Having earned dual bachelor degrees in Arts and Education and a Master of Arts in History, Asifa has worked as a teacher and a child development expert and has been an advocate and activist on behalf of vulnerable people, particularly children and refugees.
With over five years’ experience working as a teacher in both Pakistan and Thailand, her passion as an educator is realized through hands-on teaching, coaching, and mentoring of children and young adults. She has led a team of over 100 people and previously worked in a corporate setting as an operations manager.
Having obtained over a dozen further short-course qualifications from organizations including UNHCR, the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (“APRRN”), the Jesuit Refugee Service (Bangkok), and Amnesty International,
Asifa has developed a broad range of skills including providing interpretation, counseling, facilitatingof training and seminars, being a first responder to provide psychological first aid, and providing sustained support to victims of abuse.
Asifa has been a frequent speaker and trainer in skills-based programs
in Bangkok both for local residents and international participants. In 2017 she was selected to represent refugee youth at the UNHCR . Annual Consultation in Geneva.
Asifa believes in informing . and empowering both individuals and communities and has worked tirelessly to do so. She continues to develop and lead numerous initiatives to raise the voices of those who would otherwise not be heard.
With a passion for literature and history, on the rare occasions when Asifa is not working she may be found writing or reading novels and poetry.
Rev. Dr. Pusin Tali is from Atayal tribe, one of the 16 indigenous tribes in Taiwan. He also is an ordained minister of Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and serves as the President of Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary (YTCS) since 2002. He was appointed as the first Ambassador-at-Large by the Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen on the 18th March, 2019 due to his works and concerns about Taiwan indigenous people’s human rights, land issues and indigenous autonomy. He further advocates that Taiwanese must strive to stand on the beliefs of human rights, democracy, freedom and justice, and make Taiwan a "New and Independent Country".
He dedicated his entire life in seeking for Taiwan indigenous people’s human rights, welfare, religious freedom and autonomy as well as the rights to their land, languages and culture. Such visions motivated him in his young age to go under the theological training and hoped through the power of religion and solidity with indigenous people, that God’s righteousness, peace, freedom and fullness will be revealed in all the indigenous societies of Taiwan one day.
During the years of serving in the church after his graduation, Dr. Pusin involved himself in many indigenous people’s social movements, such as “Return Our Homeland”, “Recertification Movement”, “Indigenous Autonomy Movement” etc. He stood with indigenous leaders in the frontline, organized and motivated people to fight for their own rights. In the same time, he earned his Master of Theology, Doctor of Theology degrees in South East Asia Graduate School of Theology (SEAGST). He started to teach Systematic and Indigenous Theology in YTCS in the year of 1992, served as president of YTCS in 2002 and elected as Moderator of General Assembly of PCT in 2012. He also is the writer of six books: The Unyielding Indigenous People: Story Theology of Oo-she Event (1995), Indigenous Identity as Taiwanese (1998), Theological Perspective of the Culture and Belief in Atayal Tribe (2007), Autonomy - the Only Way for Indigenous People to Survive (2008), The Theology of Survival of Taiwan Indigenous People (2012).
Ambassador At Large
Samuel D. Brownback
Sam Brownback was sworn in as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom on February 1, 2018. He served as Governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Previously he served as a U.S. Senator (1996-2011) and a U.S.
Representative in the House of Representatives (1995-1996) from Kansas. While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
He also served as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture (1986-1993) and was a White House Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1990-1991). Prior to his public service, Ambassador Brownback was a private attorney in Kansas and taught agricultural law at Kansas State University, co-authoring two books on the subject.
He earned a B.S. from Kansas State University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas.
Syahar Banu is a blogger, human rights researcher and activist based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her writings about human rights was published in various media, such as Vice Indonesia, the Asianparent Indonesia, Voxpop, and many more. In 2014, she is become researcher awardee from Volunteer in Asia in collaboration with UGM Yogyakarta- Bryn Mawr University – George Mason University – Haverford University US for interfaith relation and media.
As a part of the minority group, her concern in religious freedom and woman rights had brought her to join Sejuk (journalist for diversity), LBH APIK (Women Legal Aid), and volunteer in Pantau Foundation. Her latest research is about Indonesia mandatory hijab regulation with Human Rights Watch Indonesia.
Dr. Ja Seng Ing
Dr. Ja Seng Ing is a dedicated advocate for the rights of migrants, victim of human trafficking and religious minorities with seven years’ experience on dealing with wide variety of complex and sensitive human rights issues in Myanmar.
She has a Master degree in Human Rights from the University of Sydney, Australia. She has extensive experience working on migration, human trafficking issues and promoting religious freedom at both national and international level, including with the United Nations Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons (UNACT), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Vision and the Kachin Baptist Convention(KBC). A trained medical doctor, Ja Seng studied Medicine at the University of Medicine (1) in Yangon.
Currently, she is working as a Legal Researcher at the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) based in Yangon, Myanmar.
Ja Seng Ing is the co-author of a book chapter, Chapter 7 titled: “Precarity and Risk in Myanmar’s Media: A Longitudinal Analysis of Natural Disaster Coverage by The Irrawaddy” in the book titled: “Media in Transition: Legacies, Challenges and Change” edited by Lisa Brooten and Gayathry Venkiteswaran, page number 177, Singapore 2019.
Her research interest areas include migration, human trafficking and freedom of religion and belief related issues.
Amb. (ret'd) Grover Joseph Rees
Grover Joseph Rees served as the first United States Ambassador to East Timor from 2002 to 2006. From October 2006 until January 2009 Ambassador Rees he was the Special Representative for Social Issues in the US Department of State. For years Joseph has been a strong voice promoting human dignity, including issues affecting vulnerable persons and the family, within the United Nations system.
From 1995 until 2002 Joseph was a senior staff member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives, where he was responsible for human rights and refugee protection. In this capacity, he played a major role in the drafting and enactment of important human rights legislation including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the International Religious Freedom Act, and the Torture Victims Relief Act.
Joseph also served as General Counsel of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (1991-93), Chief Justice of the High Court of American Samoa (1986-1991), and Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the United States (1985-86).
Liv Hernæs Kvanvig
Liv Hernæs Kvanvig is the Coordinator of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) - a global network of parliamentarians and legislators from around the world committed to combatting religious persecution and advancing freedom of religion or belief, as defined by Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights.
The IPPFoRB secretariat is based in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in Oslo, which is non-governmental organisation working to ensure that human rights are respected through monitoring, reporting, teaching and democracy support.
Liv has worked with human rights for the past fifteen years covering a wide range of human rights issues. From 2013 to 2018 she was project coordinator for the Norwegian Human Rights Fund - a civil society organisation providing financial support and capacity building to local human rights organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. She has previously worked for the Indonesia Programme at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (University of Oslo) and the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board.
Liv has also worked as a consultant for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations. She holds an MA in International Relations and Asian Politics from The University of Queensland (Australia) and a BA in Development Studies and Social Anthropology from the School of African and Oriental Studies (University of London).
Shan is a partner at Kanesalingam & Co. He is also one of the founders of the blawg www.LoyarBurok.com, and a director of the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, also known as the Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok.
He obtained his LLB degree from King’s College, London in 1997, and was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1998. He also has a post graduate Diploma in Syariah Law & Practice from the International Islamic University, Malaysia. He completed an LLM at Columbia University, New York on a Fulbright scholarship.
Aside from his active practice in corporate insolvency, corporate and general litigation, and corporate advisory work, Shan also does a lot of constitutional and public interest litigation, primarily in the fields of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
He has acted for numerous persons who say they are wrongly treated as Muslim and being denied the ability to profess and practice their actual faith of Hinduism. He has also acted Hindu mothers who say their children were unlawfully converted to Islam by their ex-husbands. Shan was counsel in Indira Gandhi v Religious Department (2018), where Malaysia’s apex court in a landmark judgment overturned the conversion certificates of 3 children.
Shan also acted for an online news portal in a case establishing a constitutional right to a free press in Malaysia. He was part of the legal team in in several cases challenging bans on books, including a book published by Sisters in Islam; the Malay translation of Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Liberty and Love”; and a collection of cartoons by political satirist Zunar.
Since 1981, Debbie Stothard, a Malaysian, has worked as a crime reporter, government advisor, human rights advocate, and educator. In 1996, she founded ALTSEAN-Burma to develop innovative and empowering human rights programs, an organization she still runs. In 2013, she was elected Secretary-General of the International for Human Rights (FIDH).
At its formation, ALTSEAN-Burma used a range of assertive and creative advocacy tactics to target the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as an institution, in order to generate pressure for human rights and democracy. This encouraged more human rights and civil society organizations in the region to engage with ASEAN to incorporate commitments to human rights during its reform period.
During her human rights career, Debbie has worked with diverse communities and activists to engage states, IGOs and other stakeholders throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas on human rights and justice. Her work is focused on the thematic priorities of business and human rights, atrocity prevention, and women’s leadership.
Accordingly, she has either facilitated or been a resource person at nearly 300 training events. Most of these were grassroots-oriented capacity-building workshops, including 154 workshops on advocacy, 80 workshops on economic literacy and business and human rights, and 26 workshops related to transitional justice and atrocity prevention. She also started an intensive leadership program for young women from Burma, which has been running continuously since 1997.
She has been a high level speaker or moderator at many national and international conferences.
Since May 2016 Jan Figel was nominated by the European Commission as the first Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) outside the European Union. Mandate represents a new task to engage in this sensitive area mainly through international cooperation and development aid policy of the EU.
He often underlines that FoRB is an essential value for human dignity of everyone everywhere, for peace and justice in the world. His role is to work closely with other institutions within the EU (EEAS, Council, Parliament) and Member States especially in critical regions and countries. He named several regions as his priority: Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, Nothern and Central Africa, SouthEastern and Southern Asia. Mandate includes Special Envoy´s reporting within the regular dialogue of the EU with churches, religious communities and non-confessional organisations based on Art. 17 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Jan Figel is experienced Slovak and European politician. He was Slovakia´s Chief Negotiator and the first EU Commissioner responsible for education, culture and youth policies and Deputy Prime Minister and Vice-President of the National Council.
Kristina Arriaga has worked on the defense of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the United States and internationally for over 20 years as Advisor to the United States delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, an appointee to the Civil Rights Commission, and as the Executive Director of a U.S.-based public interest law firm that defends all religious traditions.
In 2016, she was appointed by the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In 2017 and 2018 she was elected Vice Chairwoman of the Commission. Since her appointment to USCIRF, Arriaga has met with the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the Vice Minister of Islam in Riyadh, the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, among many other foreign government officials, religious leaders, and human rights advocates. She has also testified before the U.S. Congress.
Arriaga is a sought-after speaker on religious freedom, on the intersection of religious freedom and women's rights, and on human rights in Cuba. She has spoken at numerous academic conferences, the National Constitutional Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, among many others. She has also appeared on several TV and radio programs on MSNBC, C-Span, FOX, CNN Español, EWTN, and National Public Radio. Her op-eds have been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. She is the recipient of the Newseum's 2017 Free Speech award.
Vo Tran Nhat
Vo Tran Nhat is Executive Secretary of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR). He speaks regularly at the UN Human Rights Council and at conferences on religious freedom and human rights in Asia and Europe.
He has written reports on the legal system in Vietnam, prison conditions, freedom of expression and religion or belief, as well as articles in the French and international press (Mediapart, Droit et soin contre les violences).
Nhat is in charge of the religious freedom project at the VCHR. He has a Master’s degree in Public Law and a post-graduate diploma in European Law (Paris XII University).
Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang
Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, CEO & President of Boat People SOS. He escaped Communist Vietnam by boat with his parents and younger siblings in late 1978. After 7 months in a Malaysia refugee camp, he arrived with family members in the United States as refugees. He entered college and seven years later graduated with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a Master’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Already active in community service while in college, in 2001 he left his engineer career to devote his full energy to organize Vietnamese American communities and bring democracy to Vietnam.
Since joining Boat People SOS in 1989 as a volunteer, he has successfully championed the resettlement of over twenty thousand Vietnamese refugees and torture survivors, supervised the rescue of over five thousand victims of human trafficking, and led the development of BPSOS into the largest organization in the Vietnamese diaspora, with operations in six U.S. cities and a regional headquarters in Southeast Asia. In 2015, Dr. Thang was one of the initiators of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief (SEAFORB) movement.
For his tireless work to defend human rights, bring democratic changes to Vietnam and develop civil society in Southeast Asia, he has received numerous national and international awards including the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award presented by the President and Chairman of Parliament of the Republic of China in 2011.
Benedict Rogers is a human rights activist and writer. As East Asia Team Leader at the international human rights organisation Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), he specialises in Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea and China. He has also worked on East Timor, Pakistan, The Maldives and Sri Lanka in the past.
Ben is a Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute, an Associate of Oxford House, a member of the advisory board of the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, a Trustee of several charities including the Phan Foundation and the Chin Human Rights Organisation, and serves as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, which he co-founded in 2005 with Gary Streeter MP.
He is the author of six books, including Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads (2012, Random House), and several major reports, including Indonesia: Pluralism in Peril – The rise of religious intolerance across the archipelago, published by CSW in February 2014. Ben
regularly briefs policymakers around the world and has testified in hearings at the European Parliament, the UK Parliament and the US Congress. He is a regular contributor to international media, including
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Huffington Post
and has appeared on BBC, CNN and al-Jazeera.
Phil Robertson is the Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division. He oversees the organization's work throughout Asia, with special focus on Southeast Asia, North and South Korea and Japan. He serves as a human rights advocate engaging with government and UN agency officials, a spokesperson representing the organization’s views who regularly contributes to national and international media stories on SE Asia, a strategic campaigner on rights cases and causes, and a researcher and writer on topics of human rights, labor rights, refugees and migration.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch in 2009, he worked for fifteen years in Southeast Asia on human rights, labor rights, protection of migrant workers, and counter-human trafficking effort s with a variety of non-governmental organizations, international and regional trade union federations, and UN agencies. As program manager of the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP), he oversaw the successful negotiation of the first regional inter-governmental agreement on human trafficking in the greater Mekong sub-region.
As a consultant, he researched and wrote the seminal report on trafficking and rights abuses in the Thai fishing industry in 2009. Working for the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers, he co-led the multi-stakeholder, multi-country process and served as primary drafter of the comprehensive civil society proposal to ASEAN for a legal instrument to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers. He directed the Mainland Southeast Asia office of the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center, working on trade union rights, democratic political reform, and rights of migrant workers, focusing on Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand. He also worked as a professional staff member of the Asia Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington, DC. A 1997 graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, he is fluent in Thai and Lao.
Eugene Yapp holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B Hons), University of London, the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP), University Malaya & Malaysia Legal Qualifying Board and a Master in Christian Studies (MCS), Malaysia Bible Seminary. He was an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya from 1993 to 2007.
He is currently the Director of RFL (Religious Freedom & Liberty) Partnership, a centre for the promotion of religious freedom for all persons. He also serves as board member of Kairos Dialogue Network, a faith based non-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of Christian-Muslim relations in Malaysia. In addition, he is the Executive Committee member in the coalition of civil society organisations in Malaysia called Plan of Action for Malaysia and oversee their Unity in Diversity programmes which involves issues of religious freedom and harmony. He is also the Senior Fellow of the Religious Freedom Institute of the South and South East Asia Action team and formerly the Secretary-General of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia (the evangelical alliance of Malaysia).
He was involved in the publication of the NECF Religious Liberty Report 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 (NECF Publications), Transforming the Nation, Forum VI., eds 2007. (NECF Publications), The “Copyright” Controversy of ‘Allah’: Issues and Challenges Assailing the Malaysian Church in The Church in a Changing World: An Asian Response: Challenges from the Malang Consultation on Globalization, 2010 (ATA Publications), Canning Kartika! Is Religious Parochialism Growing in Malaysia? In The Church in
a Changing World: An Asian Response: Challenges from the Malang Consultation on Globalization, 2010 (ATA Publications), “Religious Freedom in Malaysia: The Church’s Engagement for Justice and Equity in the Public Arena”, Lausanne Global Analysis (January 2015, Volume 4 /Issue 1), “The Church under Shari'a in Malaysia: Exploring Dimensions and Responses” in Occasional Papers in the Study of Islam, The Church under the Shadow of Shariah: A Christian Assessment (MTS Publications, 2017).
Andrew Khoo is a lawyer in private practice in Malaysia. He is currently serving his 10th year as an elected member of Bar Council Malaysia and is the new Co-Chair of the Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee, after leading the Bar Council Human Rights Committee for 9 years. He also chairs the Bar Council Trade in Legal Services Committee, and is
Co-Deputy Chair of the Bar Council Legal Profession Committee and Bar Council Child Rights Committee. He also chairs the Sub-committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing, and is a member
of several other human rights-related committees.
Andrew has represented the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), the Malaysian Bar, the Council of Churches Malaysia, the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia and the Bible Society of Malaysia in watching briefs on human-rights related cases before the Federal Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court. He has also appeared before several SUHAKAM public inquiries on public assemblies and enforced disappearances.
Andrew has briefed Malaysian Members of Parliament on legislative matters such as the abolition of the death penalty, the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, membership of the International Criminal Court, the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, the DNA Identification Bill, the Personal Data Protection Bill, the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill and the National Security Council Bill. As a response to the changed political environment in Malaysia, he is on the Bar Council team that authored various legislative proposals that were submitted to the newly-elected Malaysian Government's
Institutional Reform Committee.
He has also addressed various issues of human rights in Malaysia at the UN Human Rights Council and to the UN High Commission for Refugees, in Geneva, at the European Union in Brussels, as well as regionally and locally. He gave evidence before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform, on behalf of the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee, of which he was a member until November 2013. He authored the chapter on Law and the Judiciary in the Annual SUARAM Report on Civil and Political Rights in Malaysia from 2007-2014 and 2016, and his articles have been published in The New Straits Times, The Sun, Malaysiakini,
The Nut Graph, Micah Mandate, the Wall Street Journal and on the Malaysian Bar website and journal.
John E. McClurg
McClurg serves as Vice President and Ambassador-At-Large in the Office of Security & Trust. He engages the industry around the globe on today’s risk challenges and how BlackBerry | Cylance uniquely mitigates them with the application of AI & machine learning. Champions a move from a historically reactive security posture to one focused on proactively predicting and preventing future risks.
He comes to BlackBerry | Cylance from Dell where he served as its CSO, advancing responsibilities that included the strategic focus and tactical operations of Dell’s internal global security services, both physical and cyber. He was also charged with the advocacy of business resilience and security prowess generally, the seamless integration of Dell’s various security offerings, and with improving the effectiveness and efficiency of security initiatives, including Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.
Before joining Dell, McClurg served as the Vice President of Global Security at Honeywell International; Lucent Technologies/Bell Laboratories; and in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as a twice-decorated member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he held an assignment with the US Department of Energy (DOE) as a Branch Chief charged with establishing a Cyber-Counterintelligence program within the DOE’s newly created Office of Counterintelligence. Prior to
that, McClurg served as a Supervisory Special Agent within the FBI, assisting in the establishment of the FBI’s new Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center or what was later known
as the National Infrastructure Protection Center within the Department of Homeland Security. McClurg also served, for a time, on assignment as a Deputy Branch Chief with the Central Intelligence Agency, helping to establish the new Counterespionage Group and was responsible for the management of complex counterespionage investigations. He also served as a Special Agent for the FBI in the Los Angeles Field Office where he implemented plans to protect critical US technologies targeted for unlawful acquisition by foreign powers and served on one of the nation’s first Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
McClurg was voted one of America’s 25 most influential security professionals; holds a J.D. Degree from Brigham Young University; is a member of the Utah Bar Association; Co-chaired the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) of the U.S. Department of State; is a Special Advisor to the FBI’s Office of the Private Sector; and served as the founding Chairman of the International Security Foundation. He also
holds an MA in Organizational Behavior, BS and BA degrees in University Studies and Philosophy from Brigham Young, and advanced doctoral studies in Philosophical Hermeneutics at UNC-Chapel Hill and UCLA. McClurg also currently serves as a Fellow at Utah Valley University’s Center for National Security Studies.
Sussi Prapakranant is the Programme Officer at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and is based at the APRRN Secretariat in Bangkok, Thailand. APRRN is an open and growing network consisting of more than 400 civil society organisations and individuals from 28 countries committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific Region.
Sussi's passion for, and dedication to advancing human rights spans more than a decade and covers a wide range of issues. She has worked with diverse populations in the Asia region, including displaced communities in India, ethnic minorities in Vietnam, refugees, migrant youth and former political prisoners in Thailand.
Prior to joining APRRN she worked for a Thai foundation collaborating with UN bodies and other NGOs on combating child sexual abuse and human trafficking. She spent 2 years at the Department for Asia, Oceania and Latin America at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she conducted human rights research and monitoring to support Danish initiatives to promote and improve human rights in Asia.
Sussi also serves as the Regional Advisor to the International Detention Coalition for the Asia Pacific region, a global network of over 400 civil society organisations and individuals in almost 90 countries, that advocate for, research and provide direct services to refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants affected by immigration detention. She holds a BA in International Development & Socio-Economic Planning Studies from Roskilde University in Denmark and a MA in Asian Studies from Lund University in Sweden.
Desi holds Bachelor of Law from Al-Azhar University, Egypt and obtained her Master of Law (LL.M) in Public International Law from Leiden University, the Netherland. Desi has written and published extensive academic works related to Human Rights Mechanisms in ASEAN and Asia. Desi has a total of eight-year experience in the sectors of human rights, law and parliamentary cooperation, including 4,7 years with the ASEAN Secretariat, as a technical officer for the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIP A), the ASEAN Foundation and Entities Associated with ASEAN.
Currently, Desi serves as a Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator for a
joint project of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and the International Panel of Parliamentarians on Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) on FoRB. She has successfully led the establishment of a Southeast Asia Parliamentarians on FoRB (SEAPFoRB); coordinated the undertaking of two fact-finding missions on FoRB to Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; implemented three policy dialogues on “Mitigation Religious Tensions”, “Tackling Online Religious Hate Speech”, and “Legislating Religious Freedom”. In February 2019, the Project was selected to be featured at the UN Headquarter in New York, showcasing the successful works of the project in empowering parliamentarians to safeguard FoRB protection in Southeast Asia
W. Cole Durham, Jr.
W. Cole Durham, Jr. Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University. Graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was Note Editor of the Harvard Law Review and Managing Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. Former chair of the Comparative Law and of the Law and Religion Sections of American Association of Law Schools. Immediate Past President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), based in Milan, Italy; Co-Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion; co-author of Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives (2d ed. 2019); co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Law and Religion (Brill 2016), and co-author of a 4-volume treatise, Religious Organizations and the Law.
Naeem( Khin Maung Myint) is a Rohingya activist live in Yangon. He is also active in interfaith activities and currently he is a working group member of Law Ka Thar Ra interfaith foundation led by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo and other prominent religious figures from Buddhist, Islam, Hindu and other faiths.Naeem has been interviewd by many media outlets like CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, The Nation, CNAI, NHK, Myanmar Times, VOA, RFA, TRT World and many others.
Naeem was also an active member of Aung San Su Kyi’s National league for Democracy party (NLD), from 1988 till 2010 and actively participated inside and outside of the country for release of ASSK from house arrest, release of political prisoners, transferring power to elected civilians in 1990 election, imposing embargos on regimes and many other issues. Naeem attended many conferences hosted by FoRB and RFI as panelist.
Filip Buff Pedersen
Filip Buff Pedersen, works as a project consultant in Danish Mission Council Development Department, an umbrella organization for 35 Danish Churches and church based organizations in international development cooperation.
Filip has a background in political science, development and international relations and has worked with international development cooperation in the civil society sector for more than ten years. Since 2014 with a focus on freedom of religion or belief in Foreign policy and international development cooperation as well as religion and development.
Filip works for the NORFORB learning project on freedom of religion or belief (forb-learning.org) He is the coordinator of the Danish Network of parliamentarians for freedom of religion or belief as well as the Danish Network on Religion and Development.
Sean Nelson serves as Legal Counsel for Global Religious Freedom with ADF International, where he advocates on behalf of religious minorities being persecuted for their faith around the world. In this role, he supports ADF International’s Allied Lawyer Network, who represent clients who have had their right to freedom of religion violated. Based in Washington, D.C., he engages with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Congress, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and various other institutions and organizations to coordinate efforts to promote religious freedom worldwide.
He is also the co-chair of three International Religious Freedom Roundtable Working Groups, on the United Nations, prisoners of conscience, and justice and accountability. Nelson regularly speaks and publishes on international religious freedom issues. Prior to joining ADF International, Nelson was an attorney at Jenner & Block LLP. He earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School and is admitted to the state bar of California.
Dr. S. Ramakrishnan Suppiah
Dr. S. Ramakrishnan Suppiah ACMA (UK), MBA, PHD is Bekok State Assemblymen and Johore State Executive Council holding the portfolio of Consumerism, Human Resources and Unity. Dr. S. Ramakrishnan also holding the position of Deputy Chairman of Johore’s Democratic Action Party (DAP).
He is also an experienced lecturer of accounting and finance teaching in twinning programs from Australia in private educational institution. He became a political activist since 1999 and joined DAP. Since then he has travelled extensive throughout Malaysia advocating political change in Malaysia. He was appointed as a Councillor (Ahli Majlis) in Petaling Jaya City Council (MPPJ) Jaya from June 2008 to 2009 by the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government. From Dec 2009 to Dec 2012, he served as Senator (Ahli Dewan Negara).
Ed Brown is an American national, and is the Secretary General of Stefanus Alliance International, a Norwegian Christian missions and human rights organization with an expertise in freedom of religion and belief. Brown has a long-standing career in Stefanus, where he has also worked as a human rights advisor and human rights director.
Before his current position, he was a senior advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee where he coordinated an international parliamentarian network for freedom of religion or belief (IPPFoRB) and was part of helping to establish the network in 2014.
Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer
Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer is Professor for Religious Freedom and Research on Persecution of Christians at Giessen School of Theology, Germany, part time Professor of Religious Studies and Missiology at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit Leuven, Belgium, and Professor Extraordinary at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He is also founding Co-Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn – Cape Town – Colombo – Brasilia – Brussels/Geneva) and the World Evangelical Alliance’s observer on the World Council of Churches Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.
He holds a doctorate in intercultural theology from the University of South Africa and has written a postdoctoral habilitation thesis at Wuppertal Protestant University, Germany, on how different Christian traditions view being killed for one’s faith. He is the founding editor of the International Journal for Religious Freedom since 2008. He also coordinates different networks of researchers on FORB, connecting academia and praxis. He shares his time between Giessen, Germany and Cape Town, South Africa when he is not traveling.
Kasit Piromya is a former Thai diplomat, foreign minister, member of the Thai Parliament and member of the National Reform Steering Assembly. After retiring from the Civil Service, he became a political activist, a politician, a guest lecturer, a newspaper columnist and a television commentator on International Affairs.
He was on the Executive Committee of CALD (Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats) and Board of the LI (Liberal International).
Kasit Piromya is a member of APHR’s Board and Chair of APHR’s Thailand Caucus
Kyaw Min San
Kyaw Min San is a member of the Bago Regional Parliament in Myanmar and was previously a regional Minister of Natural Resources, Forest, and Environmental Conservation in Bago. He is a longtime advocate of human rights and the rule of law. Prior to being elected to the Bago Parliament in 2015, he worked with the International Commission of Jurists and British Council’s Pyoe Pin Program, and published research papers in related fields.
Kyaw Min San is a member of the APHR FoRB Working Group.
Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. is a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, serving his third term as elected representative of the Lone District of Ifugao Province.
He is a longtime member of the Liberal Party and has also served as a municipal mayor and governor of Ifugao. In Congress, he is a strong advocate for human rights, particularly indigenous people’s rights.