Nukila Evanty

Roles: Executive Director at Rights Asia; Founder and Executive Director at Women Working Group; Founder and Chair, Civil Society Coalition Against Corona; Advisor, AMAN Riau
Active in Country: Indonesia
DTP Program: 27th Annual Human Rights and People's Diplomacy Program, Timor-Leste 2017

I learnt from DTP how to become a champion of human rights, how to be more strategic, how to create a dialogue with businesses, corporations and government, how to engage with national, regional and international human rights mechanisms. This is what I learnt from DTP, how to keep on struggling.

I am currently the Executive Director of Rights Asia, a regional initiative for governance, human rights and social justice with the goal to advocate, educate and facilitate so that people can be an active part of the development decision-making process. We work to centre the people in any development and bridge the gap between the people and the decision-making process. We lobby the decision makers on human rights issues. We are currently working on issues of palm oil plantations, land degradation, land grabbing and forest fires for local people and Indigenous people. We approach businesses on the situation of palm oil with the people residing by the plantation. We also approached the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries and submitted our findings that some Indigenous peoples' land has been taken and on the low wages of palm oil farmers.

For me, working at the regional level, to work together is very important. I learned from DTP that we should make alliances, to support each other, especially in this current situation. We need more synergy.

I founded and am Executive Director of Women Working Group (WWG), a movement that aims to achieve gender equality by working with stakeholders such as government ministries, international organisations and universities to educate women to know their rights in areas such as education, employment and health. We facilitate education and training to improve skills in small and medium enterprise. In this role I advocate to the Ministry of Information on online harassment and intimidation towards women who speak up online about their political opinions to facilitate the creation of guidelines for the protection of women online. The influence of patriarchal culture, discrimination, and a stigma against women as leaders remain the main challenges we are facing with WWG. There is still discriminatory policy in every sector, this is the challenge for women and for WWG.

I founded in March 2020 and chair the Civil Society Coalition Against Corona (In Bahasa Indonesian - Koalisi Lawan Corona) (KLC) with the goal of educating people of their rights during the pandemic and monitoring the related government policy and implementation. We also established a complaints desk for people who have lost their job and income due to the pandemic and don’t have access to the social safety net. It is important to know statistics such as the number of cases, but we also need to know about human rights - who is being marginalised, who is being left behind. Gaining the trust of the people is an important achievement of KLC, that we can listen to them and help their mental health, calm their anger and frustration, and follow up with them. We are happy to do that. If they can’t get money from the social safety net, we show them how they can contact people in government to make a complaint. We are proud to have built the online platform, to educate the people on their rights and not only civil and political but also economic and social issues.  KLC communicates with the government coronavirus task force to advocate for human rights, producing research, data and working papers. We approach members of parliament who have power to change the policy, as well as the ombudsman.

In this pandemic, the challenge is that the management of the situation is the domain of the state, and they put the emphasis on the economy rather than the people, this is the challenge for our civil society organisations. There is a lack of participation of civil society organisations, but we are the ones who know what's happening on the ground with the people - we talk, we have dialogue. The challenge is - why don’t they listen?

Human rights are indispensable. DTP empowered me to become more indispensable, to work for the outstanding issues on human rights. I am proud to be a human rights defender, and proud to be an alumna of DTP.

 

Profile written July 2020.