Hanna Gerdes new Chairperson of the Board of Civil Rights Defenders

Hanna Gerdes, Civil Rights Defenders’ new Chairperson of the Board.

Civil Rights Defenders’ annual meeting has elected international law lawyer Hanna Gerdes as the new Chairperson of the Board. She takes over from outgoing chairperson Benedicte Berner, who has held the post for nine years. At the same time, Caroline Thunved and Noura Berrouba were also elected as new ordinary board members.

“I have long been deeply impressed by Civil Rights Defenders’ sharp work for civil and political rights. Whether it’s suing the state and demanding accountability for the police’s ethnic register of Roma or setting up the world’s first GPS-based alarm system for human rights defenders, Civil Rights Defenders is constantly courageously at the forefront of protecting human rights. I can’t think of any assignment in these tumultuous times that could be more honourable and important,” says Hanna Gerdes.

Hanna Gerdes is an experienced and value-driven leader who has worked nationally and internationally for 20 years to strengthen the protection of human rights and influence the development of society. Hanna is a lawyer in international law and has extensive experience in board work. She has previously worked in strategic management and development roles at the Swedish Armed Forces, the Human Rights Fund, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Equality Ombudsman.

“The pressure on human rights defenders is increasing and Civil Rights Defenders’ work is needed more than ever. Together with Hanna Gerdes and her solid experience and our fantastic partners around the world, I look forward to continuing to drive the development of the organisation,” says Anders L Pettersson, Executive Director at Civil Rights Defenders.

Civil Rights Defenders’ annual meeting, held on 24 May, also unanimously elected Caroline Thunved and Noura Berrouba as new ordinary board members. Caroline Thunved has over 25 years of experience working in communication, marketing and business development in both civil society and private industry. Caroline works as CEO of Sveriges Kommunikatörer. Noura Berrouba works full-time with democracy and human rights issues with a focus on children and young people’s involvement in civil society and is the working president of the National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations, LSU. She has a background of studies in international humanitarian law and has worked in many national and international settings with democracy, human rights and peace and security.


Civil Rights Defenders has an independent, non-profit board consisting of eight members who are experts in human rights and organisational issues. In connection with the annual meeting on 24 May 2022, incumbent Chairperson Benedicte Berner and board members Fredrik Andersson and Carin Norberg left their assignments after many years and great commitment to the Board. The board members Lena Svensson and Christian Åhlund were re-elected for another two-year term.

The Board of Directors of Civil Rights Defenders 24 May 2022. In the photo, board members Anne Ramberg and Christoffer Lindblad are missing.

Board of Civil Rights Defenders, 24 May 2022

Hanna Gerdes, Chairperson
Christian Åhlund, Board Member
Lena Svensson, Board Member
Christoffer Lindblad, Board Member
Anne Ramberg, Board Member
Lars Häggström, Board Member
Noura Berrouba, Board Member
Caroline Thunved, Board Member

The Nomination Committee consists of Kerstin Brunnberg, Therese Reinfeldt and Viveka Risberg.