Angela M. Kuga Thas has close to 30 years of experience in promoting human rights, both nationally and internationally. She draws her knowledge and expertise through previous work experiences and her networking with human rights advocates in the field of gender and information and communication technologies; sexual and reproductive health and rights; women’s rights and the CEDAW Convention; human rights based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; poverty alleviation; HIV and AIDS; social entrepreneurship and women’s political equality. Angela has particularly keen interest and passion in the power of narratives, specifically in the development of counter and alternative narratives that would help promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression for all, especially for vulnerable and marginalised groups and communities. In fact, she actively does this using a popular approach, publishing and distributing these narratives to help increase public understanding on the lived experiences of the vulnerable and the marginalised. Armed with a professional doctorate (Doctor of Creative Industries) and a bachelor in development economics, Angela is also passionate about alternative learning methods to advance human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, good governance and democracy. She is an experienced trainer and facilitator, having worked in multicultural and homogenous settings, and has conducted numerous evaluations—from programme and projects to organisational. Angela is very experienced too in fundraising and project management, having managed on average USD250,000 a year in her last role as Executive Director of Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) and successfully raised USD403,942 from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women for EMPOWER (1 September 2018 to 31 August 2021).
Serene Lim is a lawyer with experience in human right’s work, particularly in the area of gender equality and internet rights, where promoting and defending online freedom of opinion and expression while at the same time ensuring redress for sexual and gender-based violence in digital spaces is one of the most complex issues to address within a legislative framework. Her undergraduate education in Mass Communication and Law allows her to expand her imagination and motivate her in bringing the often overlooked testimonies of women and vulnerable groups into the court room, and therein to restore justice. Drawing from her experience in research and in human rights organisations, Serene believes that undoing oppression and defending democracy requires change not only in law, but in politics, cultural, beliefs, technology, business and education. She is a recognized expert on sexual and gender based violence in digital spaces, and has managed project funds of USD180,000 and more.
Peer Accountability Committee Members
The establishment of our Peer Accountability Committee fashioned after the idea behind the “knights of the roundtable”, where everyone has a role to play and key responsibilities, but everyone is still equal at the table.
Dorian Wilde is a human rights defender focused on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) rights, particularly that of the transgender community. He holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) Psychology and has 12 years of experience in various fields including rights advocacy, administration, monitoring & evaluation. He specialises in the monitoring and evaluation of programmes and organisations, as well as team-building and risk assessment activities. The founder of Transmen of Malaysia, the largest community of trans men in Malaysia, Dorian also works on Malaysian healthcare and public policy as a Programme Officer with the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy.
Jamilah Lim is a media professional with over 8 years of experience, most of which are in communications, PR, editorial and marketing in the digital economy and media sectors, Jamilah spends her free time as an activist and advocate for human and women rights through her activities with two civil society organisations, The Malaysian Feminist (TMF), and Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists (MASH). She is generally responsible for content curation and generation, communications strategy, event management, research, advocacy and awareness building in both positions. Both organisations are affiliated with local women’s political equality advocacy group Empower, and members of the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO). Jamilah’s key interests lie in social justice, human rights, women’s rights and empowerment. She currently works at the Selangor Information Technology & E-Commerce Council (SITEC), an initiative of the Selangor State Government (under the secretariat of their investment arm, Invest Selangor).
Melissa Mohd Akhir is a training officer with Women’s Aid Organisation(WAO). She holds an advanced L.L.M. in International Children’s Rights from Leiden University, Holland. She was involved in the Beijing +20 Forum on women’s rights in Southeast Asia, with the Asia Pacific Women in Law & Development. She was also a resource person for IWRAW Asia Pacific at the “Experts Meeting on Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Shelters”* with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, at the London School of Economics. At the national level, Melissa was a Senior Advocacy Officer at Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) for 6 years, where she had trained over 100 Malaysian judges, magistrates, Deputy Public Prosecutors, court interpreters, police and social welfare officers on best practices on child victim’s rights, sexual crime cases, domestic violence that are in line with Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention the Rights of the Child (CRC). Melissa has worked on improving legislation namely the Child Act 2001, the Domestic Violence Act 1994, and the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017, with a particular focus on victim advocacy. She has written WCC’s survivor-friendly Court guidebook and video entitled “Surviving Court” as a form of support in trials involving vulnerable victims of sexual and gender-based violence. Her first working experience was with the Attorney-General’s Chambers as Federal Counsel (FC) and Deputy Public Prosecutor for almost 10 years.