Hear more about the work from some of the inspirational speakers that participated in the Asia-Pacific regional event to mark Human Rights Day 2020.
Hear the story of Pratishtha Deveshwar and how she came to fight for disability rights after a horrific car crash as a teenager, stressing that she is a person first and how the barriers and prejudices in society creates the disability.
Pratishtha Deveshwar has been a spokesperson for the Indian government’s flagship programme for the right of all girls to education and to fulfill their potential. She recently made history by becoming the first person with disabilities from India to study at that prestigious institution.
Hear how Matrika Devkota used his own experience with mental health issues to break the silence and stigma around mental health, and to founded the organization KOSHISH, a non-governmental, self-help organization working in the field of mental health and psychosocial disability at the grassroots community level in Nepal. KOSHISH provides and advocates for independent living, inclusion and meaningful participation of persons with lived experiences of mental health conditions and psychosocial disability through strategic advocacy and service delivery in line with Article-19 of UNCRPD, 2006 at its core.
Matrika Devkota has been greatly recognized for this work, including by receiving the Human Rights Award by the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal in 2015, Dr. Guislain International Award for breaking the chain of Stigma in Mental Health Issue in 2013 and the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016 .
Monica Kristiani Ndoen
Monica Kristiani Ndoen is an indigenous rights defender from Rote, Indonesia, with a background in international law and she currently has an OHCHR Indigenous fellowship. She has spent the last 7 years working across the vast archipelago that makes up her country in the field of human rights particularly indigenous rights. Along the way she has heard the voices of so many indigenous peoples and communities who are all too often suppressed or silenced – whose rights are compromised or denied. (link to https://www.forestpeoples.org/en/indigenous-peoples-lodge-complaint-with-UNCERD-contesting-threats-to-indigenous-rights-Borneo)
Midnight Poonkasetwattana is the Executive Director of APCOM, a leading LGBTQI rights and HIV organisation in Asia Pacific. APCOM wants a world where everyone, including SOGIESC people (alt. people with any sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics) can fully participate in and achieve sustainable development in all aspects of their health, rights and wellbeing.
Midnight has been recognized many times for this work and this year he was recognised as Tatler’s Gen.T honouree for advocating for the rights of LGBTQ communities in Asia, and Future List 2020 as Thailand’s Human Rights advocate.
Special address Lavetanalagi Seru
Lavetanalagi Seru is a co-founder of the Alliance for Future Generations – Fiji, a young persons-led network working for sustainable development. Lavetanalagi Seru is an activist who works on issues of climate change, and the interlinking issues of gender, human rights and LGBTQI rights, as well as youth development. He is also a youth leader and co-chair of one of the action tracks of the UN Food Systems Summit. He has also engaged in how COVID-19 has impacted on lives in the Pacific.
Keynote speaker Jayati Ghosh
Professor Jayati Ghosh is a noted development economist, who taught Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi for 35 years and will join the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, U.S.A. from January 2021. She specialises in international economics, employment patterns in developing countries, macroeconomic policy, and issues related to gender and development. In 2011 she received the ILO Decent Work Research Prize (link to https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/multimedia/video/events-coverage/WCMS_167746/lang–en/index.htm ). She has engaged extensively on economic rights, gender equality, the care economy (link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB3dq2if_48), the need to rethinking economics and on how COVID-19 has reinforced inequalities.
Keynote speaker Joanne Carling
Joanne Carling is one of the most prominent fighters for environmental and indigenous rights in the Philippines, has been recognized for her work with a Champions of the Earth Award for lifetime achievement, the UN’s highest environmental distinction. She has served as Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and has chaired the Cordillera People’s Alliance in the Philippines. 2014-2016 she served as an indigenous expert- member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFii), appointed by ECOSOC.
Hear how she and other indigenous peoples pay a high prize for defending the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples against destructive businesses such as mining, dams and agribusiness. Standing up for human rights indigenous peoples play an important role is protecting our environment.