EngageMedia Blog

RightsCon Press Briefing, 23 March, 5pm

by EM News March 23, 2015
RightsCon Southeast Asia begins this Tuesday, March 24, in Manila. We're looking forward to seeing you there!

RightsCon SEA 2015

Today (Monday) from 5 - 6pm the event hosts — Access, EngageMedia, and Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) — are hosting a press briefing at Bar One at the Holiday Inn Manila Galleria in Pasig City.

This press briefing is a unique opportunity to meet and talk with the policy analysts, organizers, and advocates behind this year's event. We'll discuss the sessions, speakers, technologies, and collaborations that will be featured throughout the coming days.

More information:
What: Press briefing for RightsCon Southeast Asia
Where: Bar One, Holiday Inn Manila Galleria, Pasig City, Philippines
When: Monday, March 23, 5 – 6pm
Who: RightsCon Southeast Asia Hosts — Access, Engage Media, and Foundation for Media Alternatives

Please RSVP to josh@accessnow.org if you would like to attend today's press briefing, and feel free to forward this invitation to other interested press.

Fmore information about media at RightsCon Southeast Asia please go here.

Engaging Digital Rights in Southeast Asia

by Andrew April 08, 2015
I've just arrived in Manila to a hubbub of activity as EngageMedia, Access and the Foundation for Media Alternatives put the final touches on RightsCon Southeast Asia.

Some of the six satellite events have already begun and excited faces, both old and new, are popping up. After more than a year of intensive work it's great to see the culmination of our combined efforts. With more than 500 people attending, RightsCon Southeast Asia will be a big moment for the digital rights and open internet movement in the region, as well as for EngageMedia.

Why are we here?

EngageMedia has long been involved in the open internet and digital rights space; we built Plumi, our open source video sharing software, promoted Creative Commons among independent video producers in Southeast Asia, conducted a plethora of digital security trainings with media makers, and participated as members in digital rights networks such as the Association for Progressive Communications.

This work has been foundational to our identity, however it is our video initiatives, be it convening regional or global networks, training migrant workers or supporting Papuan communities, that have been the bigger part of our story.

In early 2014 EngageMedia made a strategic decision to commit more deeply to the open internet and digital rights movements, for a number of reasons.

The issues of digital rights, an open internet and media production and distribution cannot be separated.. In our field the internet is the primary distribution channel for this media and where its audience lives. Everything exists within the fabric of the network, and the integrity of that network is being dramatically eroded as a result of both state intelligence agencies and data hungry online platforms.

The Snowden leaks revealed what many already suspected; that US and other intelligence agencies had back doors into user communications at some of the biggest technology companies in the world – Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and more. The story turns out to be more dramatic than even the most cynical expected, for example, technology companies deliberately making their products insecure at the behest of the NSA, Skype and Microsoft Outlook being amongst them.

There are a myriad of implications of this corrupting of the technology and the network. One is increased security threats to the human rights and environmental advocacy groups EngageMedia works with. Online platforms and applications routinely ingest sensitive information, often happily provided by users, enabling the tracking activities, friendship associations and personal movements down to the smallest detail. For those making and distributing media about politically sensitive issues, be they human rights, climate change or free speech, this absence of privacy can result in direct persecution, but more generally, it has a chilling effect on free speech and political organising.

Security has always been a component of our video production and distribution trainings, however the depth of surveillance now occurring has forced us to significantly increase this work. It also forces us to question the liberatory presumptions behind enabling freedom of expression online when we are also increasing activists' and media makers' capacity to be surveilled.

Our contribution to date in challenging this has been to produce a platform like Plumi for secure video sharing, to use and to advocate the use of open source encryption tools, and to conduct digital security trainings with activists and media makers. The scale of the problem however requires a much larger response. The foundations of our work to assist marginalised groups raise their voices and build their impact are deeply threatened by the absence of a free and open internet and a right to privacy.

Our work also assumes that the communities and social movements we work with have meaningful and affordable access to the internet, a key cornerstone of the what internet freedom is. Video, as the main media we distribute, requires that. Internet access in the region is increasing dramatically, but the difference between the urban and rural is stark. While we have found strategies and tactics to continue our online video distribution work despite this critical gap, our work will be greatly enhanced by equitable internet access across the region.

Fundamentally these issues require a movement to shift the balance of power between citizens, technology companies and governments. For EngageMedia, RightsCon is part of a larger contribution towards building that movement.

After RightsCon EngageMedia will continue our work facilitating networks and supporting social movements in Southeast Asia. Over the coming year we're planning a series of smaller regional events, research, digital security trainings and awareness raising and campaign work.

Hope to see you in Manila!

Less Than One Week to RightsCon!

by EM News March 20, 2015
Next week, representatives from more than 50 countries and 300 institutions will gather in Manila to strategize on ways to protect the open internet and defend the digital rights of its users.

RightsCon Banner

What’s on the Agenda?

More than 110 sessions, lightning talks, tech demos, and private roundtables. Topics include everything from intermediary liability to trade negotiations; from surveillance and privacy to freedom of expression and opinion; from cybersecurity to meme-making. The final program is live, and we couldn't be happier about the quality of programming you've helped us create.

The event is designed to deliver outcomes, build strategies and partnerships, and have honest conversations to advance digital rights in the region.

Who’s Attending?

We’re still counting, but here’s what we know:

  • Attendees from almost every country in Asia
  • More than 20 government bodies from the region and beyond including Sweden, USA, Germany, UK, and Holland
  • 50 corporations, including the major Silicon Valley tech companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Mozilla, and more
  • More than 150 civil society organizations from the EFF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Thai Netizens Network, ICT Watch, and Centre for Internet and Society
  • More than 15 foundations with a mandate to preserve internet freedom
  • 35 academic institutions from around the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Chulalongkorn, Nanyang Technological, MIT and the Islamic University of Indonesia,
  • 50 coalitions, legal centers and press, including Digital News Asia, GMA News, Thomas-Reuters, and First Look Media

RightsCon Program

New Satellite Event Announcements

We have two new Satellite Events to announce, and one reminder:

* NEW: March 23: Citizenfour: A Special Screening with Jacob Appelbaum

Join hosts Access and Amnesty International for a screening of this Academy Award-winning documentary, March 23 @ 6pm.

* NEW: March 23: Workshop on Guidelines for Documenting International Crimes

Join Open Society Justice Initiative and the Coalition for International Criminal Court-Asia Pacific Network as they workshop the development of guidelines to assist NGO’s in the documentation of criminal human rights abuses. Register here by Friday, March 20.

* REMINDER: On March 23 & 26, LevelUp/Internews, Security First and EngageMedia are hosting a convening of digital security trainers who are actively supporting local communities and networks in Asia. Want to attend? Register here.

RightsCon Partners

The Human Rights Video Collection of Equality Myanmar

by Kyalyi March 19, 2015

Equality Myanmar (EQMM), formerly known as the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), is a nongovernmental organization that facilitates a broad range of human rights training and advocacy programs for grassroots organizations, political parties, and communities.

EQMM has also produced numerous advocacy videos on various issues, and in this blogpost I've highlighted my top three from their amazing collection.

Myanmar's Human Rights Day

March 13 is a date widely recognized as Myanmar's Human Rights Day, and this short video explains why.

On that fateful day in 1988, Ko Phone Maw, a fifth-year student at the Rangoon Institute of Technology was killed by government riot police. This could be considered the key event which sparked off the historic pro-democracy uprising that year.

During that uprising, many political leaders remembered Ko Phone Maw’s death, and planned to commemorate Myanmar's Human Rights Day every year, a tradition that is carried out till today.

Suu Kyi's Speech on the Day Against Child Trafficking

On 12th December 2011, the Day Against Child Trafficking was marked at the CDC school in Mae Sot, Northern Thailand. Parents, teachers, and students from 72 migrant schools, totaling to over two thousand people, attended the ceremony.

The event was opened by a speech by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on child rights and trafficking. She starts by stating that, “Every day should be a day against child trafficking”. She goes on to say, “The trafficking of children, and therefore the trafficking our future, should be stopped. It is very inhumane and is an uneducated idea. This is gambling with our future.”

It is for these reasons that Suu Kyi believes child trafficking should be ended, and why she would like to show appreciation for those who are actively working against the practice.

Surviving on Unwelcoming Hills

This video portrays the ethnic Chin people in Myanmar's far-flung western Chin state, who have long borne the brunt of abusive military rule.

Ongoing repression and abuses by Myanmar's military, combined with policies and procedures of the military government have caused thousands of ethnic Chin to flee the country. Most go across the border to India. Most go across the border to Mirozam, India.

Also examined in the film is the situation across the border in Mizoram State, where the Chin face discrimination, religious repression, and other forums of abuse. The Indian government neglects the Chin living in Mizoram, and thousands of them have been rounded up and forcibly returned by voluntary associations and local authorities.

You can check out more videos from Equality Myanmar's video page. And if you're interested to learn more about contemporary Myanmar and its filmmakers and journalists, look out for updates on our Southeast Asia Video Camp happening in Yangon in June 2015.

Equality Myanmar ၏ အေကာင္းဆံုး လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ဗီဒီယိုမ်ားကို ခံစားျခင္း

by Kyalyi March 17, 2015

Equality Myanmar (EQMM) ကို  ယခင္က Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) လို႔ အသိမ်ားပါတယ္။ ထိုင္းႏိုင္ငံအေျခစိုက္အေနနဲ႔ HREIB ကို လႈပ္ရွားေဆာင္ရြက္ခဲ့ျပီးေနာက္မွာ Equality Myanmar ကို ဦးေအာင္မ်ိဳးမင္းမွ ရန္ကုန္ျမိဳ႔အေျခစိုကိအျဖစ္ ဦးေဆာင္ ဖြဲ႔စည္းခဲ့ျပီး လူအခြင့္အေရး သင္တန္းမ်ား၊ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးဆိုင္ရာ အၾကံေပး ေဆြးေႏြးမႈပရိုဂရမ္မ်ားကို တက္ၾကြစြာ လႈပ္ရွားေဆာင္ရြက္ခဲ့ပါတယ္။ ဒါေၾကာင့္လည္း youtube ေပၚမွာupdate လုပ္ကာ အျမဲတင္ဆက္ေလ့ရွိတဲ့ Equality Myanmar ရဲ့ လႈပ္ရွားမႈမ်ားအနက္ မွ စိတ္၀င္စားဖြယ္ အေကာင္းဆံုးဗီဒီယိုဖိုင္မ်ားကို ေလးစားစြာမ်ွေ၀ပါရေစ။ သက္ဆိုင္ရာေခါင္းစဥ္အလိုက္ ေရြးခ်ယ္ စုစည္းထားတဲ့ ညီမွ်ျခင္းျမန္မာ(ေခၚ) Equality Myanmar ရဲ႔ ဗီဒီယိုမ်ားကို သံုးသပ္ရမယ္ဆိုရင္..

မတ္လ(၁၃)ရက္ေန႔ကို ဘာေၾကာင့္ "Myanmar's Human Rights Day" အျဖစ္ သတ္မွတ္ရတယ္ဆိုတာကို ဒီဗီဒီယို ဖိုင္က ရွင္းျပပါလိမ့္မယ္။ ဒါဟာ ၂၀၁၅ ၊ မတ္လျမန္မာ့ႏိုင္ငံေရးအတြက္ ၾကည့္သင့္တဲ့ဗီဒီယိုဖိုင္ တစ္ခု ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ တကယ့္ျဖစ္ရပ္ကို သမိုင္း၀င္ဓါတ္ပံုမ်ားနဲ႔ တင္ဆက္သြားတာဟာ ဒီဗီဒီယိုရဲ့ အားသာခ်က္ပါပဲ။
ျဖစ္စဥ္အတိုခ်ဳပ္ကို ျပန္လည္မွ်ေ၀ရမယ္ဆိုရင္ ၁၉၈၈ ခုႏွစ္မွာ ရန္ကုန္ RIT ပဥၥမႏွစ္ ေက်ာင္းသား ကိုဖုန္းေမာ္ဟာ အစိုးရရဲ့ အၾကမ္းဖက္ႏွိမ္နင္းမႈေအာက္မွာ အသက္ဆံုးရႈံးခဲ့ရျပီး အဲဒီကမွစလို႔ သမိုင္း၀င္ ၈၈ အေရးေတာ္ပံုၾကီး စတင္ခဲ့ပါတယ္။ အေရးေတာ္ပံုအရွိန္ရေနစဥ္မွာပဲ ကိုဖုန္းေမာ္ကို မေမ့ႏိုင္တဲ့ ေက်ာင္းသားေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားက မတ္လ(၁၃)ရက္ေန႔ကို ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံရဲ့ Human Rights Day အျဖစ္ သတ္မွတ္ခဲ့ပါတယ္။

ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ ၏  မိန္႔ခြန္း
၂၀၁၁၊ ဒီဇင္ဘာလမွာ မဲေဆာက္ရွိ CDC ေက်ာင္းမွာ ကေလးသူငယ္လူကုန္ကူးမႈ တိုက္ဖ်က္ေရးေန႔ ကို HREIB  က က်င္းပခဲ့ပါတယ္။ ဒီပြဲကို ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ တက္ေရာက္ခဲ့ျပီး သူမရဲ့ ျပတ္သားတဲ့ မိန္႔ခြန္းနဲ႔ အခမ္းအနားကိုဖြင့္လွစ္ခဲ့ပါတယ္။
မိန္႔ခြန္းအစမွာပဲ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္က ‘ ေန႔ရက္တိုင္းဟာ ကေလးသူငယ္လူကုန္ကူးမႈကို ဆန္႔က်င္တဲ့ ဒီလိုေန႔မ်ိဳးျဖစ္သင့္ေၾကာင္း ‘ ဆိုပါတယ္။ ဒီေနရာမွာ သူမဆက္လက္မိန္႔ၾကားသြားတဲ့ မိန္႔ခြန္းဟာ ျမန္မာ့အနာဂတ္အတြက္ အေရးၾကီးတာေၾကာင့္ ဒီမိန္႔ခြန္းဗီဒီယိုကို မွ်ေ၀ျခင္းျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ေဒၚေဆာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္က ဆက္လက္ေျပာသြားတာကေတာ့ ‘ကေလးေတြကို လူကုန္ကူးတယ္ဆိုတာ ကြ်န္မတို႔ရဲ့ အနာဂတ္ကိုပါ ေရာင္းစားခံေနရတာပဲ ‘ တဲ့။
ဒီစကားေၾကာင့္လည္း Equality Myanmar ၏ တန္ဖိုးရွိေသာ မိန္႔ခြန္း ဗီဒီယိုကို Engage Media မွ ဂုဏ္ယူစြာ မွ်ေ၀လိုက္ပါတယ္။

မၾကိဳဆိုေလေသာအရပ္တြင္ ေနထိုင္သူမ်ား
မီဇိုရမ္မွာရွိတဲ့ ခ်င္းတိုင္းရင္းသားမ်ား အေၾကာင္းကို စိတ္၀င္စားဖြယ္ တင္ဆက္ထားတဲ့ ဗီဒီယိုျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ၁၉၈၈ ခုႏွစ္အတြင္းက ျမန္မာ့တပ္မေတာ္ရဲ့ ဖိစီးမႈေၾကာင့္ အေနာက္ဘက္ ခ်င္းေတာင္တန္းမ်ားကို စြန္႔ခြါ ထြက္ေျပးလာတဲ့ ေထာင္ေပါင္းမ်ားစြာေသာ ခ်င္းတိုင္းရင္းသားမ်ားဟာ အိႏၥၵိယနယ္စပ္ ကိုေက်ာ္လြန္ျပီး မီဇိုရမ္ ကိုေရာက္လာပါတယ္။
မီဇိုရမ္ေရာက္ ခ်င္းတိုင္းရင္းသားမ်ားဟာ  ခြဲျခားဆက္ဆံခံရမႈ၊ ဘာသားေရးဆိုင္ရာ ဖိႏွိပ္မႈနဲ႔ အျခား ဖိႏွိပ္မႈ အမ်ိဳးမ်ိဳးကို ရင္ဆိုင္ရပါတယ္။ အိႏၥၵိယအစိုးရကလည္း မီဇိုရမ္ေရာက္ ခ်င္းတို႔၏ ေနထိုင္မႈဘ၀မ်ားကို ဥေပကၥၵၡာ ျပဳထားျပီး ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံသို႔ ျပန္ရန္ ဖိအားေပးတဲ့အခါမွာ ခ်င္းဒုကၡသည္ေတြရဲ့ဘ၀ဟာ ပိုမို က်ပ္တည္းလာပါေတာ့တယ္။ ၄င္းတို႔ရဲ့ ဆံုးရံႈးရေလေသာ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးမ်ားအေၾကာင္းကို သမိုင္းျဖစ္ရပ္ေတြနဲ႔ စိတ္၀င္စားဖြယ္ စီကာပတ္ကံုး တင္ဆက္ထားတာ ျပည့္စံုပါတယ္။
Equality Myanmar ရဲ့ စိတ္၀င္စားစရာေကာင္းတဲ့ အျခား ဗီဒီယိုမ်ားကို ဒီမွာ ၾကည့္ႏိုင္ပါတယ္။ Engage Media က Filmmaker မ်ားနဲ႔ ဂ်ာနယ္လစ္မ်ားအတြက္ ၂၀၁၅၊ ဇြန္လမွာ ျပဳလုပ္မယ့္ အေရွ႔ေတာင္အာရွ Video Camp အေၾကာင္း သိခ်င္ရင္ေတာ့ ဒီမွာ ဖတ္ႏိုင္ပါတယ္။.

My Week at the Circumvention Tech Festival

by Dhyta Caturani April 02, 2015
It was an honor for me to be invited to join Circumvention Tech Festival and the first Trainers Summit ever in the Mediterranean city of Valencia, Spain from March 1–6, 2015. This is a report back on how my week was spent there.


Valencia was bright and sunny on March 1st, the first day of the Circumvention Tech Festival (CTFestival) organised by OpenIT and several partners. Well, it was sunny but still pretty chilly for someone like me who came from a tropical country. But that didn’t hinder me from feeling all excited to join more than 400 activists fighting censorship and surveillance for a week of conferences, workshops, hackathons and social gatherings.

The goal of the CTFestival was to provide a space for the community to pool resources, share knowledge, skills and experience, as well as build networks. What made it so much more interesting was that developers were also present, which gave us, the activists on the ground who use the tools they create, an opportunity to interact with them.

The festival was kicked off with the Circumvention Tech Summit (CTS), a one day unconference where participants got to know each other and the event, as well as to explore the topics for discussions set to take place the following week. After lightning speed introductions of every participant, and an explanation of the event and its (strict) privacy rules, a skills-share session began with tons of topics to choose from, ranging from various countries experience sharing on censorship and surveillance situations, to how to conduct digital security trainings, understanding tools such as Enigmail, TOR, TAILS, mobile security tools, etc, to how to get organizational buy-ins and many more.

To find out more about the conferences, workshops, hackathons and social gatherings that happened, go here.


The second day was open for everyone to go to the specific events they came to the festival for. As for myself, I joined the Trainers Summit organized by Internews, TOR Project, and IREX. The summit was attended by more than 100 participants from all over the world with all regions being represented. The first half of the first day was open to members of the public and started with a speed-geeking session featuring 11 organizations presenting their work. I was one of the 11, and presented our work for EngageMedia and video4change, which is a global network of organizations using video for social change.

The rest of the summit was private and only for participants who registered prior. For the next four days, we discussed everything regarding digital security training. We started out with mapping out regions and countries where participants conduct digital security trainings and who we train. It was such an amazing feeling to see the wide range of countries and communities everyone was working in and with. It gave us a clearer idea of how digital security is being spread throughout the world.

The summit also tried to map out what digital security trainers around the world needed, be it knowledge, skills, tools, or other resources that would help them do their work on the ground.

The best part in my view, were the break-out sessions where we planned a training based on (mostly) real-life cases. Those sessions provided us with a lot of insights and experiences from different places. I think the sessions were very fruitful to me to learn about best practices from other trainers, on what I think I can apply in my trainings. We also tried to formulate a way to shift the focus of digital security trainings from tools to humans.

On the last day, we had a chance to have small group discussions on various tools and talked to some of the developers. It was a good opportunity to get better understandings of the tools and updates on the their development.


Gender and sexuality was a major intersecting issue that was discussed a lot during the summit, by being built-in to the sessions and in and of itself. Some of the highlights included the discussion on how to work with communities of women and especially LGBTIQ on issues of privacy, surveillance and digital security, as well as a conversation on whether it's a good idea to mix women and LGBTIQ in general trainings. And if that is possible, we discussed what the appropriate strategies to conduct such inclusive trainings are. All the dialogue on gender and sexuality gave us a strong realization of how we need more women trainers, and trainers who understand those issues well or are at least gender-sensitive. Another issue that I personally think worth noting is that we need more trainers from Asia since it was well under represented (there were only 4 of us from 3 countries, of which only 1 from Southeast Asia). It may be because there is not many out there or it may be because we haven't identified them.

As a whole, the CTFestival and the Trainers Summit were huge successes. I didn’t learn many new skills in terms of the use of tools, but I guess the summit was not designed for that. It was designed to be a space to share experiences and a methodologies in delivering trainings. It successfully fulfilled that goal, and it was proven to be invaluable!

I hope that the summit would not stop at this, since it would be great to have everything documented and shared widely, not only what was brought up during the summit but also any developments, progress, experiments, and best practices afterwards. And I believe that level-up would be a great platform for a collaborative effort such as that.

*Image from here.

Crossroads Journeys to Cianjur and Banyumas!

by Dhyta Caturani March 17, 2015
We brought our 11 Crossroads videos to two West Java villages made up mostly of Indonesians who were or are migrant workers.

Crossroads Journeys to Cianjur and Banyumas!

After 12 hours of driving from Jakarta through hilly, winding, damaged roads and rubber tree forests, we finally arrived at a kampong (or village in English) in Mandalawangi, Cianjur. As the villagers there consists of a majority of Indonesians who were or are still migrant workers, we have long-been hoping to come here to screen our Crossroads advocacy videos on migrant workers, refugees, and stateless people.

On a late afternoon in February, around 20 people cramped themselves in the small house of Ms. Heti, a former migrant worker turned activist. There, we watched films from the collection and held a discussion afterwards.

It was very interesting for us to hear from the attendees, all of whom have had experience working in Arab countries. They were surprised to see similar problems faced by migrant workers in Malaysia, for example, the absence of the basic rights for migrant workers and protection from the authorities. Issues of document forgery, fraud by agencies, exploitation by employers, as well as physical abuse and sexual harassment also sounded all too familiar to them.

“Does our Embassy in Malaysia also pay no attention to our brothers and sisters there?”, asked one member of the audience. Nisaa, our resource person from Solidaritas Perempuan, explained the similar status of Indonesian migrant workers in different countries, while acknowledging that migrant workers in some countries do have slightly better conditions.

The discussion went to the issues of what the Government has done so far to protect Indonesian migrants. It had recently passed a moratorium to stop sending migrant workers to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, which actually led to the illegal sending of workers abroad, putting them in much more vulnerable positions.

After watching videos from Crossroads, we revisited Cerita Buruh Migran, a similar project we undertook in 2012. Some of the attendees of the warm gathering were participants from that project, and it delighted us to know that the work we've done was seen as useful by the people that matter.

Crossroads Journeys to Cianjur and Banyumas!

We left Mandalawangi village early the next morning to drive another 12 hours to Pageraji village, Banyumas for a similar screening. We didn't expect the trip there to take that long and were late by a couple of hours. Amazingly, however, around 40 women were still waiting for us in the village meeting hall. “None of them left,” said the organizer. We felt sorry, but also grateful and honored for their patience.

After screening six videos, a discussion began with some women sharing their experiences of working in Malaysia and various Arab countries. One woman was jailed in Saudi after being accused of trying to run away from her employer’s house. She served three years in prison and her employer got away from paying her salary for two years. She told the story of how the Indonesian government were the most ignorant of all, never visiting their citizens who imprisoned there. In her anger, she made stressed that if the Government can’t protect its migrant workers, it would be better to stop sending them overseas completely.

Another woman told the story of her niece, who was deported from Malaysia and had her baby taken away from her three years ago. Her niece is still suffering from depression to this day, and made a plea for help from us. Solidaritas Perempuan and the local organizer, Seruni, promised to assist her in any way possible.

The many comments from the attendees greatly helped us, and especially the organizations working on the issues, to better understand the cases of migrant workers from the area and to have a clearer picture of what they need to address their issues to the respective authorities and to carry out their campaigns.

Crossroads visits Jakarta, Blitar, Mataram, and Lampung in months of March and April, so stay tuned for  our schedule and more updates!

Up Close With Doctor Maria Rumateray

by Yerry Nikholas Borang March 16, 2015

Dr.  Maria Rumateray is a medical doctor who works to provide remote medical assistance in the most difficult areas of Papua. She was featured in "Mutiara dalam Noken", one of the videos in Papuan Voices II, directed by FX Making. Here she talks about some of challenges she faces in her work.

  • Young Papuans who have seen your work in the film are inspired by your work. What message do you have to them?

All the experiences and dilemma I face in daily life are in the movie that you've seen. Things like what I experience when I have to fly to remote areas in the bad weather and what it is to like to cope in these situations. Of course I was scared and I’m still afraid of flying on a helicopter in heavy rains. It's not like inside a Boeing 737, trust me. And I'm hoping that all my bothers and sisters who are still in University in Yogyakarta and other places, should complete their study. The should successfully finish it and come back home to build our land. I lived and grew up in Wamena. That's my kampong. Who else will develop it if it's not me?

  • Would you be able to shed some more light on the situation of health services in Papua?

Last Christmas I had to evacuate a pregnant woman who was fighting to survive because the baby's placenta was still inside her body for five days. There are no basic medical services near their area. This is a common example of the cases that I have to handle. Before this, the services were so dire, we had to handle cases that are not in our area of work. We covered Yahokimo, Tolikara and so on. Those areas are not included in my job description. We're not trespassing there, but it's because we have to provide medical services to the whose need it the most. Usually, in the state of emergency as it is in those areas sometimes, we should be more careful about boundaries.

  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

We go to remote areas, areas that aren't easily accessible. Mostly in the “head of bird” of Papua island, in Kaimana. Those areas are so beautiful. In the field, we have to use GPS because some areas do not appear on the map. We sometime have to rehearse for our landing. Most of these area do not have proper infrastructure like helipad. So we have to jump out from two meters height. We need to exercise this action first for the pilot and also us, the passengers. We will not enter an area that already have churches and government services health unit services. In the most case we fly out patients with extraordinary situation that can't be handled in their location.

  • Are the a lot of female doctors working in the health sector in Papua?

It is not only me, who is originally from Papua. We have Indonesian doctors in our team, such as my friend doctor Marsela. She serves in Nduga, a location where there's still an armed conflict going on. She is very brave. She may have a “straight” hair, not like me “curly”, but her heart is all Papua.

Malaysian Students Respond to Crossroads Screening

by EM News March 10, 2015


Crossroads, our collection of advocacy videos on migrant workers, refugees, and stateless people in Malaysia was recently screened by our local partners KOMAS to a class of 45 students at the Methodist College in Kuala Lumpur.

This screening, which featured the films Polis Pao, Cupin Cerita, Perangkap, and In Search of Shelter, prompted a lively discussion. "If the situation is so bad in Malaysia, why they still want to work here?", asked the students. Our resource person from the migrant worker NGO Tenaganita, explained that it was because the average wages are much higher in Malaysia. However, local employers take advantage of that fact to give them lower pay and worse working conditions as compared to local workers.

The students also noted that different treatment is seemingly accorded to expatriates in the country. For example, they are allowed to bring their children with them and to have them study in international schools, whereas migrant workers not accorded the same rights. Such prohibitions are also against a child's right to education.


It was shared that we shouldn't distinguish between different types of workers, and that everyone, regardless of where they come from, have a right to cross borders and look for a better life to ensure their survival. Tenaganita put the point across that, "no human being is illegal - just undocumented". And just because someone lacks a document, it shouldn't mean that they lose all their rights to dignity, proper pay, and protection from harm and extortion.

In closing, the students were asked if they had a right to pursue their studies overseas or whether it would be fair for them to get lower pay if they worked illegally while studying to support themselves.

After Crossroads toolkits were given to their lecturer, the students were introduced to Tenaganita's work so they could consider volunteering with them or call their hotline if they come across any migrant worker in need of help.

RightsCon: Happening 24-25 March in Manila!

by EM News March 23, 2015
RightsCon is the premier summit series bringing together civil society, engineers, activists, lawyers, companies, and governments on the subject of the internet and human rights.

In just over a week EngageMedia and more than 500 people will gather in Manila for RightsCon Southeast Asia. Here are our top 5 actions for RightsCon!

  1. Register for RightsCon!
    This event will sell out, so if you have colleagues and friends who are thinking of attending, encourage them to register now and share this code with them for 25% off registration: FOF25.

  2. Plan your travel to Manila!
    Opening ceremonies begin 24 March 9am, registration begins at 8am and the conference concludes at 6pm 25 March followed by a special EngageMedia 10 Year Anniversary party that evening.

    Satellite Events will be hosted by our friends and partners and begin Saturday 21 March.

    Information about airport transfers and getting around Manila are available here. If you have any questions, send us a note at conference@accessnow.org and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.

  3. Prepare for Outcomes: Learn about the Program and Participants
    Think of RightsCon as one giant, two-day global workshop aimed at protecting the open internet and the digital rights of its users. Prepare for engagement and substantively advancing your work.

    We’ve built a knockout program with lively workshops, interactive panels, and engaging debates. You can see the draft program here and highlights from the program.

    From top human rights experts to corporate leaders, to front line activists to investors, individuals from over 50 countries as well as representatives from multiple governments are coming with the express goal of learning, strategizing, networking, and forging new territory. Check out the list of speakers that is growing daily.

  4. Engage Respectfully
    Remember this conference is covering some sensitive issues in a culturally and politically diverse region. It is important that we respect each others viewpoints, even as we might disagree with them, and create a safe space to develop strategies and alliances to keep the Internet open and protect the digital rights of it users.

  5. Live Blog and Tweet with Us
    If you're interested in live blogging part of all of the Conference, we're organizing contributors. For details, send a note of interest to conference@accessnow.org and we'll be in touch!

    Tweet, now, Tweet later! Follow us @RightsCon and use #rightscon when you tweet about the event!

Thanks for being a part of this event. We can’t wait to see you in Manila!