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.

Read more

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


Mª Jesús Poza Lara

Financial project manager

More than 14 years working as a RESEARCH GROUP MANAGER at UC3M, taking care of the management of research projects, technology transfer, as well as the protection of intellectual property on the R&D results obtained, helping in the elaboration of the UC3M technological offer catalog, advising/supporting researchers in economic, fiscal and labor contracting issues, and collaborating in the technical follow-up reports. And more than 14 years working as an associate professor for several of the UC3M guarantee my knowledge of the functioning of the University.


Ana Paula García-Nieto

Project Manager

PhD in Ecology and entrepreneur in sustainability, Ana Paula García Nieto works on scientific projects on the relevance of nature and human beings’ interconnections, untangling the interrelationships between these spheres. Within the ERC RIVERS project hosted by the Carlos III University of Madrid, she focuses on the management and communication of the project. Her position implies planning and monitoring the project tasks, organization of national and international events, responsible for logistics, participation in team meetings, support for researchers, project reporting and project communication.


Diego Padilla

Research Documentary Coordinator

Diego is a Guatemalan sociologist with a Master’s degree in social science from the École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris. He has worked for more than 10 years on qualitative research and multimedia projects in academia, international cooperation projects and as an investigative journalist.

His main research focus is the politics of water conflicts in Guatemala, and has worked on critical assessments on: the public management of water, the water law, the human right to water, extractivism, and case studies about water distribution and inequality in urban spaces.

As a part of the RIVERS team, Diego is mainly in charge of coordinating the production of the RIVERS Research Documentary, as a way to promote science communication of the RIVERS’ key findings.


Digno Montalbán Zambrano


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).

read more

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:


Manuel May Castillo

Postdoctoral Researcher

Manuel May is a Maya Indigenous scholar from the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Manuel holds a PhD in Architectural Heritage from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain.

His area of research lies at the intersection of indigenous heritage, archaeology and sociocultural anthropology. His work encompasses the socio-political dimensions of indigenous heritage and methodological considerations for a rights-based approach to research. Manuel’s work at the global level includes conferences and lectures at various universities and museums around Europe and the Americas, and steady participation in United Nations forums on Indigenous issues, i.e. EMRIP and the Permanent Forum.

Within RIVERS, Manuel researches the role of indigenous knowledge brokers, delegates and representatives in the production of knowledge and norms at the international level.

Local Research Team in Guatemala 2021-2022

Lieselotte Viaene and Maria Jacinta Xón Riquiac (Coordination)

Diego Antonio Padilla Vassaux (Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala)

Santiago Bastos (CIESAS, México)

María Ximena González-Serrano (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain)

Previous researchers, consultants and interns

Manuel May

Diego Antonio Padilla Vassaux

María Ximena González-Serrano

Carolina Angel Botero

Maria Jacinta Xón Riquiac

James Rodríguez

Marina A.R. de Mattos Vieira

Camille Parguel

Stella Terjung

Elisa Mandiola López

Selcen Kucukustel

Marta Rica

Kelly Quilcue

Paulo Illich Bacca

Documentary crew

Diego Antonio Padilla Vassaux – Research Documentary Coordinator

Mariona Guiu – Artistic direction

(under construction)