Shigeru AoyagiRead more
Since the beginning of his career in 1984, Mr Aoyagi has been associated with UNESCO through educational and cultural programmes of the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) in Tokyo.
Mr Aoyagi joined the UNESCO in July 2002 as Chief of the Literacy and Non-Formal Education (NFE) section in the Education Sector in Paris. In this capacity, he worked for the Education for All (EFA) programme, as well as its work on Literacy and Non-Formal Education (NFE).
He contributed to the adoption of the UN resolution on the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) International Plan of Action, coordinated the EFA Flagship programmes on UNLD and the UNESCO/FAO joint programme on Rural People and developed the UNESCO’s flagship programme of Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) for the 35 countries in the world.
From December 2006 to December 2011, Mr Aoyagi was Director of the UNESCO Office in Kabul and UNESCO Representative to Afghanistan. He initiated a large scale literacy project of Empowerment of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) in collaboration with Afghan and Japanese Governments to improve the level of literacy, numeracy and vocational skills of one million Afghan youth and adults.
In January 2012, Mr Aoyagi was transferred to the post of Director of the UNESCO Office in New Delhi, and UNESCO Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Notably, he led the development of SAARC Framework for Action for Education 2030 in close collaboration with its Member States and UN Agencies including UNICEF.
He was appointed to the Director of the UNESCO Office in Bangkok and UNESCO Representative to Thailand, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Singapore in May 2018.
Fernand de Varennes
Fernand de VarennesRead more
Fernand de Varennes is Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Adjunct Professor at the National University of Ireland-Galway (Ireland), and Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China).
Fernand de Varennes’ work and commitment focusses on the human rights of minorities, as well as the prevention of ethnic conflicts, the rights of migrants, the relationship between ethnicity, human rights and democracies, and the use of federalism and other forms of autonomy arrangements to balance competing cultural interests. His contributions on these topics in many parts of the world, including as a professor for almost 20 years at Murdoch University in Australia, and as a guest professor at the following institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe: Åbo Academy, Dato Bunka University, Ethiopian Civil Service University, Gakushuin University, Peking University, Seikei University, Universitas Pelita Harapan, Universitas Sam Ratulangi, Université de la Réunion, University of Hong Kong, University of Pretoria, and Vytautas Magnus University.
Fernand de Varennes holds degrees from the Université de Moncton (LLB, 1988), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LLM, 1992), and the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (becoming in 1996 the University of Maastricht, Dr Juris, 1996).
Jerald JosephRead more
For the last 20 years, Mr Jerald Joseph has been a human rights defender and trainer consultant at both local and international levels. He specialises in human rights issues concerning the rights of Indigenous Peoples, elimination of racial discrimination, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as Human Rights Based Approach in Development (HRBA).
Pioneering the programme of non-discrimination, Mr Jerald Joseph’s success was in the visits by the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, to Malaysia.
Mr Jerald Joseph received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Chemistry from University Science Malaysia. He subsequently earned his Masters in Human Rights from Mahidol University, Thailand.
He was one of the senior civil society members who led the Malaysian NGOs’ reporting to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva and had engaged with key stakeholders during Malaysia’s previous UPR process.
Mr Jerald Joseph’s active engagement with the ACSC/ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) process since 2006 had led to his election as the Chair of the Regional Steering Committee for APF in 2015. As APF Chair, he negotiated for an ASEAN People’s Statement which was presented to the ASEAN Chair prior to the ASEAN Summit. He also instituted the Terms and Engagement Modality and led the interface dialogues for the 2015 APF.
He also served as a member of various human rights organisations including the Commonwealth Foundation, Asian South Pacific Bureau for Adult Education, Asia-Pacific NGO Steering Committee of World Conference against Racism (WCAR).
He is presently a Board Member and Advisor of the Anti-racism and Non-Discrimination Programme of Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat Sdn Bhd (Pusat KOMAS).
Mr Jerald Joseph was appointed as a Commissioner of SUHAKAM in June 2016 for the term 2016-2019.
Mohammad ShahabuddinRead more
Mohammad Shahabuddin is Professor of International Law & Human Rights at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham. He specialises in history and theory of international law and human rights, and also in ethnicity and nationalism, self-determination, minority rights, and ethnic conflicts from international law perspectives. His research is informed by critical, postcolonial, and TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law) scholarship. He is the author of Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Minorities and the Making of Postcolonial States in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He is a recipient of the prestigious Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2018-2020).
Sima SamarRead more
`A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, renowned human rights advocate and an identified global influential female figure, Dr. Sima Samar has dedicated her life to public service, humanitarian work and women’s empowerment. Since 2002 -2019 she has been the Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) which holds human rights violators accountable and sets the human rights agenda in Afghanistan. Alongside this, Dr. Samar is the Chairperson of the Commission for the Prevention of Torture and was the Chairperson of Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) for short period.
Prior to her appointment as the chair of AIHRC, she was the Vice President of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan and the first Minister of Women’s Affairs. Dr. Samar served as the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan between 2005 and 2009 and in 2019 has been appointed as a member of the United Nation’s Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation. Samar also served as member of High Level Panel for Internal Displacement ,2020 –September 2021.
Her commitment to her community is evident through her NGO Shuhada Organization’s work in operating 55 middle and high schools for girls and boys in Afghanistan, and three schools in Quetta, Pakistan for Afghan refugees. In addition to this Shuhada operates 12 clinics and three hospitals in Afghanistan and one hospital in Quetta for refugees, dedicated to providing education and healthcare, particularly focusing on women and girls. Shuhada organization was also training women on different skills and promote their empowerment to enable them to stand on their own feet including midwives’ female nurse and a lot of income projects. Shuhada organization continue the work and building schools in remote parts of the country where no other organization goes there.
Dr. Samar has continuously advocated for the world’s under-represented and marginalized groups such as women, children and minorities, with the firm belief that respect for human rights and human dignity, equality between the people and access to justice will change the reality in the ground and reduce the conflicts.
Dolkun IsaRead more
Dolkun Isa is the President of the World Uyghur Congress, since 2017. He was a leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations at Xinjiang University from 1985 to 1989. He was eventually expelled from the university. Mr Isa sought asylum in Europe after facing political persecution by the Chinese government in 1994. In 1996, Mr Isa helped to found the World Uyghur Youth Congress in Germany and served as its executive chairman and president. As the most prominent Uyguhr human rights defender, he advocates for Uyghur human rights issues at international institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council, the European Parliament, European governments, and international human rights organizations.
Sajjad HassanRead more
Sajjad Hassan is a human rights defender and trainer working with minorities in India and the wider South Asia region. Sajjad is founder, together with regional experts and practitioners, of the South Asia Collective. Set up as a regional minority rights advocacy platform, also for collaborative evidence gathering, learning and sharing, SAC tries to amplify regional civil society voices for rule of law, justice and peace in South Asia, and against impunity. Sajjad also anchors Citizens Against Hate in India, a community resource network against anti-minority targeting and discriminations. Sajjad holds a PhD in politics from the London School of Economics, UK.
Nina Mariani Noor
Nina Mariani NoorRead more
Nina Mariani Noor is a lecturer in the School of Graduate Studies at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Nina is a former fellow in the 2019 United Nations OHCR minority fellowship programme. Coming from the Ahmadiyya community, she actively advocates for her community through research and activism. One of her research interests is Minority issues. She has written a book entitled: Ahmadi Women Resisting Fundamentalist Persecution: A Case study on active Group Resistance in Indonesia (Globethics.net, 2017). Her latest publication is "Marriage Registration for Minority Muslims: A Right to Administrative Justice." In addition to her academic life, she is active in interfaith dialogue through Srikandi Lintas Iman (srikandilintasiman.org), an Interfaith women's community and at the Institution for Interfaith Dialog in Indonesia (interfidei.or.id).