Women’s Rights: Voices from the Region


Co-presented with the Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) Program

25 November, 2010


In 1993 the World Conference on Human Rights declared that women’s rights were human rights, yet women remain marginalised both in terms of recognition of their rights and in the human rights system itself. In our own region, women continue to face discrimination economically, socially, politically and culturally. At the same time women have made extraordinary progress in advocating their rights and placing their perspectives in national and international debates, and they now occupy key leadership roles in the field of human rights in the region. At this forum, four eminent women’s rights advocates from Asia and the Pacific spoke about the tensions facing recognition of women’s rights in their countries and the region.

Speakers include:

  • Ms Tapora Isorua is a lecturer in law at the University of Papua New Guinea: in 2005 she became the first PNG woman to be appointed to this position. Ms Isorua is also a prominent women’s rights advocate and expert on the issue of gender-based violence. In July 2010 she was a member of the two-woman delegation from PNG, which presented before the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in New York.
  • Dr Chusnul Mariyah is a prominent Indonesian scholar, activist and a well known media commentator on politics and democratisation in Indonesia. She is the founder of several non-governmental organisations, which campaign for democracy, justice, women’s rights and conflict resolution. Dr Mariyah has been a lecturer at the University of Indonesia since 1982, and for three years worked as the Director of the Graduate School of Political Science and Political Relations. She is the founder and Chair of the Institute for Democracy, Defence and Strategic Studies and has dedicated her career to the advancement of democratic processes and women’s rights in Indonesia. From 2001-2007, Dr Mariyah was Commissioner of the Indonesian Elections Commission, where she oversaw the first direct presidential elections in Indonesia’s history.
  • June Oscar is a Bunuba woman from Fitzroy Crossing. In 2007 she led her community in lobbying for alcohol restrictions. June has been a director of Bunuba Films, and chairperson of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre. She currently works as CEO of Marninwarntikura Women's Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing. In 2009, June Oscar travelled to the United Nations with the Human Rights Commission to share the journey of the alcohol restrictions with the world.
  • Loretta Ann Rosales is a prominent Filipino lawyer, activist and politician. She is currently the Chairperson of the Philippines National Commission on Human Rights. Ms Rosales was instrumental in the movement to secure monetary compensation for some of the victims of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. She has also served three terms as the representative of the Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party to the Philippines’ House of Representative (1998-2007).