Yasmin Busran-Lao

Secretary of National Commission on Muslim Filipinos 

Active in Country: Philippines

DTP Alumna: 2007 17th Annual Program - New Zealand

Yasmin Busran-Lao began her journey as a peacebuilder in a non-governmental organization where, as head of the Al Mujadilah Development Foundation in Marawi City and Nisa Ul Haqq Fi Bangsamoro in Zamboanga, she integrated Islam and women’s human rights in her pursuit of peace. Through her involvement with other organizations and networks, such as the PILIPINA, Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, and the Women Engaged in

Action on UNSCR 1325, she got involved in crafting the Gender and Development Code of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the advocacy campaigns for the drafting of the Philippine National Action Plan (NAP) on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security, and the passage of the Magna Carta for Women. In all these mechanisms and fora, Yasmin made sure she included the concerns of Moro women who, she believes, must surface from the margins. Internationally, she was part of the team that drafted the Philippines NGO Shadow Report in 2006 for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that included a section on the rights of Moro women and indigenous women. In 2010, she entered a completely new and rather alien terrain when she ran for the senate in the national elections under the Liberal Party ticket. Although she knew that she would not win, she used the campaign as an opportunity to talk about what is happening in Mindanao. As she explained:

 

“I knew hindi ako mananalo (I wasn’t going to win). 

 

But the thought of being able to go all over the country (that I wasn’t able to do in my NGO work) was very encouraging. In the campaign sorties, even the only one or two given to you to speak was enough to explain that in a peaceful Mindanao, everyone benefits. When the appointment ban for non-winners in the elections was lifted after one year, she was invited to be an observer of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) panel in the talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). When a negotiator position for the GPH panel opened March 2012, she was invited to fill the post.

 

See full article (published March 2014)

 

Profile was also featured in 2015 DTP's 25th Anniversary Exhibition