Adrian Pereira

Executive Director - North South Initative (NSI)

DTP Alumna: 2017/2018 Capacity Building Program – Advocating for the Rights of Migrant Workers (Participant & Organizer)

                      2007 Human Rights Advocacy and Business (Participant)

                      2006 Migrant Workers Program (Organizer)


Adrian first engaged with DTP in 2006, when he was working with Pusat Komas in Malaysia, DTP’s local partner in its 3rd Asia regional capacity building program on the rights of migrant workers. Adrian’s own work over that time has focused on peace, human rights and solidarity and included supporting the development regional networks.  He works on supporting those seeking peaceful resolution to conflicts in Southern Thailand and West Papua – as well advocacy in Malaysia on the human rights of migrants, migrant workers and refugees, the rights of Indigenous peoples and small farmers.

 AP: I find intersectionalities amongst their issues and hence, I try to work on building cooperation amongst movements of communities that experience cross cutting issues and have common goals of social justice. This includes joint advocacies and exchange of praxis.

Adrian was asked to reflect on his first experience of engaging DTP, the value of investing in training of human rights defenders and on working for human rights in the region and what has changed over the years, including any success stories.

 AP: As times change and human rights abuses become more complex to resolve, it is vital that we keep upgrading and refreshing the skills of our human rights defenders. Only then will our leaders have a worldview to solve problems while remaining rooted in the issues. The trainings also help Human Rights Defenders organize follow up trainings which then trickle to the grassroots levels and this ensures the activism continues and becomes sustainable. More is always needed. What is also important beyond the training is Coaching and Mentoring Human Rights Defenders to ensure we have high quality activist who are not just knowledgeable on rights but who are also able to pass down the knowledge to the future generations.

 Between now and when I first did the training, I can see more solidarity amongst the migrant workers advocates and the migrant workers movements/workers. This solidarity is vital as it bridges reality with human rights theory and ensures that human rights advocacy and capacity building does not remain an academic exercise, nor to donor driven agendas.  Strong solidarity building is also a check and balance mechanism, to ensure human rights agendas are not driven by the big egos of elite activist and politicians.

 For many years in Malaysia, the migrant workers, human rights advocates and trade unions were working separately. But through the skills gained in the DTP workshops, together we managed to bring all parties together to collaborate and build strong solidarity networks amongst different actors especially in responding to the migrant workers rights violations and proposing joint policy reforms at grassroots, national, regional and global levels.  Since my first experience in 2006 with DTP, I have ensured continuous networking and engagement with participants and organizers and these relationships has helped me gain so much additional experience and knowledge. I also thank DTP for the privilege of nominating other Young Leaders in my networks for various DTP trainings and this has helped my movement create competent and dedicated leaders who ensure the human rights agenda and vision continues.

 I am also spearheading the involvement of migrant workers in policy making at all levels, as I believe, we must talk about migrants with migrant workers leading the discourse. Together with migrant worker leaders, we have ensured they are represented at the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour and even in policy discussions with the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resource.

Q: What knowledge/skills from the training programs(s) have been useful for his work, Adrian said:

 AP: Understanding the human rights standards and conventions (UN, ILO), Industry Codes of Conduct, local laws etc, etc) related to Migrant Rights has been very useful to me especially as I help migrant workers directly understand the gaps between laws and practice in comparison to the international standards which we should all ideally strive for.  The methodology was also very empowering as we got the opportunity to decide and design components of the workshop together and this participatory methodology is also what we apply when we work with migrant workers.

Q: How have the networks you have established at DTP training sassisted on the issues you are working on?

AP: The cooperation and solidarity built during the DTP workshops continue in formal and informal ways, especially in getting the migrant workers movements organized and to form a national umbrella of migrant workers leaders.  We also help other networks to continue helping one another especially via trusted referral systems to managing cases related to migrant workers rights violations. We also continue to share information about each other’s programmes so we can continue to learn from each other.

Q: How could the DTP programs be improved?

AP: By integrating movement-building elements in the trainings and this would naturally enable sustainable human rights activism in a complex and globalized world.  I also feel that DTP should come up with a specialized module to create organic Intellectuals via tailored programmes just for the grassroots community leader,s as they truly need affirmative action to build their capacity and solidarity especially between the South - South actors. North – South strategic cooperation can also be integrated into the training designs and methodology.

 I strongly propose that DTP, with its’ years of experience, develop FREE ONLINE CONTENT of Human Rights Education via Open Learning Platforms for EVERYONE to have access. We must do as much as we can to ensure every grassroots community has FREE and READILY AVAILABLE access to such materials in ALL LANGUAGES and LEVELS.  The ONLINE Trainings can be done in modules and comes with a certificate upon completion. Imagine creating 7 Billion Human Rights Defenders, what a different world it would be.  It should not be a boring archive of international laws, but incorporate the DTP Praxis of Socializing the Human Rights Theory at grasroots, national , regional and global levels.

Q: Do you have any general comments or suggestions regarding human rights issues you would like to see addressed in future programs?

AP: As many middle class NGOs and HRD already have access to trainings and capacity building, I strongly suggest that DTP Develop a Module on Community Organizing for Grassroots- Consisting of Beginners to Advance to Specialist levels. Community organizing is a dying methodology and tool in the age of Cyber Armchair Elite Activism and we must help grassroots reboot and bounce back with this component.




Profile written April 2018