Anelyn De Luna

Member, Survivors Hub; Advisor of the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
The opportunity to share the challenges faced by the participants from different countries in DTP’s training added depth to already engaging DTP sessions.

DTP alumna Anelyn de Luna has over 30 years of experience defending and promoting human rights in Asia. The rights of children are the focus of her advocacy now, and she consults with ECPAT Philippines, part of a global network that has grown to stop the exploitation of children, combat child abuse, and the trafficking of children.

Anelyn is one of DTP’s first alumna, participating in DTP’s 1st program in Sydney in 1990, under the leadership of DTP’s co-founder, Nobel Peace Laureate José Ramos-Horta. Anelyn remembers the training very well:

“I was truly amazed by Jose’s incredible journey, the story of how he rose to prominence as a leader and the challenges he faced while representing East Timorese people kept me captivated. I remember he was very approachable and engaged in deep conversation with us.”

At that time Anelyn was the International Solidarity Officer for Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), one of the Philippines’ leading human rights NGOs – advocating for the protection of the rights and the promotion of interests of political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations such as torture, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

Anelyn recalls the value of both “fascinating” DTP sessions and the informal gatherings of participants that fostered useful bonds and networking among fellow human rights advocates.

“The opportunity to share the challenges faced by the participants from different countries in DTP’s training added depth to already engaging DTP sessions. Beyond the formal discussions, the informal gatherings were equally enriching, creating a more relaxed and open environment than what we experienced in the classroom setting. These moments allowed us to not only bond on a personal level but also have some fun together.”

Anelyn recalled a participant from New Zealand composed a powerful song of resistance.

Anelyn’s passion for human rights activism dates back to her early years, when she was a student activist challenging the martial law of the Marcos regime. Her experiences in documenting cases of human rights abuses left a deep impact on her, despite the nightmares and emotional toll it took. Her strength and dedication deepened as she saw the suffering of the families of political detainees, who often had to leave their children in the care of human rights organisations.

Anelyn’s experience in building solidarity for human rights and democracy movements in the Philippines led her to help establish Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Myanmar) in Thailand. For 18 years Anelyn worked tirelessly building international solidarity networks that played a crucial role in pressuring the Myanmar junta on political prisoners and democracy. That work continues today.

She has seen directly from her experience in the Philippines, working on Burma and for human rights struggles across Asia, just how important regional and international solidarity is in advancing human rights causes. Anelyn came back recently to participate in DTP’s first Asian regional alumni workshop, sharing her experiences with more recent alumni.

“I hope that DTP can continue to play a role in empowering young activists in Asia and elsewhere while fostering a sense of shared purpose of defending human rights across borders”.

November 2023

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