Our Team of Experts

Horia Mosadiq – Executive Director

Horia Mosadiq has been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights, and in particular women’s rights, in Afghanistan for decades. She worked for many years as Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher  when she oversaw numerous research projects including on civilian casualties, IDPs, returnees, the protection of women human rights defenders and the impact of violent extremism on civilians. Horia has also worked   as Director of the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium (HRRAC) Afghanistan, Media Commissioner for Afghanistan Elections Commission, Senior Advisor to Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Observer in the Constitutional Loya Jirga of Afghanistan in 2003- 2004, and Political and Gender Advisor to the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. Horia previously worked as a journalist and war reporter in South Asia.

Associate experts

In addition to its core staff, CAN relies on a network of experts in a range of thematic and regional fields who can offer advice or direct input into relevant projects. This loose network model allows CAN to be flexible in the breadth of projects it takes on, while also being able to provide a high-level of expertise in a range of fields.

Lucy van der Kroft

Lucy van der Kroft (Jones) is a freelance researcher with a focus on the Middle East and Afghanistan. She has worked as a senior Middle East analyst for a leading UK-based risk consultancy, as a programme officer at a policy research organisation in Kabul and as an Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International. She has advised multinational companies and organisations on the threats stemming from transnational violent extremism, with a particular focus on Yemen, Egypt and Afghanistan. She has a master’s degree in Middle East and Central Asia Security Studies from the University of St Andrews and a bachelor’s degree in Arabic with Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from Durham University.

Sonya Merkova

Sonya Merkova has extensive experience of leading and conducting analysis and human rights research in the context of armed conflict, transitions, peace and reconciliation. She has designed and led multiple human rights research projects such as on Afghanistan, Libya, Palestine and Sudan and have led research programmes for a number of UN global human rights thematic studies. She worked with Amnesty International and UN, including UNAMA in Afghanistan. Sonya has an LLM in International Crimes and Justice from the UN Inter- Regional Crime and Justice Research Institute and an MA in International Politics and Human Rights Law from City University, London.


CAN’s model is based not just on a commitment to research and advocacy, but also to supporting the communities directly affected by human rights violations. In the long-term, we aim to build up a network of research associates through training, capacity building and regular engagement. This will not just ensure that there is a new generation of human rights researchers in conflict-affected countries, but also provide CAN with invaluable sources of information on human rights violations in insecure and inaccessible areas. This aspect of CAN’s work is a more long-term than immediate goal, but we aim to include capacity building as part of our projects from an early stage. This aspect of our work has become even more important in the context of the departure of many experienced researchers from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.