Minerva BHR is the first NGO in Turkey with a central focus on business and human rights.

Minerva BHR aims to contribute to the following:

  • Promoting Responsible Business Conduct
  • Combatting Modern Slavery
  • Advocating Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

Our Story

Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom, justice, law, strategy, commerce, and the arts. She is usually accompanied with her sacred creature, the “owl of Minerva”, which has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, aptitude and transformation. The Owl of Minerva was invoked by the 19th-century German philosopher Hegel at the end of the Preface to the Philosophy of Right: “The owl of Minerva takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering.”

There is a consensus for transforming how business gets done as well as legal frameworks, which lack the capacity to address society’s justice needs. COVID-19 pandemic worsened human rights abuses and the assault on the rule of law globally as well as in Turkey. However, knowledge matched with practical and timely strategy has the ability to reconstruct and form a bridge of dialogue between different constituents. In fact, the essence of justice, contrary to what many believe, appears in the strongest form, when the society feels the need for reconciling justice with the law.

Minerva BHR’s co-founders Dr. Çiğdem Çımrın & Dr. Pınar Kara were impressed with what Minerva symbolizes, particularly in view of the issues discussed in the BHR field. Similar to Minerva’s owl, Minerva BHR commits to spread its wings into the dusk by knowing that the darkest time of the night comes just before dawn.

Our Focus

Minerva BHR would like to engage in the following thematic areas within its collaborative, grant-funded and research projects:

Modern slavery

Forced labour & Human trafficking

Occupational safety & health

Living wage for workers

Conflict-affected and high-risk areas

Child labour

Youth employment

Migrant workers

Union rights at work

COVID-19 impacts

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Access to remediation

Climate change & Clean environment


Core Team

Dr. Çiğdem ÇIMRIN

Co-Founder & Chairperson

Çiğdem is a qualified lawyer and a BHR expert with a PhD in public law with thesis on “A Right-Based Approach to Companies’ Human Rights Responsibility: Human Rights Due Diligence”

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Dr. Pınar KARA

Co-Founder & Vice-Chairperson

Pınar is a qualified lawyer and a BHR expert with a PhD in private law with thesis on “Tort Liability in Corporate Groups: A Comparative Analysis with Particular Focus on Turkey”.

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Mahmut Can İSAL

Secretary General

Mahmut is the Secretary General of Minerva BHR and a lawyer with eight years of experience in advising to companies, NGOs, foreigners and refugees.

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Özge Nur KARA

Projects Officer & Researcher

Özge is a lawyer and consultant currently pursuing an L.L.M degree in public law with a special focus on business and human rights at Koç University.

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Serra Zoraloğlu

Projects Officer & Researcher

Serra Zoraloğlu is a lawyer with experience working in various international corporate law firms and non-governmental organizations, and a consultant specializing on business and human rights.

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