Naila Rizki Zakia of Indonesia
Ms. Naila Rizqi Zakiah holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Jember in East Java, Indonesia. Since her college days, Ms. Naila found her passion in juvenile justice while volunteering at LBH Masyarakat Jember, the only legal aid organization in Jember at the time. After graduation and passing her Bar in 2014, Ms Naila became a Public Defender at LBH Masyarakat providing legal assistance to underprivileged and marginalized people. Aside from her public defense work, Naila volunteers at Sahabat Anak, teaching street children to read, count and speak in English.
The Challenge: Indonesia enacted Law Number 11, regarding the Juvenile Criminal Justice System in 2014. The goal of this law is to provide better protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law and promotes children’s interests as a top priority.
However, this law is poorly implemented. Through her work with LBH Masyarakat, Ms. Naila has witnessed many challenges faced by children and youth who have committed crimes. At Lapas Klas IIA Salemba, Jakarta and Rutan Pondok Bambu, Jakarta, children and youth were not separated from adult offenders and often received cruel and degrading treatment from police officers. These youngsters were unaware of their rights and most believed they deserved such treatment as a consequence of their actions.
Project: Ms. Naila is in-charge of legal counselling for underage detainees in LBH Masyarakat, with only one other colleague to work with they are heavily under staffed. Realising the need for a more sustainable and effective way of educating and assisting the underage detainees, she established the program, “Underage Legal Mentors for Underage Detainees”. Naila has conducted two legal counselling sessions in Salemba prison where 44 detainees participated. These sessions focused on encouraging the detainees to share their experiences more than advising them on legal procedures and recruited potential mentors for the program.
Naila educates underage inmates regarding the rights of children in conflict with the law sharing legal information and best practices. In turn, they have become mentors to other underage detainees. As these mentors have already gone through the legal procedures they understand what juvenile detainees face. This experience combined with the training on their legal rights has enabled them to provide effective legal mentorship for underage detainees. Encouraging juvenile detainees to help others has had a positive effect on their self-esteem that they will carry through post incarceration and reintegration into society . Ultimately educating the juvenile prison population and authorities about legal rights helps to eradicate abuses in the prison system.
Naila has also recruited three students from the university who are prepared to be mentors of which two have already undergone the training she held in August, 2016. She has also created a brochure covering the rights of children in the criminal justice system. These brochures are being used to train inmates as well as raising public awareness about the rights of children and they have been circulated to paralegals in the community.
Currently, Naila is coordinating more trainings with the Salemba Correctional Facility and plans to host a training early 2017.
Arianne O. Reyes, The Philippines
Arianne Reyes of the Philippines
Ms. Arianne Reyes holds both a Juris Doctor Degree from University of the Philippines College of Law and a Master of Law Degree from New York University School of Law. She currently works as a consultant for the Department of Transportation and Communication in Mandaluyong. She has also served as the Research Editor of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, been a consultant at the Senate of the Philippines, and an attorney with Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
The Challenge: In the Philippines, there is a gap between existing legislation involving children in conflict with the law and its actual enforcement and/or handling. Based on a recent study, law enforcement officials are often unaware or have limited understanding of their role in the prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law.
Ms. Reyes and her team of two young lawyers are seeking to fill this gap and raise awareness of juvenile justice through:
- Production of a short instructional video and material that illustrates the needs of children in conflict with the law.
- Training of social workers and paralegals who would implement what they have learned when handling cases involving children and youth.
- A social media campaign to raise awareness and increase outreach.
Pawinee Chumsri, Thailand
Pawinee Chumsri of Thailand
Ms. Pawinee Chumsri is currently the Legal Assistance and Litigation Manager with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR). She holds both a Graduate and Bachelor of Laws degree from Thammasat University in Thailand. Her experience in human rights litigation includes cases from the Thailand Southern Conflict (2005-2014) and Martial Law and National Commission Peace and Orders’s Declaration.
The Challenge: On May 22, 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) seized power of the country, a coup happened in Thailand and on June 4, 2015 at least 751 individuals were summoned and at least five people indicted on violation of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse majesty). As a further consequence, 71 public events and discussions were subjected to intervention by the military. 18 civilians complained to TLHR having been subjected to torture while in custody with 172 individuals being tried in the military court.
Martial Law was imposed nationwide two days prior to the coup and in late July, the NCPO promulgated a new, temporary charter, the 2014 (Interim) Constitution removing any legal restrictions on the NCPO and providing it with absolute immunity, in violation of international law.
This is a great concern as most of the accused were denied rightful legal representation. Ms. Chumsri aims to tackle this challenge through providing access to basic legal assistance via a human rights hotline center. She and her team would also litigate strategic cases and document human rights violations under military rule and seek the reinforcement of protection for civilians in vulnerable circumstances.
Laofang Bundidterdsakul, Thailand
Laofang Bundidterdsakul of Thailand
Mr. Laofang Bundidterdsakul holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Chiangmai University. He is a human rights lawyer and founder-director of Legal Advocacy Center for Indigenous Communities (LACIC) based in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand. Since 2006, Mr. Bundidterdsakul has been working with indigenous people on land rights and citizenship rights. As an ethnic Hmong native, he aims to ensure legal access rights to indigenous people in Thailand and protect natural resources through his work.
The Challenge: In remote parts of Thailand, rights of indigenous and ethnic communities are often dismissed and overlooked by local authorities. These communities are isolated and have limited understanding of their rights and legal procedures. Mr.Bundidterdsakul aims to improve the situation by conducting real trials in which other villagers and community leaders would be invited to witness and learn from the process.
He will be presenting Mr. Su Wang-poh, a native Hmong villager, to assert his tribal land rights in a case against local authorities. He also wishes to encourage four local Hmong villages and their community leaders to observe the trial as an educational instrument which will help increase awareness of their legal rights.