Lieselotte Viaene

Principal Investigator

Lieselotte is Professor at the Department of Social Sciences of the University Carlos III de Madrid. She is a Belgian anthropologist with a PhD in Law (Ghent University, Belgium, 2011) which has a first academic degree in Criminology. Her professional path is marked by a combination of conducting innovative academic and applied research and working as a practitioner on complex and politically sensitive human rights issues such as transitional justice, legal pluralism, natural resources and territory, engaging directly with bridging theory-practice gaps from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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Since her Master’s thesis in anthropology (2002), she has been collaborating with indigenous peoples in Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador and Colombia in diverse spaces. As human rights practitioner, she worked, among others, at the  Office of United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in Ecuador (2010-2013) were she was responsible for the areas of collective rights and transitional justice.  Previously, she was Marie Curie Individual Fellow (2016-2018) at the Centre of Social Studies, University of Coimbra (Portugal). Lieselotte has published in English and Spanish in leading indexed international journals such as the International Journal of Transitional Justice, Critique of Anthropology, International Human Rights Journal, Netherlands Quartely of Human Rights, Antipoda- Revista deAntropologìa y Arquelogìa. Her latest book is Nilma Rahilal. Pueblos Indìgenas y justicia transicional: relfexiones antropologicas (2019, Universidad de Deusto,Spain).

Publications: Researchgate and


Elisa Mandiola López

 Project manager

Elisa Mandiola Lopez has extended experience in international research and project management, having previously worked for different international organizations, such as the Training Centre of the Spanish Cooperation in Colombia, the UNESCO office for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela or the INTERREG SUDOE Program, where she was responsible for the environmental axes of this ERDF Fund. Throughout her career, she has progressively specialized in interdisciplinary approaches and have effectively worked in the development of projects related to climate change, resource efficiency, low-carbon economy, energy poverty, human rights and cultural rights, in the frame of high excellence public calls (Horizon 2020, INTERREG, Skills Alliance, UIA) or development programs with public/private funding (AECID, UNESCO).

Philologist, with a master degree on Cultural Projects in public space (Université Paris Panthéon Sorbonne).

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Camille Parguel

PhD researcher

Camille completed a master’s degree in political science at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) with a focus on globalisation issues. For her master’s thesis, she studied the commitment of civil society actors in relation to free trade policymaking in India. Her research was centred on farmers’ representatives, advocates for the right to food and activists critical of free trade agreements. After graduating, Camille worked for two years as a communication officer at Agroscope, the Swiss centre of excellence for agricultural research. She engaged in media relations and became passionate about popularising science through written and audio-visual productions.

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Camille is currently undertaking a PhD at the Department of Social Sciences, Carlos III University of Madrid, under the supervision of Prof. Dr Lieselotte Viaene. Her doctoral research is part of RIVERS work package C ‘Human rights treaty bodies: water knowledge and norm production’.


Marina Vieira

PhD Researcher

sMarina is a Brazilian biologist with a master’s in Ecology from the National Institute of Amazonian Research (2013) in Manaus. She is also a collaborative researcher in the CGCommons group in the University of Campinas since 2009. Her professional background relies on more than ten years of experience working in the Brazilian Amazon with traditional and indigenous peoples, mostly collaborating in national socioenvironmentalist NGOs.

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For her master’s degree, she studied the synergies and conflicts between different management systems regarding subsistence hunting of riverine communities in the Amazon. And her most recent work was in the Instituto Socioambiental NGO (2015-2019) with the Yanomami and the Ye’kwana Peoples in the extreme north of Brazil, where she assisted their leaders and organizations in the intercultural dialogue with public actors and policies, including the elaboration of their territorial management plan and of their consultation protocol.

Her current research interest concerns ontological conflicts regarding indigenous rights and politics, which she will develop through the WorkPackage D “International Indigenous knowledge brokers” of the RIVERS Project in her doctoral research under the supervision of Prof. dr. Lieselotte Viaene  at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

To access her publications as first author or organizer:


Carolina Angel Botero

Associate researcher

Carolina is currently a PhD student in Anthropology at Universidad of Los Andes (Colombia). She has a double degree in law and anthropology also from Universidad de Los Andes and a master’s degree in Anthropology from The New School for Social Research (New York). Her work explores the intersection between science, law and anthropology. In her doctoral project, she discusses the different forms that nature take in the peace process with the FARC guerrilla. In the RIVERS project, her interest is in exploring how expert knowledge participates in the construction of a subject of rights, such as rivers.


María Ximena González Serrano

 PhD researcher

Lawyer, specialist in Environmental Law from the University Externado de Colombia, with a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University Pontificia Javeriana. She has fifteen years of experience in litigation and socio-legal research work among indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities in the defense of their territory, water and rivers. She is currently developing a PhD project under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lieselotte Viaene at the University Carlos III of Madrid. Her research topics are: Dimensions and impacts of extractivism on cultural and environmental rights, river rights, and community water ontologies.


Digno Montalván Zambrano

 Associate PhD researcher

Digno is an Ecuadorian lawyer and pre-doctoral researcher (FPI-MINECO) at the University Carlos III of Madrid. His areas of interest include rights of nature, ecocentrism, legal pluralism, intercultural interpretation and international courts of human rights. In RIVERS, as an associate researcher, his work is focused on the influence of the anthropocentrism and ecocentrism in the reasoning of the international courts of human rights. Specifically, in the framework of his doctoral thesis, he studies the argumentation about the relationship between the Rights of Nature and the Human Rights, present in the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (this doctoral research work is framed within the project, “Judges in Democracy, the Political Philosophy of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights” leading by the professor Isabel Wences).

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He holds a Master’s degree in Constitutional Law from the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies of Spain and a Law degree from the University “Espíritu Santo” of Ecuador. He is a member of the UC3M research group on “law and justice” (grupo de investigación sobre el derecho y la justicia), part of the editorial board of the academic review “Eunomia. Revista en cultura de la legalidad” and co-coordinator of the UC3M workshop on law and justice. Professionally, he has worked in different positions in the public sector of Ecuador, among them, legal analyst of the judicial function of Ecuador and specialist in social rights of the Ombudsman’s Office of Ecuador. Among his main recognitions are: Post graduate scholar of the Carolina Foundation of Spain in 2015; Scholar of the service of doctrine of the Constitutional Court of Spain in 2017 and winner of the predoctoral contract for the formation of the investigative personnel granted by the Ministry of Economy and Company of Spain in 2018.

Full CV available from:


María Jacinta Xón Riquiac

 Associate researcher/ Coordinator Guatemala

K’iche’ from Guatemala. Graduated in Anthropology at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, and obtained a masters degree in History of Sciences at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de São Paulo, Brazil. Director of the TUX Project, a research project on the sciences of indigenous women in the spaces of oppression/resistance -the kitchen-. She has written some articles concerning cultural, ethnic and gender issues related to defining indigenous specific rights in the contemporary world. She is the author of a book: “Os outros, os silenciados, os global e contemporaneamente presentes, os incomodamente não vencidos. Os Maias entre eles”.

Past team members:

Marta Rica (project manager/post doc) 2019-2020
Selcen Küçüküstel (post doc – Nepal case study) 2019-2020
Paulo Illich Bacca (post doc) 2019
Kelly Quicué (pre-doc Colombia) 2019

Scientific advisory board (SAC)


Mario Blaser

Mario Blaser is an Associate professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He  is the author of Storytelling Globalization from the Paraguayan Chaco and Beyond (Duke University Press, 2010) and co-editor of A world of Many World (Duke University Press 2018);  Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for the Global Age (University of British Columbia Press, 2010) and In the Way of Development: Indigenous peoples, Life Projects and Globalization (Zed Books 2004). His current research examines the challenges of articulating heterogeneous life projects under the shadow of discussions on the Anthropocene and the Common.

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Life projects embody ‘small stories’ about the good life and in this sense can be contrasted with the ‘big stories’ through which notions like Anthropocene and the Common tend to be associated. In effect, discussions around these two concepts tend to be haunted by the image of the Blue Planet as a totality that functions as the horizon of relevance for politics. Blaser’s research explores the proposal that life projects index other politics which opens new vistas to the problems both the Anthropocene and the Common discussions purport to address.

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Rachel Sieder

Rachel Sieder holds a PhD in Politics from the University of London. She is currently Senior Research Professor at the Center for Research and Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City. She is also an associate senior researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, and associate fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. She has been visiting professor and invited speaker at the universities of Amsterdam, Auckland Bergen, Berkeley, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cambridge, Harvard, Oslo, Oxford, Stanford and Los Andes (Colombia). Sieder has worked for the last three decades on Central America, and her research interests include human rights, indigenous rights, social movements, indigenous law, legal anthropology, the state and violence.

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She has published 20 books and edited volumes, most recently with Karina Ansolabehere and Tatiana Alfonso, The Handbook of Law and Society in Latin America, Routledge (2019); Demanding Justice and Security: Indigenous Women and Legal Pluralities in Latin America. Rutgers University Press (2017). She is a member of the international editorial boards of the Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies (LACES), the European Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (ERLACS) and Perfíles Latinoamericanos.

Rutgerd Boelens

Rutgerd Boelens

Rutgerd Boelens is Professor ‘Water Governance and Social Justice’  at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and Professor ‘Political Ecology of Water in Latin America’ with CEDLA, University of Amsterdam. He also is Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Peru and the Central University of Ecuador. He held the 2013-2014 Chair ‘Territorial Studies’ with the Mexican Science Foundation and COLSAN. He coordinated the international Water Law and Indigenous Rights alliance WALIR, and several large water governance and environmental justice research programs. Currently he directs the international Justicia Hídrica/Water Justice alliance (

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His research focuses on political ecology, water rights, legal pluralism, water cultures and cultural politics, governmentality, hydrosocial territories, and social mobilization, mainly in Latin America and Spain. Among his latest books are: “Water Justice” (with Perreault & Vos, Cambridge University Press, 2018); “Water, Power and Identity. The Cultural Politics of Water in the Andes” (Routledge, 2015);  Agua y Ecología Política. El extractivismo en la agro-exportación, la minería y las hidroeléctricas en Latino América (with Yacoub & Duarte, AbyaYala, 2015); “Justicia Hídrica. Acumulación, Conflicto y Acción Social” (with Cremers & Zwarteveen, IEP-Lima, 2011);  “Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity” (with Getches & Guevara,  Earthscan, 2010/2012).

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

UN Special  Rapporteur on the  Rights of  Indigenous Peoples

Victoria is an indigenous leader from the Kankanaey Igorot people of the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. She is a social development consultant, indigenous activist, civic leader, human rights expert, public servant, and an advocate of women’s rights in the Philippines. She was the former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2005‐2010). As an indigenous leader she got actively engaged in drafting and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.

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She is the founder and executive director of Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education). Ms. Tauli‐Corpuz has founded and managed various NGOs involved in social awareness raising, climate change, the advancement of indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights. A member of the Kankana‐ey Igorot peoples, she was the chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is an Expert for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and has served as the chairperson‐ rapporteur of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations. She is also the indigenous and gender adviser of the Third World Network and a member of United Nations Development Programme Civil Society Organizations Advisory Committee.

External Ethics Advisor


Ainhoa Montoya

 Ethical Advisor


Ainhoa Montoya is Director of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Senior Lecturer at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of The Violence of Democracy: Political Life in Post-War El Salvador (Palgrave, 2018). Her research has been funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She is currently working on a British Academy-funded project which explores the political-legal strategies of environmental and human rights defenders who oppose mineral extraction in Central America and Mexico, focusing specifically on the moralities, ontologies and forms of knowledge that they bring to these strategies. The project includes the development of The Legal Cultures of the Subsoil Database. Ainhoa is a co-editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research (BLAR), the journal of the Society for Latin American Studies.