Mary Ann Manja Bayang

Policy Research and Education at the Office of Tebtebba-Indigenous Peoples International Center

Active in Country: Philippines

DTP Alumna:  2006 Indigenous Peoples Program - Australia

Mary Ann Manja Bayang (Manja) is an alumna of the DTP Indigenous Peoples Program held in Darwin in 2006. She is currently supporting the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. She works from the office of Tebtebba-Indigenous Peoples International Center for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba).

Her work primarily involves all forms of assistance for the work of the Special Rapporteur which includes doing research on any issues of Indigenous peoples worldwide, assessing complaints of Indigenous people’s rights violations, coordinating consultations and meetings between Indigenous peoples, civil society, governments or other entities and the Special Rapporteur.

As part of Tebtebba, Manja utilizes her legal background giving legal aid and support to Indigenous communities in the Philippines, doing national policy advocacy work and capacity building activities. She is actively engaged in the global advocacy for a binding treaty on business and human rights. These endeavours, she says, are fully covered by DTP Trainings and admits that she has been endorsing DTP trainings to a lot of human rights advocates, most of whom are already alumni of DTP.

Previously, Mary worked as a human rights lawyer at Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, and as a legal officer for Cordillera Indigenous Peoples’ Legal Centre. At that time, she joined DTP’s Indigenous Peoples Program with the hopes to develop knowledge and skills that can help to handle challenging tasks in her line of work.

Mary Ann also helped with hosting DTP’s 2011 regional Indigenous people course in the Cordillera. Mary Ann looked to DTP training to give her the necessary knowledge to utilise international standards and national bodies, and to more effectively use the internet and media in advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples.

In the Philippines, human rights groups representing Indigenous peoples in the Cordillera have reported continuing cases of enforced “disappearances” and extra-judicial killings by state military forces with NGO leaders and human rights defenders amongst the victims.

Every time I look into the eyes of their families, I can see indefinable pain and sorrow. I can see the shade of a hundred sleepless nights and numerous untouched meals, and the shadow of a gazillion tears already shed and still waiting to pour. Yet they endure, and they yearn and hope to one day see their loved ones again. We gain our tenacity to fight for justice and seek to bring home the disappeared from the unwavering hope and strength of their families in the face of their sufferings


Profile written April 2016


Profile was also part of 2015 DTP's 25th Anniversary Exhibition