East Asia Regional Working Group

Puja Kapai

Hong Kong, Asia

Puja Kapai is an Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law and the Director of the Social Justice Summer Internship at the Faculty of the Law at the University of Hong Kong. Her research expertise lies in international human rights law and political theory. Her writing spans a broad range of subjects including equality and non-discrimination, minority rights (including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, children, women and the elderly), identity politics, theories of justice, deliberative democracy and civic participation, citizenship studies, domestic violence, and comparative law and legal transplants. Puja has been a consultant to various non-governmental organisations and is currently on the Board of Directors for Unison Hong Kong, the Asian Migrants Centre, the Association for Concern for Legal Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence and the Justice Centre.

Sheena Kanwar

Singapore, Asia

I have a wide range of experience in working with individuals and communities on issues related to women’s human rights. I have worked in the area of community mobilization around women’s economic rights, gender mainstreaming at policy levels and for the past three and a half years in the area of violence against women. In my current role as Support Services Manager of AWARE, I coordinate five services: helpline, counselling, legal clinic, befrienders’ programme and the recently set up Sexual Assault Care Centre. AWARE is the only feminist organisation in Singapore. It works towards providing direct support to women as well as research and advocacy work.


Established in 1985, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) is Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group. We believe in the rights of women and men to make informed and responsible choices about their lives and to have equal opportunities in education, marriage and employment, and in the right of women to control their own bodies, particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive rights. AWARE is dedicated to removing gender-based barriers that prevent individuals in Singapore from developing their potential to the fullest and realizing their personal visions and hopes. We work to identify and eliminate these barriers through research and advocacy, education and training and support services.

AWARE is in favor of developing a global binding norm to address VAW.

Anne Scully-Hill

Hong Kong, Asia

After graduating from University College London (LL.B (hons) and LL.M.) Anne Scully-Hill lectured in law in London for several years before moving to Hong Kong where she has been Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong for the past eight years. Anne’s current research interests lie in family law, specifically in the areas of domestic violence, fairness and equality in ancillary relief and the reform of child custody laws in Hong Kong. She also researches and publishes in the area of public law, specifically judicial review. She is the co-author of Hong Kong Administrative Law and the author of several articles and commentaries on family law and child law including publications in the Child & Family Law Quarterly, The International Survey of Family Law, the Hong Kong Law Journal and the Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong. Anne is a member of the Hong Kong Law Society’s Family Law Committee, the Editorial Board of the Hong Kong Lawyer, the Organizing Committee for the Children’s Issues Forum, the Hong Kong Collaborative Practice Group, the CEDR Asia Pacific Practice Group and is a qualified mediator in Hong Kong and London. She is also an adviser to the Hong Kong Ombudsman.

Amy Barrow

Hong Kong, Asia

Amy Barrow is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where she is a founding member of the Centre for Rights and Justice (CRJ) as well as a member of the Gender Research Centre, Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies and the Centre for Civil Society Studies. Amy’s research expertise includes UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the development of norms on women, peace and security; gender and the law; human rights; institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, and socio-legal research methods. Amy has a keen interest in how international law filters down to the grassroots level, and is used by multiple actors in society. Amy adopts an interdisciplinary approach and draws upon empirical research methods. She is a member of the WILPF Academic Network, a think tank that focuses on issues of gender, peace and security as well as a member of the WILPF 1325 Working Group. Established in 1915, WILPF is one of the oldest women’s peace organisations in the world and has ECOSOC status at the United Nations. Amy has represented WILPF at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Munara Beknazarova

Kyrgyzstan, Asia

Munara Beknazarova is an activist who works at the national level to promote women’s rights. She is the director of the PF “Open line” since 2009. Munara has provided technical support in the preparation of the two alternative reports from women’s NGOs in Kyrgyzstan to the (CEDAW) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Committee and she was one of the speakers at the presentation of the report in 2008 and in 2011. She managed the process of preparing a request for an independent investigation of committee members and requested the CEDAW Committee to conduct an investigation in accordance with Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW Convention on the facts of bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. She leads the social campaign against bride kidnapping, which was included in the database of the campaign «Creative for good» on the World Economic Forum (http://www.weforum.org/best-practices/creative-good/bride-kidnapping-kyrgyzstan). Munara Beknazarova is involved in projects of the Open Society Foundation, the United Nations, in particular on access to justice, the National Interagency Group on development and promotion of the law on the protection and security from domestic violence. She also works with local groups and individuals in order to promote women’s human rights. She is the author of several articles on violence against women as a violation of human rights, and teaches a women’s rights course for the students in the university, is a member of the initiative group of the International School of Human Rights, working to organize the activities of representatives of the victims of crimes against women.

Open Line

The purpose of this organization is to promote capacity building of civil society in addressing gender issues through constant monitoring of the rights of women in the Kyrgyz Republic (using CEDAW). The organization works towards the realization of the following objectives: raising awareness, improving the understanding of rights and promoting the ideas of the Convention; Promotion of the growth potential of women’s organizations; the formation of public opinion in favor of a policy of equal rights, freedoms and opportunities of the sexes.”International human rights clearly require states to take all necessary measures to end all forms of violence against women. In particular, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women obliges States to ensure legal protection for women in cases of violence based on gender differences (including remedies in criminal and civil proceedings), to provide services to victims for protection and support, as well as to provide training of employees of the justice system to respond to gender-based violence. Kyrgyzstan has ratified the major international human rights conventions and the UN declarations that require it to protect women from violence, as well as from the state and private individuals or organizations. In addition, the government should respond to cases of human rights violations as they occur through investigating these cases, punishing the guilty ones and paying the reparations to the victims. Unfortunately, victims of violence, in particular those who have been forced into marriage, are often neglected by the legislative protection.

Therefore, “Open Line” is ready to engage in the process of developing an international norm to protect the rights of women and girls against violence.”

Azra Jafari

Afghanistan, Asia

Azra Jafari was born in 1978 in Ghor Province, Afghanistan. During the Soviet occupation, Jafari’s family took refuge in Iran where Jafari served as Editor in Chief in 1998 of the Afghan social and cultural magazine Farhang, and established an elementary school for the children of Afghan refugees. Jafari returned to Afghanistan following the removal of the Taliban. In late 2001, she participated in the Emergency Loya Jirga that formed the new Afghan government. She worked as Deputy Manager of the Equal Rights Association, and for the Secretariat of the Commission for the Constitution of Afghanistan. Jafari received a degree in Midwifery in 2006.
In 2008 Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed Jafari as the nation’s first female mayor. She served nearly six years as Mayor of Nili in Afghanistan; and remains the only female ever appointed as an Afghan mayor. Jafari authored the 2008 book I Am A Working Woman, which examines employment laws and the rights of Afghan women in the labor market. She co-wrote and was the sole female co-author of The New Constitution of Afghanistan in 2003. Jafari received the Meeto Memorial Award in 2011 for her commitment to peace, justice, human rights and development.

Nadejda Atayeva

Uzbekistan, Asia

Nadejda Ateyva is the president of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia registered on 8 November 2006 by a group of political refugees from Central Asia. She was born in the town of Gulistan of Sirdarya region of Uzbekistan, but since March 2000 has been living in France as a refugee. Nadejda had to leave her home country under a threat of imprisonment, after her father reported directly to the dictator Islam Karimov that the high ranking officials of the Uzbek government were falsifying the statistics of wheat yields. Consequences of such falsification were threatening the food security. Within few days of this report a political repression against her father, his close family and some co-workers ensued. In that complicated situation Nadejda used all the domestic means of protection of human rights, writing many times to government bodies of Uzbekistan. The only response she received was that in July 2013 she, her father, and her brother were convicted in absentia. This kind of injustice and violation of human rights is widespread in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. In 2005 Nadejda was one of the founders of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, based in France, which has been reporting to the international community on human rights situation in Uzbekistan and other republics of Central Asia, regularly publishing reports and news on the situation, and using the UN procedures for protection of human rights.

Xiying Wang


Xiying Wang is an associate professor of the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Beijing Normal University. In 2014, she is a CSC-Harvard post-doc fellow in the Graduate School of Art and Science affiliated with Department of Anthropology. Xiying’s major research interests include gender studies, feminist theory and human sexualities, qualitative research methods, gender-based violence, sex education, and women living with HIV/AIDS. She is also a founder member of two NGO’s: 1) China Feminist School and 2) Equality.


EQUALITY is a Beijing NGO, founded by feminist activists and researchers. Through research, training, and advocacy work, EQUALITY aims to promote women’s rights and gender equality, especially focusing on gender-based violence.

Equality is in favor of a global binding norm on VAW.

Manizha Naderi

Afghanistan, Asia – ADVISORY MEMBER

Manizha Naderi was born in Kabul and raised in New York. She joined WAW in 2002 as a volunteer. She soon became our second staff person, and helped launch our Queens Community Outreach Program in New York. In 2006, she moved to Kabul to launch WAW’s work in Afghanistan. Since 2006, under Ms. Naderi’s leadership, WAW has opened 11 Family Guidance Centers, 12 women’s shelters, 4 halfway houses and 4 Children’s Support Centers. Six hundred fifty local Afghan women and men staff these facilities. Ms. Naderi has also built a massive women’s rights awareness-raising training program that has reached over 250,000 Afghans. Ms. Naderi’s goal is to have FGCs and shelters in every province in Afghanistan. She now divides her time between New York City and Kabul.

Women for Afghan Women

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is a grassroots, civil society organization dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York, particularly their rights to develop their individual potential, to self-determination, and to be represented in all areas of life: political, social, cultural and economic. WAW advocates for women’s rights and challenges the norms that underpin gender-based violence wherever opportunities arise, to influence attitudes and bring about change. WAW is the largest women’s rights organization in Afghanistan and works in 13 Provinces.

Women for Afghan Women is is in favor of a Global Treaty on VAW.

Enkhjargal Davaasuren

Mongolia, Asia – ADVISORY MEMBER

Ms. Enkhjargal has been working against VAW in Mongolia since the 1990’s, when she became active in drafting legislation against domestic violence and as a lawyer representing survivors. From 1997 to 2014, she worked for the National Center Against Violence, Mongolia’s first non-governmental organization dedicated to violence prevention and support for survivors. At NCAV, she managed first the legal, then the advocacy program, going on to become Director from 2001-2014. Ms. Enkhjargal joined MONFEMNET National Network as a board member in 2005 and became National Coordinator in 2014. She has taught and published extensively on domestic violence, women’s rights, women’s political participation and leadership, and advocacy. In addition, she has worked to reform Mongolian government policy as a member of working groups on the Gender Equality Law, revision of the Family Law and the Domestic Violence Law, protection for victims and witnesses of crimes, and as team leader to monitor and document human rights violations following Mongolia’s 2008 political protests and government response.


MONFEMNET National Network is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-governmental organization, with a mission to serve as a strong driving force for the development of a national, broad-based, democratic, sustainable and transformative movement for women’s human rights, gender equality, substantive democracy and social justice.
MONFEMNET’s three-prong strategy focuses on promoting cultural transformation, policy and institutional reform, and movement building. It uses a human rights/gender-equality based approach and strives to institutionalize a non-violent and non-hierarchical, inclusive and respectful, open and participatory, transparent and accountable process as a basis for creative, sustainable and fair solutions to societal challenges.
MONFEMNET promotes gender equality, human rights and democracy through policy analysis, advocacy, and capacity building, with an emphasis on women’s and youth political participation. Much of our training and movement-building work has focused on expanding women’s and young people’s leadership, particularly in the political arena.

“MONFEMNET National Network strongly supports a new legally binding convention on Violence Against Women. Mongolia has a very serious problem with VAW, and for too long our domestic laws have been inadequate to address the problem. Women and girls endure far too much violence in their homes, at school, in the workplace, and on the streets. An international law would support women and civil society organizations to strengthen laws and practices here in Mongolia and around the world. We call on global activists and policy makers to join this effort to implement a binding convention on VAW.”

Damcelle Torres-Cortes

Philippines, Asia – ADVISORY MEMBER

Damcelle Torres-Cortes is currently Chairperson of WeDpro’s Board of Trustees. Her passion for women’s rights began in her high school years when she founded the Young Women as Voices of Empowerment in Science to encourage teenage girls to pursue courses in the male-dominated field of science and technology. While in law school, she continued her advocacy by serving as Commissioner for the Youth of the National Commission on Women, the lead government agency on gender rights.A lawyer by profession, Damcelle has been actively taken part in the formulation and implementation of laws protecting women and children, including the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. She anchored a weekly nationwide radio program providing legal advice to victims of VAW and other human rights violations. She co-authored two books on gender-jurisprudence: Engendering the Philippine Judiciary (2005) and The Davide Court and Its Contributions to Gender and Jurisprudence (2006).Damcelle is Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, the University of the Philippines College of Law, and the Harvard Kennedy School.


WeDpro is a nonprofit collective in the Philippines that works in the area of human rights by defending the rights of women, children, youth and their communities through gender responsive development programs. Founded in 1989, WeDpro is among the pioneer organizations that assisted prostituted women and other victims of violence in red light districts in the former US military bases in Angeles and Subic.
Through the years, WeDpro has established partnerships with government institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector within and outside the Philippines. It has conducted numerous trainings and studies, organized campaigns, and developed popular materials on the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act, Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and other policies protecting women and children. WeDpro also provides technical assistance to local governments on gender-responsive planning and governance. Recently, WeDpro has focused its efforts on addressing VAW in post-disaster areas, such as those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

WeDpro is inspired to be part of this global campaign based on the same principle of gender rights we have long been fighting for.