Who we are

Our team

Paulo Casaca


Paulo Casaca founder and executive director of the “South Asia Democratic Forum”, is also the founder of the international co-operation association registered in Brussels “Alliance to Renew Co-operation among Humankind” (ARCHumankind), founder of the “Euro Reform Initiative”, of the consultancy company on sustainable development registered in Brussels, LessMeansMore, Land and Energy Sustainable Systems and was Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the US in the first semester of 2010.

Paulo Casaca was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009, where he chaired the parliamentary delegation for relations with NATO. He was a member of the Portuguese national parliament in 1992-1993 and a member of the regional parliament of the Azores in 1990-1991. He was a Councillor in the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union from 1996 to 1999, chief of staff of the Minister for Territorial Planning and Public Works in 1995-1996, economics advisor for the socialist fraction in the national parliament in 1989-1990, 1992 and 1994-1995.
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Massoud Zabeti


Massoud Zabeti was born in Iran but was raised in UK. He is a partner at English law firm, Mishcon de Reya. He has extensive experience and expertise of international human rights law and humanitarian law. Masoud has worked with Parliamentary committees in England and the European Union to research and prepare reports on human rights issues affecting the Middle East; in particular Iran and Iraq. He was the legal adviser to a delegation that visited Iraq in 2008.

Masoud is often asked to comment on human rights issues to the media, including SKY News, BBC News and ITN news.

Masoud is also regularly asked to speak at meetings held in the British Parliament and elsewhere. He has attended meetings at the UN, British Foreign Office, the US State Department and with other bodies to address issues of human rights.

Antonio Stango


Antonio Stango is a political scientist, founder and secretary general of the Italian Helsinki Committee for human rights. He is also a member of the Board of “Hands Off Cain” (International League of Parliamentarians and Citizens for the abolition of death penalty and the humanisation of the penal systems worldwide), the coordinator of the Italian Committee of Parliamentarians and Citizens for Free Iran and a senior member of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (recognized as an NGO with consultative status at the ECOSOC of the United Nations). From 2003 he has been a lecturer in International Law and Human Rights for postgraduate courses under the supervision of the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Italian Society for the International Organisation (SIOI). From November 2003 to July 2006, he lived in Central Asia as the Project Director of Freedom House Kazakhstan Human Rights Training and Support Program. In 2002 and 2003, he has been a member of the Human Rights Education Working Group of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. In 2003 he also served as EU / TACIS expert for the International Helsinki Federation project “The Legal Protection of Human Rights in the Russian Federation”.
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Madalena Casaca


Madalena Casaca is an editor and part-time researcher for the SADF Democracy Research Programme. Ms Casaca is a graduate in European Studies (graduated 2008) at the Lisbon University, where she explored with high productivity not only European and Western social sciences but also African Studies, Russian Studies and Anthropology.

Ms Casaca also completed a yearly Documentary Program in Prague in 2012/2013 and attended the Film School of the University of Wales in Newport in 2011/2012, where all the basics of visual communication were explored and developed.

A one year investment was made in Moscow studying the Russian language, of which she holds the B2 degree. Madalena began a Masters in World History at the Moscow State University, where she finished the first semester with the highest possible grades in all courses. She had to return to Portugal for personal reasons and now raises her young daughter in the Azores. She is transforming her Masters’ Diploma in World History into a book targeting scientific dissemination of the same subject, to be finished and sent to edition in December 2018.