sarpong comes to ICHRRF from Ghana and networks and provides outreach to the whole African continent with 55 countries. He brings extensive international experience with him to ICHRRF. He lives a multifaceted life, and has worked in Ghana, Austria and the UK. His spiritual quest and personal practice has built relationships across traditions, including indigenous African religions, African Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. He is the owner and Director of an import-export company. He has a degree in book-keeping and a diploma in accounting.

Dimple Kaul, Director of Outreach - South Asia Region

dimple.kaul@ichrrf.org

Dimple Kaul's education spans the humanities (MA Liberal Arts, St John’s College, Annapolis), technology (B.E., Electronics and Communication), and business management (MMS). Professionally, she has guided complex technical and operational activities in austere environments, working with several multinational corporations. As a human rights advocate, she volunteers for multiple causes to raise community awareness. She has been guiding several nonprofit organizations through strategic initiatives, serving as a volunteer consultant, communications executive and life coach. She has been felicitated as an iconic woman by Women's Economic Forum. Growing up in a minority community that has faced religious persecution and forced exodus, Dimple's conviction is that a compassionate, non-judgmental, informed, collaborative approach is needed to resolve political and religious differences. She previously served as ICHRRF's Director of Communications and has now shifted responsibilities as Director of Outreach for the South Asian Region.

Brett Chapman, Director of Outreach - First Nations of America


Brett Chapman, Esq. is an attorney focused on Native American rights. He comes to the team ICHRRF from the great state of Oklahoma and will network and provide outreach to the First Nations of America. He has served as Assistant District Attorney in Oklahoma, and has published case law. He is Ponca, Kiowa, and an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. His Ponca ancestors were involved in a landmark civil rights case in 1879 in which the first Native American was granted civil rights in the United States. Chapman's work in this regard continues to focus on correcting the historical narrative to facilitate true reconciliation and create a stable future for the United States in its encounter with diversity.

Dr. Heshu Rahman, Director of Outreach - Kurdish Communities

Dr. Rahman is an Iraqi Kurd from the city of Sulaimaniyah in northern Iraq. Graduating with degrees in Veterinary science and Microbiology in Iraq, she finally completed a Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral research work in Hematology and Clinical Pathology from Universiti Putra Malaysia. A scientific medical researcher (scholar citation), she has over 110 journal articles, 3 books, 3 co-authorships, 8 patents and 10 research awards to her name. The nanoZER is one of the products of her research. She and her husband are also strong advocates of Kurdish Human Rights across Kurdish Communities spread across their historical homeland spanning parts of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

Hardam H. Tripathi, Esq., Director of Legal and Policy Affairs

Tripathi is a U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law Attorney, admitted to practice in immigration court as an advocate and counselor in all 50 states in the Union via Federal Jurisdiction. Prior to launching his own law firm, Tripathi served as a management consultant with a Big Four firm, representing clients in matters related to strategic risk intelligence & risk management consulting in the government and public services space. Tripathi has also worked for various other small to mid-size firms in Florida, providing regulatory and policy advice to aid clients effectively navigate Federal and state government programs. Tripathi’s legal education and professional experience with stints at Federal agencies and state government, has served as a catalyst to aid clients understand the regulations, policies, and procedures related to their immigration needs. His knowledge in prior policy application and statutory interpretation, contributes to positive outcomes for clients. Tripathi devotes a significant amount of time encouraging best practices in the immigration law space and regularly meets with members of Congress to advocate for authorization of higher levels of funding appropriations related to public health initiatives that arise post-disaster in immigrant communities, and actively lobbies Congress for Immigrant Veterans who are deported post-service with Other Than Honorable discharges.

Dirk Lang, Director of Outreach - Germany

Dirk Lang received his education from the Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in literature and medieval studies with minors in Romanian Studies and Hungarian Studies. A multi-talented individual with a wide variety of interests, he has worked in the hospitality industry, culinary and catering industries and has been mainly involved in facility management. His personal interests include Eastern philosophies including Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism and spirituality. His main focus at ICHRRF is to monitor the human rights situation in Germany and its extended cultural sphere, including the treatment of minorities such as the Romani in this region.

Raksha Singh Semnarayan, Esq., Director of Outreach - South Africa

Raksha Singh Semnarayan is an Admitted Attorney in the High Court of South Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science, Bachelor of Laws, Masters of Law and Masters of Business Administration degrees. Raksha was passionate about human rights since her youth and made submissions to the Constitutional Assembly which was tasked with drafting the first democratic Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Raksha’s submissions were on behalf of various religious and social justice organizations and advocated for the Constitution to uphold religious freedom and other human rights; to not create one religion superior to others; to create Statutory Bodies that protected religious and human rights and freedom and other similar issues. In recognition of her contribution, Raksha was invited to the inauguration of the Constitution Ceremony in Parliament in 1996. Most of her input was accepted and included in the Constitution. During her career Raksha has made presentations and submissions on behalf of the government and other bodies before the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, the International Financial Action Task Force, and at international seminars on various regulatory and legal issues. She served as head of Regulatory in the South African Reserve Bank and Chief Legal officer for BankservAfrica amongst other positions. Raksha currently continues to advocate for social justice and religious freedom through serving on various non-governmental organizations and making representations to regulatory bodies, media and other bodies. At ICHRRF, she will be working on a research project on Human Rights, Gender violence and Religious Tolerance and Freedom in South Africa".

Anjali George, Director of Communications

Anjali George is a postgraduate in history and is highly passionate about advocating for the rights of indigenous cultures. She serves as a board member of City Council of Religions in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She is a founding member of People For Dharma, Indic Collective, and Shakatitva Foundation, and an active participant in interfaith activities. Apart from her interest in philanthropic and cultural pursuits, she is an accomplished artist and policy strategist with experience in the health care sector and public administration.

Rishi Aneja, Esq., Director of Outreach for Sri Lanka

Rishi Aneja is a member of the Bar Council of the state of Karnataka in India and is authorized to practice across the country. Rishi has advised and appeared for various Indian and multinational corporates, renowned social media search engines and social networking platforms, digital news aggregators, public transport manufacturers, public and private sector banks and others in constitutional, civil, commercial and criminal litigation before the Supreme Court of India and High Courts in several states. He is also an avid member of several civil society groups, an active Rotarian and provides pro bono legal aid to sections of his local community. His wide-ranging passion for hobbies ranging from martial arts to philosophy, history and political affairs has shaped his multicultural worldview. Sri Lanka is a country with long-running fissures along ethnic and religious lines with involvement from various international actors. Rishi will be monitoring, researching and publishing on this important human rights theater.

Deputy Director - Position Open, interviews in progress

Interested volunteers may contact us at info@ichrrf.org to apply.

Our Research Team

Honorary Research Fellows are invited from established faculty, eligible students and experienced field workers in communities across the globe.

Prof. Dr. Lavanya Vemsani, Director of Research

research@ichrrf.org

Dr. Lavanya Vemsani is multi-award-winning scholar and Distinguished University Professor of History at Shawnee State University in the Department of Social Sciences. Vemsani is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in the Department of Historical Studies. She holds two doctorates in the subjects of Religious Studies (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada) and History (University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India) respectively. Her research and teaching interests are interdisciplinary and manifold. She researches and publishes on subjects of ancient history and religions as well as the current history of India. Vemsani is the author of several books as well as a number of articles on the history and religions of the Indian Subcontinent. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Indic Religions (2020-2023); American Journal of Indic Studies (2018-2020); International Journal of Dharma and Hindu Studies (2015-17), and associate editor of Canadian Journal of History; The Airforce Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, and Journal of South Asian Religious History (2017-20). Prof. Vemsani served as President of the Ohio Academy of History (2018-21).

Sr. Salvador Cutzal, Research Fellow

Salvador Cutzal is founder and assessor of the Maya College in Poptun, Peten, Guatemala. Born in Guatemala's indigenous Maya Kaqchikel community, Cutzal's education was in Philosophy and Theology. He is the founder of the radio station Utan Kaj (Voice of the People). He also founded the Maya Institute for Indigenous youth. He has assiduously worked for the legalization of land for rural people. In this connection, he is an active member of the Inter-sectorial Board that deals with matters concerning Land and Environment. Additionally, Cutzal is an Assessor to Mayan Spiritual Guides. His current focus and lifelong dream is the design and construction of the University Maya Qeqchi, North Guatemala. As part of the ICHRRF Research Team, Cutzal will be publishing on the subject of the human rights of the Mayan people and land reforms for rural people in Guatemala.

Sr. Cristobal Cojtí Garcia, Research Fellow

Senor Garcia's studies and publications are in the fields of Political Science, Indigenous Rights, Human Rights and Democratic Processes (UNESCO). Since 1970, he has been an activist dedicated to rescuing, protecting and defending the identity of native Guatemalans and their ancestral rights. He speaks Maya Kaqchikel, Maya Quiche and Maya Achi languages, and has been the principal translator of Maya Kaqchikel language to Spanish and vice versa. Among the many hats he wears, he is the time-keeper of the Mayan Calendar and its Cosmology. He is also a promoter of Mayan art, and an illustrator and designer of Mayan educational materials. He serves as assessor and facilitator to projects on Cultural Tourism, and is a member of various educational, socio-cultural and community development organizations. At ICHRRF, his focus is to wrote reports on Mayan peace accords, human rights and their continuing struggles.

International Advisory Board

Advisory Board members are invited as ICHRRF expands its collaborative efforts with established scholars, leaders and influencers in diverse fields and from diverse backgrounds.

Prof. Ved Nanda, Chairperson

ved.nanda@ichrrf.org

Ved Nanda is a Professor of Law at the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver and serves as Director Emeritus of the International Legal Studies Program there. In 2006, Professor Nanda was honored with the founding of the Nanda Center for International Law. He served as Vice Provost at the University of Denver from 1994-2008. He holds or has held numerous official posts in international, regional, and national professional and civil society organizations. He is widely published, having authored or co-authored 24 books in various fields of international law. For his public service, legal scholarship and contributions to Human Rights, Prof. Ved Nanda has received a number of awards including the Padma Bhushan, Gandhi, King, and Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building.

Dr. Daniel Domingo Lopez, Member of the International Advisory Board

Dr. Daniel Domingo Lopez is a life-long educationist with a doctorate in that field. He holds academic appointments in three different countries, viz., Guatemala, Spain and Switzerland. Based in Guatemala, he is a human rights activist who brings academic scholarship, teaching credentials and research experience in the field of Mayan Education to his work. From 1999 to 2000 he served as Director of the National Counsel of Mayan Education. He is also consultant and assessor to several indigenous national and international organizations. From 2016 to 2020, he served as Deputy Minister of National Intercultural Bilingual Education. He has authored numerous papers and documents, including a book titled “Mayan Cosmovision and Plenitude of Life”, based on the 2005 National Report on Human development.

Joy Harjo, PL, Member of the International Advisory Board

Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, appointed the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019. Harjo is the author of nine books of poetry, including her most recent, the highly acclaimed American Sunrise (2019), and Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (2015), which was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association. She has published two award-winning children’s books, several screenplays, anthologies, and collections of prose interviews, three plays, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave, awarded the PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Non Fiction and the American Book Award, and the forthcoming Poet Warrior: A Call for Love and Justice.

Her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN USA Literary Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Writers’ Award, a Rasmuson US Artist Fellowship, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. See Press Release for further details.

Prof. Dr. Edward P. Butler, Member of the International Advisory Board

Edward P. Butler received his doctorate in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research in 2004 for his dissertation "The Metaphysics of Polytheism in Proclus". Since then, he has published regularly in academic journals and edited volumes, primarily on Platonism, the polytheistic philosophy of religion, and the theologies of several polytheistic traditions. From 2014-2019 he was co-editor of Walking the Worlds: A Biannual Journal of Polytheism and Spiritwork, and presently serves on the advisory board of the journal Oscillations: Non-Standard Experiments in Anthropology, the Social Sciences, and Cosmology. A practicing devotional polytheist for his entire adult life, he is an advocate for the preservation, restoration and revival of polytheistic traditions around the globe as the director of the Center for Global Polytheist and Indigenous Traditions at INDICA since 2021. More information about his work is available at his website on Henadology. He brings to ICHRRF tremendous scholarship, rigorous academic experience, knowledge and wisdom and lived experience .