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.

Eric Paulsen

Eric Paulsen is a Legal Director at Fortify Rights. Eric was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1998 and started legal practice at Messrs Karpal Singh & Company, a leading criminal and public interest law firm in Malaysia. He completed his Bachelor of Law from University of London (External) in 1995, and his Master of Law in Human Rights from University College London in 2001. He co-founded Lawyers for Liberty in 2011, a leading human rights organization in Malaysia and was its Adviser until becoming the Executive Director from 2014 to June 2018. He represented human rights defenders, government-opposition activists and elected representatives in numerous criminal and strategic litigation cases on freedoms of speech and assembly. He also represented families in custodial death, police shooting and torture cases. Eric previously worked at Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and was involved in civil society movements in Malaysia to abolish the Internal Security Act (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA), the Sedition Act (Gerakan Hapuskan Akta Hasutan), and the National Security Council Act (#TakNakDiktator). He also previously worked with U.N. agencies in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.

Puttanee Kangkun

Puttanee Kangkun is a Senior 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.

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 a Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. He was perviously a Associate Human Rights Specialist with Fortify Rights. He has worked with refugees, displaced people, and other diverse communities throughout South and Southeast Asia. John worked as a Refugee Specialist with Women’s Opportunities Resource Center in Philadelphia providing post-resettlement services to refugees from Myanmar, Syria, and Iraq. John lived and worked for a year in an internally displaced persons camp in Shan State, Myanmar with Partners Relief and Development. He is pursuing an M.A. in Slavery and Liberation from the School of Politics & International Relations at Nottingham University, UK; he holds a graduate certificate from the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Zoryan Institute, Canada; as well as a B.A. from Eastern University, USA.

Iuri Kato

Iuri Kato is a Graphic and Digital Design Associate at Fortify Rights, joining the team in early 2018. He has been a graphic designer since 2008 and worked in both corporate and nonprofit sectors for the past four years. He was a consultant for international and local organizations such as UNESCO, the International Organization for Migration, Save the Children, Handicap International, the Branch Foundation, and Rights Beyond Borders, and served as an Art Director and Senior Graphic Designer in the food and beverage industry for three years. His design experience includes editorial design, infographics, brand identity, illustration, social media, digital design, video games, and mobile apps. Iuri has a B.A. in Visual Arts and Art Education from the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil.

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
  • Joe Cashion
  • Brad Hazlett
  • Steve Gumaer
  • Amy A. Smith
  • Matthew Smith


December 14 2018

Job Opening: Human Rights Defender Specialist

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December 14 2018

Job Opening: Thailand Human Rights Associate

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December 14 2018

Job Opening: Malaysia Human Rights Specialist

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December 14 2018

Job Opening: Legal Director

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November 09 2018

Job Opening: Operations Associate

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November 09 2018

Job Opening: Grants Associate

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November 09 2018

Job Opening: Impact Monitoring & Learning Associate

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November 09 2018

Job Opening: Communications Associate

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July 01 2018

Job Opening: Myanmar Human Rights Specialist

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January 01 2018

2017 Annual Report

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January 01 2017

2016 Annual Report

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December 31 2016

2016 Audited Financial Statement

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January 01 2016

2015 Annual Report

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