ICO-Research Fellows

ICO Research Fellows have a strong profile on the human rights aspects of the particular thematic issue, and produces documents that are carefully researched, compellingly written, aimed at achieving specific impact in the field of human rights research, especially concerning right to self-determination.

Focus in particular on issues recurring in different situations, such as: division of governance competencies, fiscal organisation, rights of minorities and cross-border integration.

Their research would assist mediators, officials from international organisations, State officials and even self-determination movements. All our candidates have a strong track record of high-quality independent research.

2017 Entry

Dr. Tanya Herring

(PhD in Bangor University Law School, Wales, UK)

Tanya-PhotographDr. Tanya Herring is an ICO Research Fellow focusing on Member State responsibility and obligations to prevent, protect, and to prosecute under the Palermo Protocols for crimes against children and vulnerable populations during forced displacement.  Her research employs the UN’s legal empowerment concept as a conduit to achieve self-determination.  The study sets the Rohingya crisis as a ‘critical-case’ — permitting empirical analytic generalization of international remedies that can be applied in other geographical places throughout the world.

Her study is underpinned by the concept self-determination’s rudimentary components of human rights and foundational freedoms align itself with the core elements of legal empowerment.  Both models address gaps found in statelessness — a condition that exists as there are an estimated 33 million people who are forcibly displaced by domestic and international conflict and violence, whereby children represent at least 50 percent worldwide. As a mixed-methods socio-legal research, the study’s Tier #1 aim is to develop a scholarly ‘Model of Practice’ monograph, which depicts generalizable and replicable legal empowerment modalities for displaced populations. Tier #2 aim is structured as a response to the UNHCR and the UNCRC executive committees’ call to civil society and academia to research the large and troubling holes in the collective knowledge of the global statelessness phenomena.  The study also adds value to the basis for situations involving self-determination claims in particular compensation and relocation, as well as human rights violations in trafficking and labor exploitation.

Dr. Herring is an international criminal law and international human rights doctoral candidate/researcher with Bangor University Law School, Wales (UK) and researcher with the Wales Observatory for Youth and Human Rights.  Dr. Herring also holds doctorate degrees in education and management respectively, along with specialised training from the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the Université de Genève on children’s rights.

Νikoletta Pikramenou

(PhD in Law Faculties of Aristotle University (Greece) and Uppsala University (Sweden); Human Rights Fellow at the European Union Delegation to the United Nations in New York City (US))


Nikoletta (Nicole) Pikramenou is a human rights lawyer and a PhD candidate at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Uppsala University. She has an extensive experience in the field of gender and human rights gained mainly through her work at several organizations and institutions such as the Council of Europe and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in New York. Currently, she is finishing her PhD thesis on intersexuality and human rights. At the same time, she is working as a Researcher for Women’s Earth and Climate Action, International (WECAN) and the  African women-led organisation Make Every Woman Count (MEWC). Her main areas of focus are: Indigenous women’s rights, rights of Nature and African women’s political participation.
Research project with ICO: Indigenous women’s voices in decision-making as a means to self-determination.

Maria del Rosario Grima Algora

(Master of Laws, London School of Economics and Political Science)

rosarioRosario studied a double degree in Law and Political Science in Spain and then a Master of Laws, with a specialization on human rights law, at LSE. She wrote her final dissertation on the Women, Peace and Security agenda of the UN Security Council and she also wrote a research paper on the international law of self-determination and indigenous peoples participation at the UN.

She has experience working on human rights and gender, with civil society organizations and at international organizations such as the European Union Delegation to the United Nations (New York), where she mainly focused on indigenous peoples and women’s human rights. She is currently participating in the ICO research project on: “Indigenous women’s voices in decision-making as a means to self-determination”.


Irina Stepanova

(Master of Laws,  Uppsala University, Sweden)


Iryna Stepanova is an ICO Research Fellow with a solid background in law and a strong interest in human rights, international public law, international criminal law and taxation. She speaks multiple languages and has work experience in the public sector, the private sector and within international organisations.

Initially specialising in tax law, she has broadened her work to include all aspects of international human rights law. Iryna wrote her Master’s thesis on European Double Taxation Conventions and Human Rights in a Globalized world (2016) and highlighted taxpayer rights protection under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and European Union law, with special attention to the interface between the two legal orders.

In research, her main focus is the taxpayer rights realisation from international and regional legal perspectives. It addresses the right to privacy and exchange of information, right to property and non-discrimination, as well as the problem of double taxation, double non-taxation and the right to a fair trial on tax matters. In terms of the research, European case law analysis indicates the necessity to make the European taxpayer code legally binding and to adopt a new protocol to the ECHR, expanding the rights that are protected by the Convention.

The study asserts that the current level of taxpayer rights implementation and protection requires a development of an International Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Thus, the project involves and explores the right to be informed; right to quality service; rights to pay no more than the correct amount of tax; right to be heard and retain representation; right to appeal; right to finality; right to privacy and confidentiality; right to a fair and just tax system. Based on the research, international communities are called upon to create an International Tax Court.

2018 Entry

Alice Neeson

(PhD in Conflict Transformation, Queen’s University Belfast)

A Neeson photoAlice Neeson is a social anthropologist and action researcher based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her PhD research explored the role of participatory media in conflict transformation, with a particular focus on counter narratives and the potential for communicative justice in wider movements for social change.
She is particularly interested in the role of narratives in challenging inequalities, and exploring how participatory methodologies can be utilised for self-development and self-determination.