Atunga Atuti O.J | Human Right Scholar | AUSTRALIA/KENYA
Mr Atunga Atuti O.J. has over 20 years’ experience in the fields of human rights, democracy and constitutional issues, national security and natural resource extraction.
He was a founding director and served for ten years with the East African School of Human Rights in Nairobi (a sub-regional organisation operating in Eastern Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo) where he was also Executive Director and Director of Programs. Prior to that, he worked as a consultant in the support and implementation of human rights programs in Kenya and Tanzania and as a university administrator.
He has been involved in several initiatives aimed at advancing the cause of human rights and democratic consolidation in East Africa including “The Nairobi High Level Policy Dialogue on the Referendum in the build up to the Independence of South Sudan” and on “Human Rights and Security Sector Reforms” in line with the implementation of Kenya’s Constitution in 2010.
He was convenor for the East African School of Human Rights dialogues on “The Referendum and (post)Independence of South Sudan” National Security and the Constitution of Kenya 2010 as well as on “Gender Equality and Constitution Implementation in Kenya in collaboration with International IDEA, Stockholm”.
He has published extensively in professional journals, conference proceedings and newspapers on human rights, democracy, conflict management, security and peace. He has featured in numerous public presentations at conferences, seminars, television shows and interviews.
He holds three post graduate qualifications, in International Relations and Diplomacy; a Master’s in Human Rights and another in National Security from Curtin University, Perth Western Australia where is he currently preparing for his PhD.
He is Deputy Editor to the East African Journal of Human Rights and Democracy (EAJHRD and Co-author ( with Prof. Makumi Mwagiru) forthcoming book on ‘Kenya’s National Security under the New Constitutional Order Threats, Responses and Strategies, (2020).
Dr Bipin Adhikari | Senior Advocate | Nepal
Dr. Bipin Adhikari is renowned expert on Constitution in Nepal. He holds PhD in Constitutional law and is a senior constitutional expert, having significant academic and professional interest in his subject as an independent constitution building specialist. Apart from constitutional law, he also has expertise in the area of institution building, human rights, access to justice, legal reforms, governance and democratization process. He is a member of Supreme Court Bar Association. He was conferred the title of “Senior Advocate” by the Supreme Court in August 2017. Adhikari is also a member of Nepal Bar Council Legal Education Committee. He continues to strongly support constitutionalism, the rule of law and liberal political causes in Nepal. Dr Adhikari.
Adhikari was the dean of Kathmandu University School of Law (KUSL) during December 2013 to April 2019. Dr. Adhikari’s career in the past has involved assignments with national and international agencies which include United Nations entities like the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Timor-Leste.
Dr. Adhikari was Chairperson of Nepal Constitution Foundation (NCF) based in Kathmandu and has written the book, ‘Constitutional Crisis in Nepal: Ensuring democratic governance during the transition to a new constituent assembly’ which is an important contribution to the theme of crisis governance. Dr Adhikari is frequently interviewed by BBC on various constitutional issues and his interviews and articles have been published in leading newspapers and magazines of the country including the The Kathmandu Post, The Kantipur and Spotlight newsmagazine. He also regularly shares his expertise on a variety of constitutional legal topics on local TV and radio programs.
Mohna Ansari | National Human Rights Commission | Nepal
Mohna Ansari, a well-known rights activist, and Nepal’s only female attorney from the Muslim community, was appointed as one of the commissioners for the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) in October 2014. Before this appointment, Ms Ansari was working as the Senior Advisor of IDEA International after successful completion of her four-year term in the National Women Commission (NWC) in June 2014. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in law and a Master’s degree in Sociology. She also graduated a course on the “Human Rights and Peace Studies” conducted by South Asian Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) in 2004.
Ms Ansari started her social career as a journalist reporting mainly on women and children issues and as an Attorney, she engaged herself in various legal assistance program for the victimized and vulnerable women and children. Before she was appointed as Commissioner in the National Women Commission she worked with various national and international organizations including the Action Aid, the McConnell Foundation, the Women’s Power Development Centre, and the UNDP in the area of women empowerment and social inclusion, gender and equity, legal education, conflict resolution, peace building and mediation and human rights. Working in the expert panel appointed by the SNV Nepal in 2010, she wrote a paper for the National Inclusion Commission (NIC) on social inclusion of Muslims in Nepal. Ms Ansari is also a master trainer of the “Gender and Equity Concerns” and has trained hundreds of men and women.
Ms Ansari’s extensive work experience by working and interacting at the community level made herself to understand the complex legal, cultural and system issues that affect the rights and wellbeing of women, children and vulnerable groups in Nepal.
Ms Ansari has presented papers on women and children issues in international forums in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Netherland, Belgium, and USA and also presented paper on “Statelessness among women and children in Nepal” in the Global Forum on Statelessness in Hague. Ms Ansari was honored by the Rt. Honorable President of Nepal namely “Suprabal Jana Sewa Shree” and also by “Celebrating Womanhood Navadevi Award”- an award that recognizes and honors real life female heroes of Nepal. She was nominated as one of the 10 Asian women presented as the “portraits of leadership” in an event organized by The Asia Foundation in USA California in 2008.
Ms. Ansari has always been a vocal advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights for all. Nepal Weekly magazine featured her work for the Muslim women’s welfare in its September 2006 edition. She has been writing on women and children issues that are published in the national dailies.
Govinda Sharma Bandi | Advocate | NEPAL
Mr. Govinda Sharma “Bandi” is a human rights lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court of Nepal with over 25 years of experience in the area of constitutional law, criminal law and civil law. He is instrumental in litigating human rights issues at national and international mechanisms. He has played a lead role in developing transitional justice jurisprudence in Nepal.
He has perused Master Degree (LL.M) in International Human Right law from the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He has worked as a research fellow at the Australian National University ( ANU) in 2014.
He has also worked as a Senior Legal Advisor to the International Commission of Jurist(ICJ) and many national and international organizations. In 2007-2008 he has served as a Member of the Judicial Inquiry Commissions, on Disappeared Detainees formed by the Supreme Court of Nepal. In 2000-2004 he was Vice-president of the Central Executive Committee of Nepal Bar Association.
He has worked as a lead researcher in a number of legal research including constitutional law, human rights law, humanitarian law, independence of judiciary, access to justice and transitional justice. He has received a number of award and fellowships including Australian Leadership Award, 2014, US State Department Leadership Award in 2011, Faculty of Law Award by the University of Hong Kong in 2006, Ford Foundation Scholarship 2005, Danida Fellowship by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Copenhagen, Denmark in 2005 and Fellowship on Human Rights and Diplomacy, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) Geneva in 2002.
His area of publication mainly includes impunity, accountability and transitional Justice. He has edited a book entitled “ Transitional justice and right to remedy: Supreme Court jurisprudence in Nepal”. He is an author of book “Transitional justice in Nepal”. He has published a number journal articles, research reports and opinions on constitution, rule of law and transitional justice issues.
Justice Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai | Supreme Court of Nepal | Nepal
Dr. Ananda Mohan Bhattarai is an Honorable Justice of Supreme Court of Nepal. He has done a Post-doctoral study and research from Max Planck Institute of International and Comparative Law Heidelberg, Germany. Before appointing as Justice in the Supreme Court, he served as Chief Judge for High Courts. Before being justice, he was also a Deputy Registrar of Supreme Court of Nepal. He served as Justice at District Court and High Court from long time upon joining Government services in the year 1980s. He has written several books including Judicial Ethics and Code of Conduct of Judges in Nepal, Protection of Himalayan Biodiversity, International Environmental Law and a Regional Legal Framework, Communities, Forests And Laws of Nepal and Displacement and Rehabilitation in Nepal: Law and Policy and Practice. Further Justice also holds Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, AVH Foundation, Germany, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program for Mid-Career Professional Study in the United States, Colombo Plan Fellowship from the Government of India, Best Book of the Year, Mahendra Vidhya Bhushan (Class A), Mahendra Vidhya Bhushan (Class B) and Gorkha Daxin Bahu (Class III) award.
Bolorsaikhan Badamsambuu | Advocate | MONGOLIA
Mr. Bolorsaikhan Badamsambuu is human rights defender and former Vice Coordinator of All for Education! (AFE) National Civil Society Coalition of Mongolia (2016-2018). Before joining AFE, he was human rights officer (2008-2016) and acting head of the division in National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia (2014-2015). In the past, he has experience in various human rights organizations and movements including Scout, Red Cross, National United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Good Neighbors Mongolia. In addition, he served as board member and chairperson of Amnesty International Mongolia and co-founder of Mongolian NGOs such as DemoCrazy Youth Center, Youth Policy Watch, National School Parents Teachers Association and LEAD Alumni Association.
As a doctoral candidate, his thesis mainly covers development of National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia (NHRCM), its efficiency in national level and contribution to the international human rights protection mechanism. In addition, he initially elaborated a proper model of National Preventive Mechanism against Torture based on capability of NHRCM in compliance with UN Convention against Torture as well as Optional Protocol. Recent years, he drafted and developed Law on Human Rights Defenders including protection mechanism for human rights defenders in cooperation with legal experts from NHRCM, Mongolian Bar Association and local CSOs. He studied law in Ulaanbaatar and holds master’s degree in law (LLM) from National University of Mongolia.
Chunghwan Choi | President of LAWASIA | SOUTH KOREA
Chunghwan Choi is a senior partner and Co-Head of International Practice Group at Lee & Ko in Seoul, Korea and has expertise in areas including IP & IT, media and entertainment. Throughout his professional career, Mr. Choi has worked on a wide variety of M&A transactions, complex cross-border transactions, franchise, intellectual property deals such as technology and trademark licensing.
As part of his professional and civic involvements, Mr. Choi was the Vice President of Korean Bar Association, the Chair of Asia Pacific Committee of American Bar Association (ABA) and a member of Management Board of International Bar Association (IBA). He currently serves as the President of International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL).
Mr. Choi received his LL.M from Seoul National University and New York University School of Law. Mr. Choi is admitted to practice in the Republic of Korea and the State of New York, USA.
Chunghwan Choi is the current President of LAWASIA, the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific.
Mark Daly | Daly & Associates | HONG KONG
Mark is a human rights lawyer originally from Canada and has worked in Hong Kong since 1995 primarily on public law/human rights litigation, advocacy and access to justice issues. In addition to test cases in the highest courts in Hong Kong involving permanent residence for migrant domestic workers (the “Vallejos”case 2013) and the refugee principle of non-refoulement in customary international law (the “C” case 2013), significant cases include the Court of Final Appeal (“CFA”) case of Sakthevel Prabakar v Secretary for Security (FACV 16 of 2003, Judgment 8th June 2004) involving the question of refugees and the Convention Against Torture “CAT”, and cases involving the issues of forced labour/human trafficking and LGBTI cases (the “Angus Leung” case going to the CFA on 7 May 2019).
As Amnesty International’s representative he has attended, as international legal observer, the trial in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the appeal of opposition politician, Lim Guan Eng. Mark is an original member of the Article 23 (opposed to proposed security legislation) and Article 45 (democracy) Concern Groups and his firm was the winner of the Asian Legal Business “Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year” and Law Society pro bono awards.
Mark also lectured on the legal position of asylum seekers in Hong Kong at the University of Hong Kong’s 1st “Intensive Course on International Refugee Law” in 2006 and has since been a trainer for the legal profession on Refugee/CAT law. He has been a speaker at the UNHCR, Geneva, on Human Rights Litigation and at the 25th LAWASIA Conference and the Commonwealth Law Conferences on human rights and the rule of law. He holds an LLM in Human Rights from HKU and other academic interests include strategic litigation, constitutional law and the rule of law. He is a member of the Law Society Council and member of the Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Committee
Manisha Dhakal | Blue Diamond Society | NEPAL
Manisha Dhakal is a transgender (male to female) LGBTIQ rights activist from Kathmandu, Nepal. She has been involved in Nepal’s LGBTIQ rights movement since 2001 through different projects on HIV/AIDS, human rights activism, constitutional campaigns, advocacy, capacity building and academic research.
Manisha is currently the Executive Director of the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading LGBTIQ rights organisation.
Regionally, Manisha is one of the founder members of the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network, where she represents South Asia. She is also one of the co-chairs of the ILGA Asia board, and a board member of IRGT, a global network for trans women and HIV.
Manisha was awarded the Nai Ram Laxmi National Award in 2010 for her contributions to the LGBTIQ movement in Nepal. She was involved in court pleadings on behalf of LGBTIQ people before the Supreme Court of Nepal, in a case which led to a landmark verdict directing the government to enact laws enabling equal rights for LGBTIQ citizens.
Manisha has a master’s degree in finance of Shanker Dev College, Kathmandu.
Shyam Divan | Senior Advocate | INDIA
Shyam Divan, senior advocate, practices before the Supreme Court of India. His areas of practice cover constitutional law and most branches of civil litigation including banking, securities law, arbitration, administrative law and environmental law.
He appeared in several recent constitutional cases decided by the Supreme Court of India including Jindal Stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana, (2017) 12 SCC 1; Abhiram Singh v. C. D. Commachen, (2017) 2 SCC 629; Justice K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, (Privacy) (2017) 10 SCC 1 (9 Judges); Kalpana Mehta v. Union of India, 2018 (7) SCC 1; Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India (2018) 10 SCC 1 (decriminalising homosexuality); Justice K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, (Aadhaar) (2019) 1 SCC 1; Indore Development Authority v. Manohar Lal; 2019 (14) SCALE 470 (Recusal); Kantaru Rajeevaru v. Indian Young Lawyers Association (religious freedom) (9 Judges).
Mr. Divan assists the Supreme Court as Amicus Curiae in a Suo Motu action initiated by the court for filling vacancies in the subordinate judiciary (Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) 2 of 2018) and in the Bellary case involving illegal iron ore mining in the forests of Karnataka. He also appears for the states of Haryana and Karnataka in inter-state river water disputes.
He is the co-author of Environmental Law and Policy in India (2nd Edition, 2001, Oxford) and has authored chapters on Public Interest Litigation in the Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (2016); Contours of EIA In India in Water and the Laws in India (2009, Sage); Fragments from a Manuscript in The Constitution at 67 (2017, Supreme Court of India) and on Civil Liberties and Biometrics in Dissent on Aadhaar (2019, Orient Blackswan).
Mr. Divan has served on the LAWASIA ExCo since 2015 and is Vice President of LAWASIA (2019-20). He serves as Co-chair of the LAWASIA Human Rights Section. He is Vice President, The Bar Association of India.
He serves on the Board of Care India SSD Ltd.; is a Trustee at the Independent Public Spirited Media Foundation, Bengaluru; Member of the Governing Board of Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi and the Consumer Education and Research Centre, Ahmedabad.
Saroj K. Ghimire | Advocate | NEPAL
Saroj K Ghimire is the Conference In-charge of this 2nd LAWASIA Human Rights Conference, Kathmandu 2020.
Mr Ghimire practices law at Supreme Court of Nepal and is an elected Treasurer of Supreme Court Bar Association. He is also an Asst. Prof. of Law at Tribhuvan University and holds dual LL.M from India and United Kingdom. He has 17 years of experience as an academician and practices law on various areas including constitution, human rights, investment, corporate governance and financing etc. He has instrumental experience in litigation and advising in largest and complex commercial issues to national and supranational bodies and conducts due diligence for business, labor and human rights for large entities and foreign investment companies.
Mr. Ghimire was actively involved in advocacy as a constitutional and human rights lawyer during the constitution making process by the First and Second Constituent Assembly of Nepal and has conducted multiple trainings for constitution, constitutionalism and human rights. He has been invited as Speaker, trainer, presenter on various constitutional, human rights business and investment matters in the national and international conferences and seminars. He is one of the international speaker from the legal fraternity of Nepal who has been invited at to speak the at the Consultation of Academies for Technology and Innovations by UNESCAP, Bangkok 2020, Annual Conference of International Bar Association ( IBA) in Seoul 2019, 8th Asia Pro Bono Conference in Kathmandu 2019, 1st LAWASIA Human Rights Conference – Delhi 2019, 32nd Annual Conference of LAWASIA Hongkong 2019, Annual Conference of International Bar Association (IBA) Sydney 2017, Conference on 2nd China-South Asia Legal Forum China 2017, SAARC Law Conference- Kathmandu 2016 to name few apart from various national conferences.
Mr. Ghimire has delivered guest lecture at the various Universities of India, China, UK and USA and has attended courses and trainings in China, UK, Sweden, Thailand, India and Myanmar. Mr. Ghimire is one of the recognized trainers for various legal issues for National Judicial Academy, Nepal Bar Association, Nepal Police Academy, Nepal Army and Nepal Bar Council and frequently contributes articles in law journals and has been interviewed by national and international journals.
Mr. Ghimire is also assigned responsibility to perform as Member Secretary for the Committee on International Bar relation and Professional Development of Nepal bar Association, Member Secretary for Committee on Global Relation and Professional Development of Supreme Court Bar Association, Member for the Committee on International Relation of Nepal Bar Council and Executive Member of Constitutional Lawyers Forum of Nepal. Apart from this Mr. Ghimire has performed as Coordinator and presenter for various national and provincial conferences and training for Nepal Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar Association. He is also the Managing Partner of Himalayan Lawyers & Associates, Kathmandu.
Nandini Gore | Senior Partner | INDIA
Ms. Nandini Gore, Senior Partner at Karanjawala & Co. and Advocate on Record at the Supreme Court of India, has been practicing since 1988 and has an experience of more than 30 years at the Bar specializing in Litigation, Arbitration, Corporate practice and Mediation practice. She is perused her LLB & LLM from Campus Law Centre, New Delhi. Ms. Gore has been ranked by Chambers and Partners Asia 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 for her outstanding service in the field of litigation. She has also been listed by the Lawyer’s World 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 in the Premier 500 category.
She has been awarded as Prominent Women in Law Award 2016. She is also figured in Leaders in Law in commercial litigation and mediation. Ms. Gore has also been awarded as Women Super Achievers Award by 7th World Women Leadership Awards, 2020. Ms. Gore is known for her drafting skills and all-round knowledge of rules and procedures, particularly for her expertise in handling complex, corporate & constitutional matters in Supreme Court for the Firm. She has also handled high profile royal family disputes, matters pertaining to environment and vehicular pollution, matters involving laws relating to mining or iron, ore and coal and also disputes relating to drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Apart from Supreme Court practice, she also attends to matters in high courts on a pan-India basis, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, National Green Tribunal, Company Law Board, Mines Tribunal etc. She has also appeared before various Commissions of Inquiry set up in India. Gore has also filed Public Interest Litigation before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India for the implementation of certain guidelines for putting CCTV cameras in all the buses and public transports for the benefit of women. On her request in a mentioning before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Supreme Court and the High Courts has installed incinerators and sanitary napkin vending machines in the Supreme Court Complex. She has also served as Secretary of the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association and has worked for the welfare of the Advocates and their families who are in need of financial help.
Apart from this, Ms. Gore is a certified mediator from the Supreme Court of India at the panel of Supreme Court Mediation Committee. In addition, she has acted as mediator in various high-profile matters. She has attended the Advance Training Programme in Mediation conducted by the Mediation and Conciliation Committee of the Supreme Court of India. She has done her mediation training program from U.S.A. and has done at least 100’s of mediations for private sectors / private mediations and court annex mediation and pre litigation mediations. She has also been elected as the Secretary of Supreme Court Advocates-On-Record Association. Ms. Gore has been highly valued by clients for her pragmatism and all-round professionalism in the field of litigation as well as mediation.
Sara Hossain | BLAST | BANGLADESH
Sara Hossain is a barrister practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, mainly in the areas of constitutional, public interest and family law. She is a partner at the law firm of Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates, and serves pro bono as the Honorary Executive Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust. She is a member of the Board of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and associated with several international civil society initiatives (the Advisory Board of the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Advisory Committee of the Women’s International Coalition on Gender Justice (WICG) the Bureau of South Asians for Human Rights, as and the International Commission on the Chittagong Hill Tracts).
In 2016, Sara was appointed by the President of the UN Human Rights Council to serve as a member of the Group of Experts on Accountability in the DPRK, and from July 2018 to March 2019 as a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza Protests of 2018. Sara also participated in the Task Force on Justice, convened by Pathfinders International, focusing on SDG 16.
Sara ran the South Asia Programme at INTERIGHTS from 1997 to 2003. She was a founding board member of the South Asia Women’s Fund (now the Women’s Fund Asia) and served as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists.
Sara’s casework on women’s rights before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has included among others, representing public interest petitioners, including BLAST, in writs challenging ‘fatwa’ violence (degrading punishments being imposed on women and girls accused of violating community norms on sexuality), ‘forced veiling’ and the use of the ‘two finger test’ as a form of medical evidence collection. She had also been involved in amicus/ third party briefs including in relation to constitutional litigation before the Supreme Court of Nepal in a case challenging marital rape as discrimination, before the European Court of Human Rights challenging the requirement of proof of force to establish rape (MC v Bulgaria), and to the ICC an amicus brief, with WICGJ and Naripokkho, on the issue of the deportation of Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Sara writes and speaks on public interest law, human rights and women’s rights and access to justice. Her publications include “Confronting Constitutional Curtailments: Attempts to Rebuild Independence of the Judiciary in Bangladesh,” in Paul Brass (ed) Handbook of Politics in South Asia (Routledge, 2010), ‘Wayward Girls and Well-Wisher Parents: Habeas Corpus, Women’s Rights to Consent and the Bangladesh Courts” in Aisha Gill (ed) Forced Marriage (Zed, London 2010); (with Bina de Costa) “Redress for Sexual Violence Before the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh: Lessons from History, and Hopes for the Future” in Criminal Law Forum, Volume 21, Number 2, 331-359; (Co-edited with Lynn Welchman) “Honour”: Crimes, Paradigms and Violence against Women (Zed Books, London, 2005), (co-edited with Dina M. Siddiqi) Human Rights in Bangladesh 2007 (ASK, Dhaka, 2008), (with Sajeda Amin), : “Rohingya Refugee Women and Girls: Remedies and Responses to Sexual and Gender based Violence in Bangladesh” in Imtiaz Ahmed (ed) The Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions, (Dhaka 2019).
Sara was educated at Wadham College, Oxford (MA (Hons) 1988), called to the Bar from Middle Temple (1989), enrolled in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh (1992) and then in the Appellate Division in 2008.
She has received awards from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), the US State Department (Women of Courage), ‘Ananya’ magazine and been selected as a World Economic Forum Fellow and an Asia 21 Fellow.
Hisaan Hussain | Advocate | MALDIVES
With over 15 years of experience in legal practice, Ms. Hussain has worked as legal advisor to the President, to various Government Agencies, as a State Attorney and as a Public Prosecutor. Over the years she has handled wide range of advisory and contentious work including range of commercial, civil, administrative and constitutional cases. She is a well-known human rights lawyer in the Maldives and has represented clients in many civil and human rights abuse cases since 2012. Some of the clients she has represented include:
– Former President Mohamed Nasheed. She has represented him since 2012 in the highly controversial criminal case against him.
– Family of recently murdered blogger Yameen Rasheed. She is working with the family in their claim to establish police negligence and seek justice.
– Family of missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan. She is working with the family in exercising their right to information and the family’s search for justice.
– Former Chief Justice of Maldives Hon. Abdulla Saeed who was arbitrarily detained under an unconstitutional State of Emergency declared in early 2018.
She also represented the current President of Maldives His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and current Speaker of Parliament Honorable Qasim when they were arbitrarily detained during the regime of former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom. In addition, she has represented many individuals including members of Parliament, former cabinet ministers and political activists in cases of unlawful arrests and violation of their civil and political rights.
Pillkyu Hwang | Gonggam Human Rights Law Foundation | Republic of Korea
Pillkyu Hwang is an expert on business and human rights in Korea and Asia. He has been invited to 2 regional expert meetings organized by John Ruggie in the process of formulating the UN Guiding Principles (UNGP), and to numerous government and business (including Samsung and LG) consultations on business and human rights in Korea. He also has been involved in various human right violation cases of Korean multinational corporations in China, India, the Philippines, Laos, etc. mobilizing judicial and non-judicial remedies of the national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and national contact points (NCPs) of the OECD Guidelines etc.
Prof Yasushi Higashizawa | Meijigakuin University | JAPAN
Professor of the Meiji Gakuin University, Faculty of Law and a Special Counsel of , the Nishi Tokyo Kyodo Law Offices (Tokyo). Attorney at law admitted in Japan, States of New York and California, USA, as well as Listed Counsel of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He serves as a Co-Chair of the Human Rights Section of the LAWASIA as well as a Counselor to the President of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA). He also served, among others, as a chair of the International Human Rights Committee (IHRC) of the JFBA, a Council Member of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBA-HRI) and a ExCo. Member of the International Criminal Bar (ICB).
Khunan Jargalsaikhan | Mongolia Bar Association | MONGOLIA
Mr. Khunan Jargalsaikhan, Master of State and Law Science, is Immediate Past President, acting Board member of the Mongolian Bar Association (MBA). Prior to his election in 2017, he served as Head of Foreign Relations and Cooperation division of MBA.
Mr. Khunan specializes in human rights and judiciary, and began his career at a Judicial Reform Project in 2002 before joining the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia. In 2007 he was appointed as National Project Manager of UNDP Access to Justice and Human Rights project after which he was also appointed as National Project Manager of UNDP Overcoming Poverty through Legal Empowerment project in 2011 and served until the completion of the project in 2013.
Later Mr. Khunan worked as National Consultant of Legal Empowerment Project at the Open Society Forum before joining MBA. He has conducted and led numerous research works including research on judicial independence, appointment of judges, application of international human rights treaties at courts, access to justice, mechanism of legal aid delivery, legal empowerment and others.
Mr. Khunan holds an L.L.M degree from Eotvos Lorand University of Science, Faculty of State and Law, Hungary. He received an Honor Letter the from Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia and from the Capital City Citizens’ Representative, and “Human Rights” Honor medal from the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia.
Dr Loganathan Krishnan | Monash University | MALAYSIA
Dr Loganathan Krishnan pursued Bachelor of Laws (Hons) at University of London, Master of Laws and Doctor of Philosophy at University of Malaya, Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education at Curtin University of Technology, Perth Australia. He was in legal practice at Thampa Solicitors, London before moving on to academia. He was at SEGi University, Curtin University and University of Tunku Abdul Rahman and now at Monash University Malaysia. His research is on minority rights and corporate law. His publication includes a book titled Principles of Business and Corporate Law, Malaysia (3 rd ed), Wolters Kluwer and book chapters and articles in Asian Law Journal, CRRC Consumer Review, CLJ, INSAF Journal of the Malaysian Bar, ICCLR, IIUMLJ, Journal of Governance and Development, JMCL, Journal of Legal Studies, MLJ, Malaysian Journal of Law and Society, Malaysian Journal of Syariah and Law, Malaysian Labour Review, Quarterly Law Review, Rekayasa Journal of Law, Ethics and Governance, Syariah Journal, Law Review, Company Lawyer, International Company and Commercial Law Review and Tax Guardian. For further information https://www.monash.edu.my/business/about/school/academic-staff/business-law-taxation/dr-loganathan-krishnan
Prashant Kumar | President-Elect, The Bar Association of India | INDIA
Prashant Kumar was President of LAWASIA from 2015-2017. A policy economist turned lawyer, Mr Prashant Kumar specialises in constitutional law, commercial and civil matters, arbitration and intellectual property, as well as matters relating to information technology law, infrastructure agreements, public-private partnerships and anti-dumping laws.
Mr Kumar’s law firm seconded three domain consultants to the Asian Development Bank led project team to carry out IT reform in the Delhi judiciary as a pilot project in 2003-2005 and he actively engages in assisting infusion of technology in judicial systems on informal basis.
He has taken keen interest in using technology to carry out legal processes and his firm has developed and worked successfully IT based dispute resolution model for resolving mass auto loan disputes in which statements of claim and documentation is generated in a fully automated manner involving a range of legal and fact variations. Arbitrators are also made available award assist programme, which produces a template award which arbitrators can validate, improve and utilise as a base to pass an appropriate award.
Mr Kumar heads KPA Legal, a boutique law firm with a clientele that includes MNCs and major corporate houses in India.
Mr Kumar is a Life Member of both the Bar Association of India and the Supreme Court Bar Association. He has held various positions in the Bar Association of India and currently serves as its President Elect.
Takgon Lee | Dongcheon Foundation | SOUTH KOREA
Takgon Lee is an attorney working at Dongcheon Foundation. Dongcheon is a public interest law foundation founded by Bae, Kim and Lee, LLC, and offers pro bono services for socially disadvantaged and minorities, working in various areas including, but not limited to, refugees, migrants, women, teenagers, social enterprises, social welfare, North Korean refugees, and persons with disabilities. Before joining Dongcheon, Takgon has worked as a corporate counsel. Now, he focuses on legal advocacy and policy reform for refugees and migrants. His current interest includes, among others, birth registration for migrant children, right to stay for long-term resident migrant children, as well as domestic interpretation and implementation of international human rights treaties and instruments including Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Global Compact for Migration. He also serves as a member at the Human Rights Committee of the Korean Bar Association (KBA), and Refugees/Migrants Rights Task Force of the KBA.
Takgon received Juris Doctor in Korea on 2013. He was admitted into Korea Bar Association on 2013, and California Bar Association on 2015.
Holly Doel-Mackaway | Macquarie University | AUSTRALIA
Holly’s primary research focus is children and the law, particularly the legal relationship between the State and children, and the duties owed by States to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Her work critically engages with the interpretation and implementation of article 12 of CRC that requires States to ensure children and young people have the opportunity to express their views about matters affecting them and take account of these views in decision making processes including in national constitutions. Throughout her career Holly has worked as a children’s rights lawyer for the United Nations and various international non-government organisations providing specialised advice on international human rights law pertaining to children and young people. She has held senior legal and managerial positions across a range of child focused agencies including UNICEF Pacific, Save the Children and with the NSW Department of Community Services. Holly teaches constitutional law, child/elder law and legal research.
Bishwa Kanta Mainali | Supreme Court of Nepal | NEPAL
Bishwa Kanta Mainali is Senior Advocate at Supreme Court of Nepal. He has practiced more than 45 years in the area of Constitutional Law, Human Rights Law, Civil Law, Criminal Law and Business Law. He is the former President of Nepal Bar Associations and former Vice President of LAWASIA. He was also the Vice President of Bar Council of Nepal and Member of National Judicial Academy, Member of Nepal Law Reform Commission, National Judicial Restructuring Committee in Federal Structure, Nepal, Member of National Legal Aid Committee and Vice President, Executive Committee of Notary Public Act, Nepal to name few. He was the founding Member Nepal Law Society, Nepal Jurist Society, founding Member and President for Forum for Protection of Human Rights and founding Member and General Secretary for Nepal Switzerland Friendship Association
Snr Adv Mainali has advised the President of Nepal and Various Prime Ministers of Nepal on constitutional and treaty law matters. And has been Chief Representative of NGOs of Nepal at the Vienna conference on International Human Rights, 1993, represented Nepalese NGOs before the United Nation High Commission of Human Rights on British Gurkha issues and situation of human rights in Nepal, became International Election Observer, first national election of the Republic of South Africa; national election of Pakistan; and national election of Sri Lanka and was founding member and Chairman for National Election Observation Committee, Nepal.
He has contributed Hundreds of articles, interview and has advised the Constitution Drafting Commission on drafting the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990, and amendments and has advised on framing various Nepalese legislations and amendments. He was the Coeditor of Nyayadoot, a law journal of Nepal Bar Association and former correspondences for Human Rights bulletin of LAWASIA.
Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla | Supreme Court of Nepal | NEPAL
Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla, was one of the renowned law practitioner at Supreme Court before she was appointed as Justice for the Supreme Court. As a law practitioner she consistently advocated for women’s right and right of marginalized group’s right. She was driving force behind the passage of legislation to criminalize marital rape, decriminalization of abortion, equal right to property for women, criminalizing domestic violence and maintaining confidentiality in accessing justice. As a Public Interest Lawyer she had brought/litigated several landmark cases to Nepal’s Supreme Court from Environmental issues to Gender Justice.
She was nominated in 2008 at the First Constituent Assembly of Nepal where she contributed extensively in negotiating and drafting the new Constitution of Nepal that recognizes diversity but also rights of marginalized population. In 2012 she was also awarded Senior Advocate title by the Supreme Court of Nepal. She was active member of Supreme Court Bar Association and Nepal Bar Association.
She was appointed as an independent expert in United Nations Committee Against Torture in 2014. In 2016 she has been alleviated as Judge of the Supreme Court of Nepal. She is also a President of SAARC Law Nepal Chapter and Member of Access to Justice Commission and Chairing Nepal Law journal publication Committee of Supreme court.
As a Judge to the Supreme court of Nepal she has already delivered many important judgment on Environmental justice , External Voting Right, Right against cruel and inhuman behavior towards Animals and on Gender Justice.
She has Bachelor in Law (BL) degree from Nepal Law Campus Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal ; Master in Comparative Law (MCL), Faculty of Law, Delhi University, Delhi, India and Mid Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA), Mason Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Hirokatsu Nakajima | Attorney | JAPAN
Mr. Nakajima is a Japanese asylum and an immigration lawyer (2009-present).
His activities of the Bar Association are as follows.
– Member of the Committee on human rights of Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association ; Former Chairperson of Sectional meetings for international human rights
– Chairperson of the Tokyo Legal Consultation Committee for foreigners
– Vice-chairman of the the Committee for realization of individual Communication of Japan Federation of Bar Associations
He lectured about international human rights and individual communications in each local bar association in Japan with Mr. Hidefumi Okawa(2016-present).
As an Vice-chairman of Individual Complaint System Realization Committee of JFBA, he was dispatched as a representative of JFBA to UHCHR in Geneva and the Danish Institute for Human Rights and NGOs in Denmark(2019).
During this Lawasia Human Right Conference, he strongly wishes to exchange friendship with foreign attorneys especially in the field of asylum, immigration, and individual communication.
Amirali Nasir | Law Society of Hong Kong | HONG KONG
Mr. Amirali B. Nasir has been involved in thework of various Law Society committees since 1995 andfirst joined the Law Society Council in 2005. He was elected Vice-President of the Law Society in 2016 and re-elected in 2017 and 2018. He presently chairs the Law Society’s Constitutional and Human Rights Committee,International Legal Affairs Committee, The InnoTech Committeeand the Islamic Finance Working Party,among others. He was appointed for 8 years on HKSAR’s human rights institution in Hong Kong, the Equal Opportunities Commission,which is a government funded statutory body responsible for implementing its four anti-discriminatory ordinances and continues to serve on one of its sub-committees. He is presently serving on the advisory Committee on Pilot Scheme for Provision of Publicly-funded Legal Assistance for Non-refoulment Claimants.
Mr. Nasir is the founder of Nasirs Solicitors. His main areas of practice are litigation and commercial law. He handled 9 Judicial Review applications against the thenBritish Hong Kong Government’s decision to repatriate all Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong to Vietnam before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
Hon’ble Justice Njoki Susanna Ndungu | Supreme Court Justice, Supreme Court of Kenya | KENYA
Hon. Lady Justice Njoki Susanna Ndungu is a Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya. She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and holds both a Masters in Law degree (LL.M) in Human Rights and civil liberties and a diploma in Women’s rights. She has previously worked at the Office of the Attorney General, and on human rights issues both at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the African Union.
Justice Njoki S. Ndungu is a former Member of the Pan-African Parliament and of the 9th Parliament in the National Assembly of Kenya. She is the architect of the Sexual Offences Act 2006, and of amendments to the Employment Act 2007 providing for paid maternity and paternity leave, as well to the Political Parties Act 2007 on affirmative action measures for women in political participation. She spearheaded the national campaign on the zero rating of taxation of Sanitary towels.
Hon. Njoki Ndungu sat as a member of the Committee of Experts that drafted the Kenyan Constitution and has received international and national recognition for her work; she was awarded the UN Person of the Year in Kenya 2006 and the International Commission of Jurists – Jurist of the Year Award 2006 and Presidential Commendation of the rank of the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) in the same year. Justice Njoki was more recently awarded the rank of Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS).
Chuluuntsetseg Ochirjantsan | Advocate | MONGOLIA
Ms. Chuluuntsetseg had finished her Bachelor and Masters from Law School of National University of Mongolia, in study of Human Rights and International Law. She is an attorney, able to serve under Law of Mongolia. Her specialty in Legal and Human right sector served for last 18 years.
In terms of protecting Women Right, each year, she had successfully contributed to provide free guidance to the public, ProBono acts, instructing Undergraduates in Legal studies, giving hand to people who has disadvantage in finance.
In the Legal and Human right experience wise, she had successfully committed to gain knowledge from China, Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Russia. Currently she holds member of Mongolian Bar Association and Mongolia Advocates Association. She had been awarded Gold medal from Mongolian Attorney Association, which gave her a title as Leadership of Justice in Mongolian legal sector.
National University of Commerce and Business
Mr. Rentsendorj had been finished his Bachelor and Master degree in Accounting from National University of Commerce and Business. His highest degree research was Accounting Information Systems. He has served his last 19 years for Education and Human right sector.
In terms of protecting Children Right, each year, he had successfully contributed to provide free guidance to the public, ProBono acts, instructing Undergraduates in Legal studies, giving hand to people who has disadvantage in finance.
Within his specialty in accounting and human right sector, he had gained experiences from Germany, Russia, Austria, China and Korea. Currently he holds member of the Mongolian Tax Specialist Advisory Society. He was awarded Medal of educator for the Younger Generation in 2008, and became leadership of Education and Science in Mongolia.
Kosuke Oie | Japan Federation Bar Association | JAPAN
Mr Kosuke OIE is an attorney-at-law qualified in Japan and a partner at Hiroo Park Law Firm, Tokyo, Japan. In his private practice, he specializes in international cases such as immigration, labour, family, criminal and corporate. He also works as an officer at Office of International Affairs for the Japan Federation of Bar Association. In his pro bono activities, he serves as a project team member of the JFBA’s Human Rights Protection Committee. He holds the distinction of serving as a Chairperson of the Kanto Federation of Bar Associations’ labor project team to protect the rights of migrant workers in Japan. Additionally, he is a member of both the Tokyo Bar Association’s Committee on the Protection of Foreigners’ Human Rights and the JFBA’s International Human Rights Committee. He is also active as a member of various lawyers’ groups for foreign nationals in Japan, including Lawyers’ Network for Foreigners, Lawyers for Trafficked Victims and Lawyers’ Network for Foreign Trainees.
He has written several books and papers, mainly on the rights of foreign nationals in Japan, including a guidebooks on practices of employment of foreign nationals. He contributed various articles for domestic and international newspapers and magazines. He also spoke in various occasion as a lecturer or panelist, including a symposium on migrants and human security held by International Society for Gender Studies in June 2018.
Hidefumi Okawa | Japan Federation Bar Association & Burma's Refugees Serving Association (BRSA) | JAPAN
Mr Okawa is Japanese asylum and immigration lawyer(1998-present), and ex-Associate Protection Officer in UNHCR Kosovo, former Yugoslavia(2012-2013). He has advocated so many asylum seekers from Myanmar and Japan Filipino Children.
He organized many committees to advocate foreigners rights in each local bar association in Japan, and affiliated NGOs of refugee and immigration fields(2010-2014).
As a result of such ardent activities, most of the detainees and provisional releasees are successfully represented by their own attorneys. Now we can monitor Japanese Immigration’s practice from view point of due process of law, and sometimes allege their violations against Domestic Codes or International Human Rights Law.
As an Deputy-Secretary General of Individual Complaint System Realization Committee of JFBA(2016-present), he researches 1500 individual complaint cases in other countries, gives lectures in many local bar associations, and negotiates with Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parliament Members in Power, and UN Treaty Bodies.
In addition, he was dispatched as a representative of JFBA to CCPR and CED sessions held in Geneva(2017-2018).
Notably, he focuses on cases from immigration detainees against Australia to CCPR, i.e. Winata v. Australia, Madafferi v. Australia, Bakhtiari V. Australia, A v. Australia. Thanks to CCPR’s recommendation and NHRI’s academic researches, the authority relaxed requirements for release.
During this LAWASIA Human Right Conference, he strongly wishes to exchange friendship with foreign attorneys especially in the field of asylum, immigration, and individual communication.
Sunil Kumar Pokharel | Advocate | Supreme Court of Nepal | NEPAL
Sunil Kumar Pokharel is an advocate at Supreme Court of Nepal and has practiced law for last 24 years. He is LL.M graduate from Tribhuvan University. Pokharel is the Former Secretary General of Nepal Bar Association and Coordinator for the Human Rights Committee of Nepal bar Association. Mr Pokharel has worked on various portfolios of Nepal Bar Association and its units in the past.
Mr Pokharel’s contribution as Secretary General for Nepal Bar Association is considered as one of the instrumental achievements mainly because NBA was actively involved for conducting trainings nationwide on constitution making and constitutionalism. He was also privileged to advice the First President of Nepal on various constitutional issues during constitution making. Mr Pokharel has represented in various PIL on human rights and constitution and is renowned as one of the influencing law practitioners of Nepal.
Dr Dina Mani Pokharel | Advocate | NEPAL
Dr. Dina Mani Pokharel is a practicing lawyer by training and Practice. He is Executive Director of Development Law Associates. He has a Ph.D. degree in Law from Tribhuvan University (2016). He obtained a Master’s Degree in Comparative Law from Delhi University in 1999 and Master’s Degree in Development Studies, specialization in International Political Economy and Development from Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, Netherlands in 2007.
Dr. Pokharel was a member of a drafting team of revising the present Code of Conduct of Lawyers in Nepal. He teaches environmental and water law in Pokhara and Tribhuvan University as a visiting Faculty and provides legal service to different national and international institutions. Dr. Pokharel has conducted different trainings for lawyers in different area of law as resource persons and participated in different national and international seminars and conferences. Dr. Pokharel has published numerous articles in environmental and legal journals.
Lilamani Poudel | Nepal Bar Association | NEPAL
Lilamani Poudel is the Secretary General of Nepal Bar Association and practices law at Supreme Court of Nepal as an Advocate. Mr. Poudel has 20 years continuous legal practice experience and conducts research activities in various discipline of laws including human rights, access to justice and fair trial. He has represented in various high-profile cases in the Supreme Court of Nepal on constitutional and human rights matters including PIL. His long-term involvement as freelancer in PIL matters and advocacy for human rights and rule of law is instrumental among the legal fraternity and justice system and was actively involved in advocacy and trainings on constitutional laws in the constitution making process of Nepal from Nepal Bar Association. He has been in various port folios of Nepal Bar Associations and other Bar Associations of Nepal and his very popular law practitioner and bar leader. Among his various engagements, his leading role from the Nepal Bar Association in standing against the government to defy unconstitutional movement of the then King in the democratic movement of Nepal is highly acknowledged by the legal and political fraternity. As the Secretary General of Nepal Bar Association, he has introduced various training and workshop programs for the lawyers to develop their professional capacity in the area of constitutional law, human rights and rule of law.
Mark Trowell QC | Albert Wolff Chambers | AUSTRALIA
Mr. Trowell is a leading practitioner of criminal law in Australia. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2000. He is co-chair of the criminal law standing committee of LAWASIA. In 2006, he was appointed by the Australian Government to undertake a review of the legislation governing the Australian Crime Commission (ACC). In recent years, he has been an international observer reporting on behalf of several organizations, including LAWASIA, the Australian Bar Association, the International Commission of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Union Internationale des Advocats. He has also represented the interests of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union at criminal trials in Malaysia, Sri Lanka,Thailand and this year in the Philippines. These have included observation of the prosecution of former deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim; former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army General Sarath Fonseka; and at the treason trial of the ‘red shirt’ leaders in Thailand. He is the author of three books about the trials and tribulations of Anwar Ibrahim. His latest book is Anwar Returns: The Final Twist published in 2018 by Marshall Cavendish.
Dr Jaspal Kaur Sadhu Singh | HELP University | MALAYSIA
An academic with a predilection for treating the law as a living organism, Jaspal attempts to balance her interests in both traditional and emerging areas of law in Malaysia. She specialises in Legal Systems; Law of Information and Communication Technology Law; IT, Ethics and Law; and Media Law, particularly free speech and expression. Having completed her PhD (Aberystwyth University, 2012) in the area of citizen journalism and social media, she has presented at conferences in the UK and internationally. She has enjoyed her tenure as Visiting Scholar at University of Northumbria (2012), University of Leeds (2014 and 2016), School of Journalism, Cardiff University (2018) and University of the West of England, Bristol (2019), to share her work and incubate thought. Jaspal is a member of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) UK; the British and Irish Law Education and Training Association (BILETA) UK; and the Society of Advanced Legal Studies (SALS), UK. She is also a member of executive committee of JUST (International Movement for a Just World). She has been teaching at HELP University, Kuala Lumpur, for the last 23 years. Her current interest is in the area of online falsehoods (more popularly known as “Fake News”), challenges perambulating free speech and expression, and legal and ethical debates involving data governance. She was invited to share her views on “Information, transparency and fake news in the algorithmic society: public and private governance after Cambridge Analytica” at the Annual International Bar Association Conference in September 2019, Seoul, South Korea. Jaspal is also frequently invited to speak on data ethics in AI.
Akiko SATO | Advocate | Japan Federation Bar Association | JAPAN
Attorney at Law admitted in Japan, engaged in human rights issues both in Japan and Cambodia; specialized in Access to Justice for socially vulnerable people including persons with disabilities, and Business and Human Rights such as Human Rights Due Diligence.
Gained an MA in Development Studies major in Human Rights from International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague and a JD from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. A fellow of Asia Centre, a think tank focusing on politics and human rights in Asia based in Bangkok. From 2018, an officer of the Office of International Affairs of Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
In 2010, Akiko worked as a part-time lecturer of Japanese Laws in the Research and Education Centre for Japanese Law located in the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
As a lawyer, she has dealt with a wide range of civil and criminal cases in relation to persons with disabilities. She served as a Legal Commissioner of Psychiatric Review Board established under the Act on Mental and Welfare for persons with mental disabilities in 2014-2015; reviewed claims for discharge from persons under involuntary hospitalisations. In the process of reviewing, she heard opinions of the patient and a psychiatrist examining the patient, and in some cases conducted interviews with family members of the patient and social workers.
She also conducted some field research on land grabbing and labour exploitation cases in Cambodia as a member of Human Rights Now, Japan-based human rights NGO. She got involved in Business and Human Rights project in UNDP Asia-Pacific in 2017. She provides advice toward companies from the perspective of international human rights law to hold them accountable for any human rights violations throughout their supply chain in Japan and abroad.
Ria Singh Sawhney | Advocate | INDIA
Ria Singh Sawhney is a human rights advocate and consultant in India currently based at the Chambers of Mr. Shyam Divan in New Delhi. She adopts an intersectional approach to human rights, working across the intersections of the impact of technology on rights, economic and social rights, state accountability, and mental health and human rights. She is associated with Rethink Aadhaar, a social movement scrutinizing the role of digital ID in India, and has a long standing association with the social movement for the right to food in India. She was previously a Research Fellow at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law, where she worked with Prof. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and with the Human Rights Resilience Project, where she coordinated a global research project studying mental health and well-being in human rights organizations, and developed a website to collate resources and research to promote resilience in human rights work. She has degrees in philosophy and law from St. Stephen’s College and the Law Faculty at the University of Delhi, and an LL.M from Columbia Law School, where she was a Human Rights Fellow.
Hon’ble Anup Raj Sharma | Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of Nepal | NEPAL
Honorable Anup Raj Sharma is the Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) and former Chief Justice of Nepal and former President of Supreme Court Bar Association. He is the first Chief Justice of Nepal appointed from the legal fraternity as Justice to the Supreme Court.
During his tenure at Supreme Court as Justice, he famously ordered the release of political detainees and the lifting of a ban on radio news broadcasts during direct regime of the then king Gyanendra Shah and has made various landmark decisions to secure human rights, rule of law and constitutionalism in his tenure.
As a visionary having the maxim of access of human rights in every household in the country, Mr. Sharma vows to devote himself for the respect, protection and promotion of human rights. During the early days of his career, Mr. Sharma worked as a freelance advocate from 1973 till December 31st, 2003. Attaining an unvarying elevation, thereafter, Mr. Sharma held the honorable post of a justice in Supreme Court from January 1, 2004 till February 10, 2010. He was then appointed as the Chief Justice of Supreme Court from December 13, 2009 till he retired on March 26, 2010.
Besides his career in the field of law and justice, Mr. Sharma also served as the Chairperson of the Commission for Revenue Clearance in 1998 – 2001. At the same time, he provided his expertise to the decentralization project established at the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). At local level, he was in the advisory committee member of the Kathmandu Municipality from 1992-1998. Prior to this, he was the executive committee member of the Nepal Bar Association as well as the Vice Chair of the Legal Aid Committee.
Honorable Sharma has undergone a number of trainings such as Training of Trainers on paralegal in Thailand. He also underwent a training entitled Offshore Banking organized by Harvard School of Law. Representing Nepal, he participated in the Regional Judiciary Symposium held in Singapore. He took part in yet another workshop on Intellectual Properties organized in Washington D.C. Mr. Sharma has participated in a number of trainings during his career in judiciary such as the training on federal system of the Government in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2008. He paid observation visit to Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand for the formation of the commerce court and its activities. He also obtained an opportunity to go on a study tour to Microsoft and Sun Micro System in America for enhancing the court information system in Nepal
Mohammad Akram Sheikh | Senior Advocate | PAKISTAN
Mr Sheikh, a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan is a fierce advocate of human rights in Pakistan.
Mr Sheikh in his illustrious career spanning more than 45 years, has served as an elected member of the Pakistan Bar Council and Council Member of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association. He was the head of the Pakistani delegation to the 49th United Nations Sub Commission on ‘Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities’ held at Geneva in 1997. Having served as the country president of the Union International des Avocats, Mr Sheikh is also a founder President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.
Mr Sheikh has an extensive practice spanning over more than four and a half decades in civil, revenue, criminal, commercial, international and constitutional matters. He has the largest number of reported judgments in various jurisdictions from Commercial International Agreements on Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Clauses, Constitutional and other areas of Private International Law.
Mr Sheikh has been involved in a large number of cases of great constitutional significance in Pakistan including the Dissolution of the National Assembly case, challenge to the 18th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2010, and the reinstatement of the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Iftkhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Mr Sheikh has authored Protection of Pakistan Act 2013 and has been the Lead Counsel in most of the cases involving terrorism or the legislation relating to Terrorist Activates Act.
Mr Sheikh was appointed on the 4th of December 2013, as Head of Prosecution team to prosecute Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf for abrogating the Constitution of Pakistan on the 3rd of November 2007; this was the first ever trial for such offences in any of the 3rd world countries. The Defence team was headed by Late S.S. Pirzada, the author of all extra Constitutions. Mr Sheikh successfully completed prosecution evidence both oral and documentary in 113 days despite lengthy cross examination of the witness by the defense (starting with 17th June 2014 to 18th September 2014), which resulted in the accused’s conviction. His wife, Mrs. Rubina Sheikh left for her eternal journey on 14th of October i.e. only weeks after completing the prosecution. His other members of the family also suffered and even after the judgment he was subjected to an armed dacoity.
In 2012, Mr Sheikh successfully represented Mr Mansoor Ijaz before the “Memogate” Commission, which was the first fact finding Commission of its kind in Pakistan’s judicial history with a direct mandate from the Supreme Court of Pakistan using video link for recording evidence of Mansoor Ijaz, the only witness carrying messages to the US Security Chief from the President of Pakistan. Hence, pioneered the use of internet, digital and modern technology for purposes of recording evidence in Pakistan.
Being a pioneer of rule of law, Mr Sheikh was the force behind the unprecedented solidarity march by the American Bar Association titled “Lawyers Stand up for the Rule of Law” in Washington in November 2007 in favour of jailed Pakistani lawyers due to the imposition of Emergency by Gen. (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.
In 1989, Mr Sheikh conducted the first case of floor crossing (political defections) before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
During 1988-1990, Mr Sheikh successfully acted before the Supreme Court in a famous case pertaining to “determination of the powers & relations between the Federal Government & the Province of the Punjab”.
In 1983, he successfully defended Safia Bibi, a visually impaired rape victim. Her case has revolutionized Muslim laws on rape and criminal evidence in Pakistan and the case continues to be taught in law schools across the world.
Hon’ble Kalyan Shrestha | Former Chief Justice of Nepal | Former Chairperson of Constituent Assembly Court, Nepal | NEPAL
Honorable Kalyan Shrestha is the former Chief Justice of Nepal and former Chairperson of Constituent Assembly Court and was elected as Commissioner for International Commission of Jurist ( ICJ).
He has more than 48 years of experience of working in the judicial sector from 1972. Prior to be Chief Justice of Nepal, he served in a number of judicial roles including as justice for Supreme Court, Chief Judge of the Appellate Court, a Judge of various Zonal, District and Appellate courts, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Law and as a Section Officer for the Supreme Court and Government of Nepal. Justice Shrestha has also held a number of senior roles in judicial bodies and as President of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation in Law (SAARC Law), President of the Judges Society Nepal and as a Member of the Judicial Services Commission.
Honorable Kalyan Shrestha has done his Post Graduate Diploma in International law and Development form Institute of Social Science, The Hague, Netherland, Masters in Nepali and Master in Political Science from Tribhuvan University after completing his Diploma in Law. He has been the trainer for National Judicial Academy of India for High Court Justices on IPR and for International Law Institute Washington on International Arbitration.
Honorable Kalyan Shrestha was decorated by prestigious national awards including but not limited to Prasiddha Prabal Janasewashree President of Nepal, Subikhyat Trishakti Patta, Suprabal Gorkha Dakshin Bahu by the Head of the State and has made land mark decisions as a justice of Supreme Court in the matters of human rights, environment, criminal justice, corruption, right to privacy and in other various constitutional matters and know as one of the highly academic and internationally recognized justice from Nepal. He has visited and delivered speeches in various international and national conferences in more the 25 countries and have contributed articles in various journals.
Justice Anil Kumar Sinha | Supreme Court of Nepal | NEPAL
Justice Anil Kumar Sinha, was enrolled in the Bar as Advocate in 1982 and was honored by the Supreme Court of Nepal as Senior Advocate in the year 2013. In his professional career of over 34 years he practiced in the area of Business and Taxation Law and was also involved in several development projects as Legal Counsel. He attended various professional trainings in Nepal, Italy and Germany. He also worked as National Consultant for Public Private Partnership for Urban Environment (PPPUE/UNDP project) and as the Consultant for establishment of Early-state Hydro Power Equity Fund for local Development Bank (USAID project), coordinated survey for harmonization of hydropower laws of Nepal, assisted to identify requisite changes in Customs Act in compliance with international conventions, worked for revision of Manual for Foreign Investment in Nepal and also reviewed the statutory provisions, procedures and court precedence related with Land Acquisition for infrastructure projects (World Bank/IMF assignments). He also coordinated “National Survey of Public Opinion on the Judiciary in Nepal (2002)” for Nepal Law Society. He is a recognized trainer on various Commercial Law and Taxation issues at the Nepal Judicial Academy.
He was appointed as the Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal on 1st August, 2016. He is presently heading the Information & Technology Committee at the Supreme Court that is responsible to implement e-Court vision envisaged by the Judiciary’s Strategic Plan.
His articles had been published in various journals in Nepal. He co-authored the country chapter of the book “Philanthropy and Law in South Asia” published by Asia Pacific Philanthropic Consortium, Philippines and also co-authored “Training Manual” and “Legal Aid Manual” for Nepal Bar Association. During his professional career he was affiliated to professional organizations like Nepal Bar Association, Nepal Law Society, Nepal Council of Arbitration, International Bar Association, SAARC Law, Insolvency Practitioners Association Nepal etc.
Justice, Supreme Court of Nepal
Dr B.P. Todi | Senior Advocate | INDIA
Dr. B.P. Todi is a designated Senior Advocate. Enrolled as an Advocate in February 1980. He has extensive practice in different branches of law with specialization in Constitutional, Taxation, Mercantile and Arbitration matters. Awarded Ph.D. degree for his research work in Tax law by the Gauhati University in 1990. Designated as Senior Advocate in January 2001. Headed Todi Law group a renowned Law firm in Guwahati, Assam from 1990 to 2000. Handling cases for many national and multinational companies, statutory bodies, undertaking etc. Has served the State of Meghalaya as Addl. and Advocate General continuously for almost twelve years.
His contribution to legal and academic field includes teaching in University Law College, authoring law books, presentation of papers in various seminars including Regional Seminar on Human Rights.
He participated in different National Law Conferences, Seminars including Law Asia conference held in Colombo (Sri Lanka), Tokyo (Japan)
He is executive committee member of Bar Association of India.
Carolin Spannuth Verma | UNHCR
Carolin Spannuth Verma attained her higher and post-graduate Law Degree from the University of Freiburg and Hamburg, Germany and in 1995 obtained her license to practice as a Judge in Germany. Carolin practiced law in the courts of Hamburg, Lübeck and Schwerin in Germany before taking her expertise to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. Her journey of serving the cause of refugee protection through UNHCR has now spanned over 24 years. She has served in various international protection and legal positions in Morocco, Malaysia, Indonesia, Republic of Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria and at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva in the Division of International Protection and with the Asia Bureau and Africa Bureau. She currently serves as UNHCR Representative a.i. in Nepal. During her service with UNHCR, her thematic focus includes but is not limited to International Protection, Resettlement, Integration, Voluntary Repatriation, Refugee Status Determination, International Humanitarian Law, Protection of Civilians, LGBTIQ integration, Child protection and Gender issues, Capacity Development, Refugee Law Training and Staff Welfare. A mother of two daughters, Carolin’s personal philanthropic endeavors are aimed at investing in the girl child. A globetrotter, Carolin still carries in her heart the city of Hamburg where she was born and educated.
Dr Rishikesh Wagle | Katmandu University | Nepal
Dr. Rishikesh Wagle is the Dean of Law at Kathmandu University Nepal. Before he was appointed as Dean in the year 2019, he served as Honorable Justice of District Court of Nepal for 10 Years (2009-2019) and served as government Attorney 15 years from 1994-2009. He has completed his Phd from Tribhuvan University specializing on transitional justice. He did his LL.M. (Gold Medalist) from University of Pune, India on constitutional law and business law.
Dr Wagle has participated in various international trainings, visit programs and conference which includes International Conference on International Rule of Law in Post Conflict Societies, Amsterdam, 2009, Marie Curie Top Summer School in International Criminal Law, the Hague University of Leiden, Essentials Course in Transitional Justice, New York by International Centre for Transitional Justice and New York University Law School, international Leadership Visitors Program entitled Visit to US Judicial System-II, by the United Stated Department of State to name few
Mr Wagle also took responsibility as National Reporter for Nepal of Oxford University Publication, Adjunct Professor of Law for Kathmandu University and served as Trainer and Faculty Judge for National Judicial Academy of Nepal . He has made number of publications of law books and frequently writes in law journals apart from conducting legal research. He was popularly known as highly academic justices during his judicial services and in the Judicial Academy and he finally joined as an academic after resigning long term services as Justice.
Aritha Wickramsinghe | iProbono Foundation | SRI LANKA
Aritha is Equality Director at iProbono and Head of Legal at the National Agency for Public Private Partnerships, Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka. He was also previously a founding trustee of the education initiative Think Equal and a banking lawyer at prestigious international firms Clifford Chance and K&L Gates in London.
iProbono is a global platform that provides access to justice to those denied it. With nearly 80,000 lawyers across 39 countries, iProbono helps delivers millions of dollars worth of free legal assistance to people and communities in need. The platform has received numerous awards, including the Financial Times award for Innovative Lawyers and the British Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.
Aritha has been a pioneering campaigner for LGBT equality and rights. He was instrumental in lobbying the British Government to set up the Transgender Equality Inquiry and was the lead lawyer advising Christie Elan-Cane on their case against the British Government’s refusal to recognise non-binary gender identity (prior to his departure from the U.K.).
Since moving back to Sri Lanka in December 2016, Aritha has advised the Sri Lankan Government on education, economic and human rights policy reform. He continues to lobby Government and business leaders in Sri Lanka to adopt more inclusive policies that expressly include LGBT persons and has conducted LGBT sensitisation workshops for Sri Lanka’s major corporates. Aritha has also intervened in a number of LGBT discrimination cases by assisting victims of discrimination to seek legal redress.
For his work, Aritha was ranked No.1 Future Business Leader by the international newspaper the Financial Times in their 2015 OUTstanding List alongside Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.