Born and raised in Hong Kong, Shelley felt discrimination while growing up due to her half-Filipina identity but has always seen Hong Kong as the home she wants to contribute to. She is a New South Wales qualified lawyer and a Master of Laws graduate who wants to work towards greater inclusivity and gender equality in Hong Kong.
Shelley currently works at the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She previously worked on a children’s rights project and is now building an online platform focusing on disability rights, namely, Disability Rights Resource Network (DRRN). She is also working in a team on HKU’s Human Rights Hub which serves as a knowledge exchange platform for human rights. Previously, Shelley was a volunteer at a local refugee NGO, where she worked closely with the legal team to provide assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong.
Shelley also completed a Red Cross Humanitarian Engagement and Diplomacy Course during which she learned about humanitarian crises in other countries from different perspectives. Through this experience, she realized that we all have privileges that shield us from noticing particular discrimination and injustices and we constantly have to challenge ourselves to unlearn values we have been taught to see things from a different angle. She has also been volunteering at Hong Kong Red Cross as a legal mentor.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is important to Shelley due to her own experience. She has come to realise that having a voice and empowering those with lived experience to speak up are crucial through her volunteer experience in Cambodia, where she assisted people who experienced domestic violence. She believes that the culture of victim-blaming needs to be changed and people often neglect the importance of the intersectionality of gender equality together with other rights, such as children’s rights, disability rights and racial equality.
In the future, Shelley will be doing a PhD in Law abroad as she is interested in a comparative study of how other jurisdictions deal with GBV. She is also hoping to learn how other places empower their communities when it comes to ending GBV. Shelley wishes to bring that knowledge back to Hong Kong to advocate for and teach about gender equality and rights.
Monica Zionede Hall, Mentor of Shelley
Founder and Managing Director of FELIZ Consulting