OUR STAFF

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights and a 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellow. He previously worked with Human Rights Watch (2011-2013), where he authored several reports on critical rights issues in Myanmar and China. Matthew also served as a project coordinator and senior consultant at EarthRights International (2005-2011). His work has exposed wartime abuses and forced displacement, crimes against humanity, “ethnic cleansing,” multi-billion dollar corruption, "development"-induced abuses, and other human rights violations. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and other outlets. Before moving to Southeast Asia in 2005, Matthew worked with Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights on Speak Truth to Power. He also worked as a community organizer in New York City and as an emergency-services caseworker in Mobile, Alabama. He has an M.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from Le Moyne College.

Amy A. Smith

Amy A. Smith is a founder and executive director of Fortify Rights. Previously, Amy worked as a consultant focusing on regional migration and refugee protection issues with the Labor Migration and Trafficking Unit of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Office for Southeast Asia. Amy served as the Myanmar and Thailand researcher for the International Secretariat of Amnesty International and worked with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Malaysia and Thailand, facilitating research and programming with urban and camp-based refugees from Myanmar. For several years, she worked with the Chin Human Rights Organization and remains on its board of directors. Amy authored numerous reports and publications on human rights and humanitarian issues, including for Human Rights Watch, and has experience providing legal representation and expert testimony for asylum seekers in the U.S. Amy is a licensed U.S. attorney with a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.S. from Northeastern University.

Kate Vigneswaran

Kate Vigneswaran is the Legal Director at Fortify Rights. She was previously a prosecution lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, where she worked on numerous criminal trials involving genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. She has also worked as a consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on transnational organized crime and human rights lawyer for non-government organizations in South Africa and Australia and the United Kingdom’s Minister of Justice on issues including fair trial rights, terrorism, refugee rights, and discrimination. Kate is a contributing author to Prosecuting Conflict-Related Sexual Violence at the ICTY (Oxford University Press) and the editor of Paper Wars: Access to Information in South Africa (Wits University Press). She has a Master of Laws from Harvard University (United States) and a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology (Australia).

Jillian Tuck

Jillian Tuck is the Partnerships Manager at Fortify Rights. She was previously the Senior Program Officer for Rights at Risk at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), where she directed UUSC’s response to refugee crises in Central America and southeastern Europe, and atrocity crimes in Myanmar. She has also worked as the Asylum Program Manager at Physicians for Human Rights, where she facilitated medical-legal documentation for asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants seeking humanitarian protection. For over a decade, Jillian has been involved in the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, and currently serves on their Board of Directors. Jillian is a licensed U.S. attorney with a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

Puttanee Kangkun

Puttanee Kangkun is a Thailand Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. She has more than 10-years of experience engaging on human rights issues in Thailand. She served as a member of the Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions and has worked with a subcommittee of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. Most recently, Puttanee's work has focused on supporting USAID-funded projects throughout Thailand. Her earlier experience included supporting human rights defenders through the Asian Human Rights Commission and the Justice and Peace Foundation and assisting displaced communities through her work with the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma. Puttanee holds a MA in Human Rights from Mahidol University, Thailand.

Sutharee Wannasiri

Sutharee Wannasiri is a Thailand Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. She has been working since 2009 to address key human rights concerns in Thailand with national, international, and UN agencies. For four years, Sutharee served as the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Amnesty International Thailand (AI Thailand). Prior to AI Thailand, she worked on promoting human rights awareness through a project with the Asia Foundation. Most recently, Sutharee monitored the conflict in southern Thailand and focused on the prevention of torture through her work with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Sutharee received an MA in Human Rights Practice from an Erasmus Mundus joint program with Goteborg University, Sweden; Roehampton University, UK; and University of Tromso, Norway and a BA in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University.

David Baulk

David Baulk is a Myanmar Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. He has been working on the social, political, and economic rights of marginalized communities in South and Southeast Asia since 2012. Most recently, he worked with the Women's League of Burma to develop research and advocacy materials and support the design and implementation of campaigns relating to the human rights of women. He also has experience working with the Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma), Burma Campaign UK, and UK-based Communications Agency DARE. He holds an MSc in Globalization and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), UK.

Henry Koh

Henry Koh is a Malaysia Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. Prior to joining Fortify Rights, he worked as a legal consultant with UNAIDS Asia Pacific, where he led a pioneer project focusing on transgender rights advocacy through strategic litigation and served as a rapporteur with former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Health Anand Grover to produce a report detailing an action plan to advance transgender rights. During his time with UNAIDS, Henry helped initiate the “Transgender Rights Defenders Coalition” to support legal aid services for the transgender community in Malaysia. Henry also worked with the Southeast Asia Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and produced human rights country briefs for Malaysia, Singapore and an annual report on political violence and arbitrary arrests in West Papua. Henry is currently a secretariat member of PROHAM (Society for the Promotion of Human Rights). Henry holds an LL.B. Bachelors of Law from the University of London as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Law, Postgraduate Certificate in Law, and Diploma in International Arbitration. He is fluent in Malay, Bahasa Indonesia, and Mandarin.

Taimoor Sobhan

Taimoor Sobhan is a Multimedia Specialist with Fortify Rights. He has 10 years of experience creating films and producing multimedia content for international broadcasters and nongovernmental organizations. He has previously worked for organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Human Trafficking). He has filmed extensively in Southeast Asia for news outlets including Agence France-Presse (AFP), VICE News, the BBC, and China Central Television (CGTN). Taimoor holds a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University, and studied film and video production at the Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU).

John Quinley III

John Quinley III is an Associate Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. He was born and raised in rural and urban Thailand and has worked with refugees, displaced people, and marginalized communities throughout Southeast Asia. Most recently, he worked as a freelance journalist and researcher covering political and economic issues in the region. John has experience conducting research on transgender rights with Love146 in Bangkok, Thailand. He has worked as a Refugee Specialist with Women’s Opportunities Resource Center in Philadelphia providing post-resettlement services to refugees from Myanmar, Syria, and Bhutan. John lived and worked for a year in an internally displaced persons camp in Shan State Myanmar with Partners Relief and Development. John holds a BA in Economic Development with a specialization in Southeast Asia from Eastern University, US.

OUR International Advisory Board

  • Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights
  • Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
  • Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch
  • Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School
  • Pillkyu Hwang, human rights lawyer with Gonggam Human Rights Law Foundation and Human Rights Committee Coordinator of the Korean Bar Association.

Our Board of Directors

  • Oddny Gumaer, Board President
  • Sidney J. Jansma III, Board Vice President
  • Gerald Bourgeois, Board Treasurer
  • Isabelle Bourgeois, Board Secretary
  • Joe Cashion
  • Brad Hazlett
  • Steve Gumaer
  • Amy A. Smith
  • Matthew Smith

ANNUAL REPORTS AND AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

December 31 2016

2016 Audited Financial Statement

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January 01 2016

2015 Annual Report

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