News : Article

APF pays tribute to long-serving staff member

Graphic: Suraina (centre) with participants at an APF training program

After nine years leading the APF’s training program for member institutions, Suraina Pasha will finish in her role at the end of December 2015.


After nine years leading the APF's training program for member institutions, Suraina Pasha will finish in her role at the end of December 2015. It was, she said, an incredibly difficult decision to make.

"My time with the APF has been life-changing and it's like saying goodbye to family," Suraina said.

"I've been constantly inspired by the extraordinary and often courageous work of so many within the APF to protect the rights and dignity of others, especially the most marginalised."

After working with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Suraina moved to Sydney in October 2006. She was on a one-year contract with the APF and had no expectations that the role would extend beyond that.

"Since she joined the APF, Suraina has completely transformed our training program," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"The blended learning programs she has helped develop means we have been able to reach more people, on more topics, in a more engaging way," he said.

"The positive feedback we receive demonstrates just how vital this service is to our members and that it makes a genuine difference in the way that staff and Commissioners approach their human rights work."

Mr Fitzpatrick paid tribute to Suraina's work in establishing an online learning platform that allows the APF to conduct training programs in English and Arabic.

"Suraina has also overseen the development of a broad suite of professional development resources and helped coordinate a European Union project on preventing torture and other forms of ill-treatment", he said.


Members of the 2010 NHRI capacity assessment team in Afghanistan

In 2010, Suraina was part of the APF's capacity assessment team working with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. "Having the opportunity to spend time with my Afghan colleagues and hear about their experiences as human rights defenders was one of the highlights of my time with the APF."


In 2016, Suraina's passion for human rights and social justice will take her in a new direction.

In February, she will head to Jordan to conduct further research as part of her PhD examining responses to the mass movement of refugees. A socio-legal study, she is recording the experiences of Syrian refugees outside the refugee camps in the north of the country, near the Syrian border.

She spent six weeks in Jordan this past July and August doing initial field research and speaking to almost 100 refugee families about their experiences. She plans to finalise her PhD study by the end of 2016 and will then look for opportunities to contribute her expertise in research and human rights.

Date: 16 November 2015


Image credits

  1. Suraina (centre) with participants at an APF training program - APF/Michael Power
  2. Members of the 2010 NHRI capacity assessment team in Afghanistan - APF