Tag Archives: Jakarta

[Statement] CSO Recommendations for the ASEAN Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat

The 2013 Dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary-General, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Representative of Civil Society Organizations

Regional CSOs. File photo by Forum-Asia

Regional CSOs. File photo by Forum-Asia

Note: Based from the information shared by our source…

On Friday, 1 November 2013, in Jakarta, Representatives of Civil Society Organizations (Including the source, a representative of FORUM-ASIA) attended the 2013 Dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary-General, the ASEAN Secretariat and Civil Society Organizations.

The meeting was organized by HRWG (Human Rights Working Group), CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), and Indonesia Representative to the AICHR.
In the meeting CSOs presented the statement to the ASG and ASEAN Secretariat, which was drafted during CSO meeting on 31 October 201.

According to the source, Ambassador Le Luong Minh (the ASG) gave speech in the meeting but unfortunately, there was no question and answer due to other agenda of the ASG and the scheduled flight to Tokyo at the same day.

In the afternoon, there was a dialogue with ASEAN Secretariat, represented by H.E. Dr. AKP Mochtan (Deputy Secretary General (DSG) of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs Department) and Ms. Leena Ghosh (Assistant Director on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights).

Civil Society’s Recommendations for the ASEAN Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat, submitted in Jakarta, Indonesia on 1 November 2013

1. We, civil society organizations, peoples’ organizations, think tank, and young people from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Myanmar,the the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, have gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia for the 2013 Dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary-General, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Representative of Civil Society Organizations, organized by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) on 31 October – 1 November 2013, to provide feedback and recommendations to the ASEAN Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat to further improve the involvement of civil society in building an ASEAN Community and strengthen the efforts to promote and protect human rights in the region.


ASEAN Community and Human Rights

2. We recognize that ASEAN is currently pursuing its goal of building an ASEAN Community by 2015. We are, however, alarmed that human rights is not mainstreamed in the three ASEAN Community Blueprints. We are concerned that there has been no synergy displayed among the three ASEAN Community Pillars that further negatively impacts on the rights of the ASEAN people.

3. We would like to call for renewed efforts in addressing our pressing concerns regarding the political,economic, social development and environmental degradation in the region. We are united over these concerns and their implications towards the fulfilment of social justice and our rights. Urgent to our agenda are labor migrant issues and free trade; trafficking in persons, particularly women and children; rampant discrimination against persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples as well as person with different sexual orientations and gender identities; continuing disregard for refugees, political prisoners, and other marginalized groups.

4. We support a general call for access to justice as a framework and tool of ASEAN toward social justice to guarantee effective resolutions of injustices committed against the poor and the powerless.

5. We urge the ASEAN Secretary-General to encourage member states to adopt and ratify international human rights conventions.

6. We stress our view that it is our right to monitor the implementation of ASEAN agreements. To this end, we call for the guarantee of the freedom of expression and the right to information in ASEAN.

7. We also encourage the ASEAN Secretary-General to initiate discussions amongst stakeholders on the establisment of an ASEAN Human Rights Court.

8. We reiterate our recognition of the role of the ASEAN Secretary-General as well as the ASEAN Secretariat as important channels for civil society to hold ASEAN Member States accountable to their international and regional obligations to promote, protect and fulfill human rights as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.

Civil Society Engagement

9. We appreciate the commitment shown by the ASEAN Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat to continue the engagement with civil society in the region. Considering that establishing a culture of dialogue in ASEAN as a prerequisite to building an ASEAN Community, we urge, ASEAN Secretary-General to institutionalize the engagement with civil society, with the involvement of the ASEAN Secretariat, such as this meeting, to be annually organized.

10. We are concerned that there has been no institutionalized access for civil society to engage ASEAN at all levels, despite one of the principles of ASEAN “[t]o promote a people-oriented ASEAN in which all sectors of society are encouraged to participate in, and benefit from, the process of ASEAN integration and community building”.

11. We urge the ASEAN Secretary-General to recognize civil society platforms such as (and not limited to) the annual ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ ASEAN Peoples Forum (ACSC/APF), ASEAN Youth Forum, and ASEAN Disability Forum.

12. We call for the ASEAN Secretary-General to institutionalize civil society’s engagement with ASEAN organs and sectoral bodies, i.e. ASEAN Ministers Meeting (AMM).

The Review of the Terms of References (TOR)

13. We request the ASEAN Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat to facilitate the process of the TOR’s review and the participation of civil society groups, national human rights institutions, and broader stakeholders. The process of review should be transparent, accountable to the people and ensure substantive participation.

14. We envision that the review of TOR leads to strengthening the ASEAN human rights mechanisms with a dedicated secretariat, stronger protection mandate covering all rights under international standards, and independent and qualified Representatives through open selection processes, accountable to the people.

ASEAN Secretariat

15. We are on the view that the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat needs to be strengthened, especially on engaging the stakeholders, public outreaching, updating information in the website to make it accessible to different needs, such as providing multiple languages and disabled-friendly.

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[Press Release] Corporate Human Rights Abuses in ASEAN: Civil Society Calls for Corporate Accountability and Compliance with International Human Rights Law

Corporate Human Rights Abuses in ASEAN: Civil Society Calls for Corporate Accountability and Compliance with International Human Rights Law

Corporate Accountability in ASEAN(Bangkok/Jakarta, 3 October 2013) – Civil society groups called for greater corporate accountability in the region, which requires a regulatory framework based on international human rights norms and standards, to address the escalation of corporate human rights abuses in ASEAN, during the launch of a report, titled “Corporate Accountability in ASEAN: A Human Rights-Based Approach”, in Jakarta yesterday. The report, published by regional human rights NGO Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), was officially presented to the Thai representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, during the 6th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights held in Jakarta on 1-3 October 2013.

The ASEAN civil society’s call for greater corporate accountability comes against the backdrop of ASEAN governments’ continued push for the creation of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 that would facilitate accelerated cross-border trade and investment in the region, which civil society claims is not accompanied by adequate safeguards set in place for those marginalized by the process.

Originating from cases gathered at two public hearings on the issue of corporate accountability in 2011, held in response to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)’s undertaking of a thematic study on the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility in ASEAN, the civil society report contains documentation of cases of corporate human rights abuses in the region. The publication of the report involved a wide variety of civil society networks and organizations, both at the national and regional levels.

One of the organizations involved in the preparation of the report, Focus on the Global South, highlighted that large-scale projects in the region, such as mining, dams, roads and industrial plantations, carried out in the context of ASEAN countries’ resource extractive model of economic growth, often without adequate human rights safeguards, have led to widespread environmental degradation and resulted in negative impacts on human rights, cultures and livelihoods of peoples and communities in the region.

“Land grabbing, involuntary resettlement, forced evictions, the loss of traditional livelihoods and access to natural resources and other human rights violations perpetrated by state and non-state actors in the context of business activities have become endemic in the region. Destructive projects are carried out despite strong opposition from affected communities,” said Dorothy Guerrero of Focus of the Global South.

The report makes a detailed list of recommendations to ASEAN governments and institutions, including its regional human rights mechanisms, businesses, and national human rights institutions in addressing the legal and institutional deficits in the protection of human rights in the region, the State-business nexus that has resulted in unaccountable decision-making, barriers to information and public participation, and access to justice and remedy in cases of corporate human rights abuses.

“Governments and businesses must ensure access to information, participation and consultation of affected groups in decision-making processes. There is also an increasing phenomenon of pursuing criminal prosecutions against human rights defenders working in the context of monitoring business activities and advocating for corporate accountability. ASEAN governments must immediately stop the criminalization of the legitimate work of human rights defenders,” said Evelyn Balais-Serrano, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA, while deploring the most recent case of imprisonment of ten human rights defenders just last week for protesting against the Shwe Gas Project in Burma, one of the cases featured in the report.

The civil society report also highlights the urgent need for ASEAN governments and businesses to recognize and respect the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples as specifically stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other international instruments.

The report’s main thrust is that existing voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives promoted by businesses and by ASEAN institutions, such as the AICHR, are insufficient to address the corporate human rights abuses. AICHR has since 2011 undertaken a thematic study on Corporate Social Responsibility in ASEAN, which is to date still a work-in-progress.

“ASEAN governments and institutions, including the AICHR, must move away from the voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility approach towards principles of Corporate Accountability, which places legally binding and enforceable requirements upon businesses to respect international human rights norms and standards and provides meaningful redress for human rights violations. Existing national laws across ASEAN should be reviewed to ensure this,” said Corinna Lopa of the South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA).

Corporate Accountability in ASEAN: A Human Rights-Based Approach can be downloaded from: http://www.forum-asia.org/?p=16404

For further inquiries, please contact:

Evelyn Balais-Seraano, Executive Director, FORUM-ASIA, +66-922627971, evelyn@forum-asia.org
John Liu, East Asia Programme Officer, FORUM-ASIA, +66-802828610, johnliu@forum-asia.org
Dorothy Guerrero, Focus on the Global South, d.guerrero@focusweb.org
Consuelo Katrina Lopa, Coordinator, SEACA, ckalopa@gmail.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Recommendations of 2nd Regional Civil Society Forum to the 5th Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)

Statement prepared by CSOs who attended the preparatory meeting for the ACWC-CSO dialogue.


2nd Regional Civil Society Forum to the 5thMeeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)
Jakarta, 2-3 July 2012

1. We, members of civil society organizations from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Philippines had gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia for the 2nd Regional Civil Society Forum to the 5thMeeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) on 2-3 July 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia. This was organized by Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Kalyanamitra Foundation, KKSP Foundation, Child Rights Coalition-Asia (CRC-Asia) and Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN (Women’s Caucus) We welcome the initiative of ACWC to have an Open Session with children and with civil society organizations on July 4, 2012 as a part of the agenda of its 5th Meeting.

2. In this Open Session, we expect to dialogue with ACWC on the following issues: Civil Society Engagement with ACWC; Five-year Work Plan of ACWC; “ASEAN Declaration on Violence Against Women and Children”; ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the ratification of international human rights instruments related to child rights.

3. We welcome ACWC’s openness to enhance its understanding of violence against women (VAW) and the violence against children (VAC). We have varied and substantial knowledge and experience in working with communities and families on VAW and VAC. We seek an opportunity to participate and contribute to the work of ACWC.

Civil Society Engagement with ACWC

4. We welcome ACWC’s first open session with civil society. In recognition of our rights, strengthen the meaningful participation of civil society by instituting measures that provide for the conduct of regular dialogues and consultations. In order for meaningful participation of CSOs to happen, ACWC must facilitate the provision of resources for participation. Realizing the need for more civil society representation, we ask ACWC to allow national and regional organizations and networks to select their own representatives to the ACWC activities, following their own criteria and guidelines and emphasizing multi-disciplinal and multi-sectoral representation, with special opportunity given to marginalized women and children in need of special protection.

5. We encourage efforts of ACWC to be open and transparent in their decision-making processes and procedures, including agenda-setting, planning and other relevant deliberations. ACWC should ensure that information on its programs and work plans are made available to the public to generate wider awareness and support.

Institutional Strengthening of ACWC

6. We urge ASEAN to provide a dedicated secretariat and a fixed annual contribution from member states, bearing in mind the principles of transparency and accountability in financial management.

7. In recognition that the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children is a shared social responsibility, cooperation and partnerships of all public, private and civil society organizations is welcome.

8. In accessing external support for its operations and activities, ACWC must ensure that it tap sources which have no record of human rights violations.

9. We are aware that some ACWC representatives will end their term in April 2013. We reiterate our call for open selection processes arrived through regular CSO consultations that set clear criteria as basis for selection and that are adequately supported by member states.

10. We urge ACWC’s to productively engage with national machineries of women and children and national human rights institutions by raising awareness, information exchange, capacity-building activities.

Five-year Work Plan of ACWC

11. We commend ACWC’s work plan that addresses a wide range of relevant issues to women’s and children’s protection. We would like to propose several measures that ensure the effective and timely implementation of this work plan.

12. We urge ACWC to take the necessary measures for the elimination of discrimination and stereotyping of women and children especially persons with disabilities, women and children living with HIV and AIDS, migrant workers and LGBTs.

13. ACWC must uphold the principle of climate justice in the design and framing of any of its plans and strategies to address the socio-economic impacts of climate change including gender-responsive adaptation, mitigation and financing. Moreover it must insist the review of the safeguards policies of International Finance Institutions (IFIs) on gender and environment.

14. We urge ACWC to lead in the development of integrated child protection systems by ensuring the harmonization of national legislation with international human rights standards. ACWC can provide opportunities for the sharing of experiences and good practices in the implementation of comprehensive programs for child protection and in the development of systems for data collection and management to monitor progress.

15. We urge ACWC to assist ASEAN member states’ compliance with due diligence measures following international human rights standards. It must take necessary steps to remove barriers to access to justice by women and children victims and survivors of violence and other human rights violations.

16. We also note that in some countries in the region, women still have no equal access to own property and land. ACWC must take the initiative to correct this through the harmonization of national laws regarding property and economic entitlements and opportunities with international human rights standards.

17. We reiterate our recommendation from the 1st Civil Society Forum to the 3rdMeeting of ACWC in Solo, in September 2011 to develop an ASEAN-wide cross-border mechanism to address trafficking, migration, refugees, statelessness, VAW and VAC over the cyberspace, its systems for information sharing; the common indicators for national reports for CRC and CEDAW and other treaty bodies and mechanisms for the popularization of ASEAN human rights systems.

ASEAN Declaration on Violence Against Women and Children

18. We request clarification on the purpose of the proposed “ASEAN Declaration on Violence Against Women and Children”, noting that there are existing declarations on women and children.

19. We ask ACWC to consider the following recommendations:
a. The title of the declaration must reflect the specific and varied perspectives and contexts of VAW and VAC. Instead of the use of the term “VAWC,” we propose to use term “VAW and VAC”.
b. The declaration must be free from any reference to the “balancing between rights and responsibilities”. We reiterate that the state is the primary duty bearer and that individual rights can only be limited to prevent transgression of the rights of others.
c. We urge the use of both terminologies of “victims” and “survivors” in identifying women and children who have experienced violence.
d. We ask ACWC to recognize and address the emerging forms of violence such as in the use of new ICTs to perpetuate violence in cyberspace.

ASEAN Human Rights Declaration

20. Noting that there are concerns on the relationship between ACWC and AICHR, we reiterate that ACWC insist on their active and meaningful participation in ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in terms of the drafting process and substance.

21. ACWC should consider the various submissions made by civil society organizations on the AHRD.

22. ACWC must recommend that AICHR:
a. Ensures that the AHRD adds value to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; conform to international human rights standards especially CEDAW and CRC including the Optional Protocols; and recognize the changing contexts of human rights violations.
b. Release the AHRD draft to the public
c. Organizes meaningful, inclusive and participatory consultations with CSOs and communities at regional and national levels between now and before the finalization of the AHRD.

23. ACWC must support the integration of the rights of women and children in the AHRD especially those around the basic human rights principles of non-discrimination, substantive equality and meaningful participation of women and children; VAW and VAC in all spheres, including cyberspace; sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI); migration and children on the move; citizenship; and right to development.

24. ACWC must support the civil society’s opposition on “public morality” as a ground for “Limitation of Rights” as it has been used to undermine human rights especially those of women and girls.

Adoption and Compliance with the Convention of the Rights of the Child

25. We ask ACWC to recommend ASEAN Member States to ratify three Optional Protocols to the convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on on a communications procedure.

26. We request ACWC to encourage ASEAN Member States to ratify the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) to establish safeguards to ensure that inter-country adoptions take place in the best interests of the child.

27. We call for ACWC to act as ambassador for the ratification of international child rights instruments in their respective member states.

Jakarta, 2-3 July 2012

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[In the news] Civil society groups pushing for protection of ASEAN migrant workers – Pinoy Abroad – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Civil society groups pushing for protection of ASEAN migrant workers – Pinoy Abroad – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Much has to be done to pressure the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to protect the 13.5 million migrant workers of the region, civil society groups said.

During a forum on migration, Sinapan Samy Dorai, convenor of Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers, said civil society groups need to pressure ASEAN governments to protect the rights of migrant workers.

“The ASEAN Declaration (on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers) is already there. But who is actually implementing, monitoring and reporting (compliance to it) to the ASEAN committee on migrant workers?” Dorai asked during the ASEAN-Civil Society Conference.

Adopted in 2007, the Declaration outlines the obligations of countries that receive and send migrant workers.

The Declaration mandates ASEAN countries to promote fair and appropriate employment protection, payment of wages and adequate access to decent working and living conditions for migrant workers,

Read full article @ GMAnews.tv

[In the news] Aquino govt eyes distribution of 1.5 million hectares of farm land to informal settlers – Interaksyon.com

Aquino govt eyes distribution of 1.5 million hectares of farm land to informal settlers – Interaksyon.com.

Jakarta, Indonesia – The Aquino administration is eyeing the distribution of some 1.5 million hectares of farm land to an initial 560,000 informal settler families in Metro Manila in a bid to decongest the capital and improve agricultural production nationwide, President Benigno Aquino III said.

“One out of four families in Metro Manila are informal settlers. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment inventory shows we can lend, lease or give two hectares of land per indigent family provided they cultivate agricultural crops, develop, and earn from the land they will live on,” President Benigno Aquino III said in a tete-a-tete with the media at the Four Seasons Jakarta Saturday night.

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com

[From the web] ASEAN leaders lack commitment on migrant worker: NGO – The Jakarta Post

Source: The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

ACSC/APF Jakarta photo by Egay Cabalitan Jr (186)

ACSC/APF Jakarta photo by ECjr / HRonlinePH

ASEAN leaders are not sufficiently committed to implementing the 2007 Cebu Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, said Migrant Care analyst Wahyu Susilo on Saturday during the ASEAN Summit.

Wahyu said regional leaders have yet to show any intention to adopt the declaration as a tool for protecting ASEAN’s migrant workers.

He further said that at the same time, the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers did not show any progress and was too slow in creating a regional instrument that could help on protecting migrant workers.

“I’m sure that the 18th ASEAN Summit will not produce a real agenda on migrant worker protection,” he said, as quoted by kompas.com. He said the Summit had become a regular place for ceremonial social gatherings among regional leaders.

Therefore, he asserted that regional leaders should place the issue of migrant worker protection at the top of their list of priorities. “They should not only treat the summit as a ceremonial meeting or routine social gathering without significant results,” he added.

According to Wahyu, all ASEAN countries actively participate in the process of worker migration and are divided into two categories: senders and recipients.

[In the news] ASEAN ‘unlikely to discuss worker rights’ – the Jakarta Post

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post

Taking a seat: Trade Minister Mari Pangestu (right) accepts a seat placard from her Vietnamese counterpart, Vu Huy Hoang, during a ministerial economic meeting in Vientiane last week. Indonesia will chair all ASEAN economic meetings after the transition.Courtesy of the Trade Ministry. Photo from: aseancivilsociety.net

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei — three ASEAN countries that receive large numbers of migrant workers from their neighbors — will likely remain reluctant to discuss migrant worker issues at ASEAN ministers’ meetings, a senior Indonesian government official says.

However, the countries would not rule out discussing the issue altogether, especially at lower-levels, he said.

“The senior officials’ meeting [on Tuesday] considered that the issues on the establishment of instruments for the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers needed to be discussed further on a technical level,” Office of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare’s culture, tourism, youth affairs and sports coordinating deputy Sugihartatmo said here Wednesday on the final day of a three-day ASEAN senior officials’ meeting.

“I think there’s still a chance [to bring up migrant worker issues] in another senior officials’ meeting and to recommend discussions on these issues further at the ministerial and leader levels.”

ASEAN senior officials and ministers will meet days before the ASEAN Summit, which will bring all ASEAN leaders to Jakarta from May 7-8.

Sugihartatmo said the countries that received migrant workers would likely remain unwilling to discuss migrant worker issues at higher levels.

Echoing Sugihartatmo, Philippines Foreign Ministry director general for ASEAN Victoria S. Bataclan said there was still a possibility of discussing migrant worker issues at the summit.

“My understanding is that discussions and consultations will continue among the ASEAN member states… We have all the sectorial bodies that deal with relevant issues, in this case, migrant workers — it is certainly in the ASEAN sociocultural community,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Negotiations on the draft of the ASEAN Framework Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers have stalled since a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in December in 2009.

The two biggest worker-receiving countries — Malaysia and Singapore — have been at loggerheads with
the two largest migrant worker providers — Indonesia and the Philippines.

Malaysia and Singapore opposed the legally binding concept of the framework and standards of protection of undocumented migrant workers on a human rights basis.

Malaysia and Singapore have made another proposal to contest the draft proposed by Indonesia and the Philippines despite the fact that the first draft had already taken into consideration submissions from the opposing countries.

But Bataclan said progress had been made in the latest meeting between ASEAN technical officials dealing with the framework instrument.

“As far as I know in the last meeting, I think, of the drafting group who met, there was progress on the scope of the rights that we are talking about,” she said.

“The rights mentioned in the existing ASEAN declaration on the protection of migrant workers and their families will be the ones that we will put into a convention on the protection of migrant workers and their families.”

The number of Indonesian migrant workers, including those undocumented, in Malaysia is estimated at 2 million.

According to data compiled in 2010 by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, there were around 86,000 Indonesian domestic workers, 16,000 professionals and 12,400 workers in the maritime industry
in Singapore.

Indonesian migrant workers working in neighboring ASEAN countries and the Middle East often face a range of problems, from not being paid to physical and sexual abuse, which in some cases resulted in death.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary-General Datuk Mohd Radzi Abdul Rahman declined to comment on the issue.

—JP/ Mustaqim Adamrah

[From the web] The LGBTIQ Agenda: Equality now!

Promotion & Protection of Human Rights of LGBTIQ in ASEAN. Photo by aseancivilsociety.net

Statement of the first ASEAN Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) People’s Caucus

From May 2 to May 5, 2011 over forty lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) activists representing 8 out of ten Southeast Asian countries[1] came together in a historic assembly for the ASEAN People’s Forum to tell their governments that the status quo is not acceptable and that the recognition, promotion, and protection of LGBTIQ rights is long overdue.

ASEAN is the cradle of the Yogyakarta Principles[2], a landmark articulation of internationally recognized human rights instruments in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and yet LGBTIQs in ASEAN countries consistently face criminalization, persecution, discrimination and abuse because of who they are.

In Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Burma, authorities arrest, detain and persecute individuals because of colonial laws that criminalize their sexual orientation or gender identity. In other ASEAN countries, certain laws are abused with impunity to harass or persecute individuals whose sexuality or gender is deemed unacceptable, immoral, or unnatural: anti-prostitution, anti-trafficking, or anti-pornography laws in Indonesia and the Philippines are applied to conduct illegal raids in gay establishments or to nab transgenders, oftentimes subjecting them to humiliation and extortion. The anti-kidnapping law in the Philippines is likewise used to forcibly break apart lesbian couples living under consensual and legitimate relationships.

We are part of the people of ASEAN, and yet across the region we are treated as criminals  and as second class citizens.

Instead of representing the interests of all citizens, many governments and state institutions become instruments of religious and sectarian prejudice. In Surabaya, Indonesia, the police was complicit in an attack by an intolerant religious group against the participants of an international LGBTIQ conference.

A climate of stigma and discrimination prevails in most, if not all, ASEAN countries. From Vietnam to Brunei Darussalam, social stigma persists. Sexual orientations and gender identities outside heterosexuality and patriarchal gender norms are considered as a sickness that can be corrected through rape, reparative camps like in Besut, Malaysia, only one of several camps in the country, and other damaging psycho-social measures.

Access to basic services, from health to education, is denied on the basis of one’s presumed or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. Stigma has contributed to the steep rise in HIV infection among at-risk populations like men who have sex with men and transgenders, making it difficult for preventive interventions to reach them.

But our movements are growing. In various parts of the region, pride is unraveling and we will not take exclusion sitting down. LGBTIQ activists and organizations continue to actively engage government institutions, mass media, and civil society for equal rights and basic fairness. It is in this spirit of pride and dignity that we are reclaiming our rightful space in our respective countries and demand our governments to:

* Immediately repeal laws that directly and indirectly criminalize SOGI, recognize LGBTIQ rights as human rights, and harmonize national laws, policies and practices with the Yogyakarta Principles.
* Establish national level mechanisms and review existing regional human rights instruments (e.g. AICHR, ACWC) to include the promotion and protection of the equal rights of all people regardless of SOGI with the active engagement of the LGBTIQ community.
* Depathologize SOGI and promote psychosocial well-being of people of diverse SOGI in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and ensure equal access to health and social services.

We will not be silenced by prejudice. For a people-centered ASEAN, LGBTIQ rights now!


1. Arus pelangi (Indonesia )
2. Ardhanary Institute (Indonesia)
3. APTN/ APNSW (Malaysia)
4. EFFORT (Indonesia)
5. Gessang (Indonesia)
6. ISEE (Vietnam)
7. Youth dream (Vietnam)
8. Gaya Nusantara (Indonesia)
9. Violet Grey (Indonesia)
10. IWAMA (Indonesia)
11. Seksualiti Merdeka (Malaysia)
12. Justice for Sisters (Malaysia)
13. Human Rights education institute of Burma (Burma)
14. PLU-satu hati (Indonesia)
15. ICS (Vietnam)
16. AngLadlad (Philipina)
17. Kipas Makasar (Indonesia)
18. Perempuan Mahardhika (Indonesia)
19. Galaya Club (Thailand)
20. SOGI Foundation (Thailand)
21. Rainbow community Kampuchea (Cambodia)
22. Galang (Philipine)
23. Oogachaga (Singapore)
24. Her lounge (Indonesia)
25. FKWI (Indonesia)
26. Komunitas sehati Makasar (Indonesia)
27. For SOGI (Thailand)
28. GWL – Ina (Indonesia)
29. Q-munity (Indonesia)


[1] Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam

[2] Go to http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org to read the 29 principles

Source: http://aseancivilsociety.net

[From the web] Message of Southeast Asia Civil Society for ASEAN Summit

Photo by Egay Cabalitan jr.

Civil society from ten Southeast Asia countries has successfully held ASEAN Civil Society (ACSC)/ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) in Jakarta, 3-5 May 2011. More than 1.200 people gathered to formulate feedbacks for the delegations who are about to participate at the summit in Jakarta started on May 7. Principally, the participants of ACSC/APF deliver the following recommendations:

First, the people of ASEAN countries stated that the engagement and dialogue between the people and ASEAN countries are the mechanism in the process of policy making in ASEAN. The engagement and dialogue should be seen as the people’s rights and the government has the duty to fulfill the rights.

Second, Principles of democracy, participation and good governance have been adopted as ASEAN principles. Unfortunately, the implementation is still selective to certain problems. The free trade issue, for instance, was done securely and silently. There is no information access for people to the process making of the free trade agreement.

Third, the interface meeting between civil society and the leaders of ASEAN is the symbol of ASEAN transparency to its citizen. The pattern should be followed by President’s subordinates, such as the ministers, in formulating the policies on ASEAN level.

Fourth, the civil society functioned as damage control of wrong ASEAN policy. It is because the civil society forms as witness from the impact of the policies. Therefore, we remind the message of Boediono, Vice President of Republic of Indonesia, at the opening of ACSC/APF in Jakarta on May 3 2011, that the engagement of civil society in ASEAN will accelerate the integration process of ASEAN and make the process to be easier and contain progressive content.

All the objects of recommendation of the civil society will be delivered at the interface session with the president on May 7 at the location of ASEAN Summit, Jakarta International Convention Center. The representatives of the ASEAN countries will meet and have some dialogues about ASEAN issues.

Jakarta, May 5, 2011
Indah Suksmaningsih
Chairperson of Steering Committee of ACSC/APF

Source: http://aseancivilsociety.net

[In the news] Noynoy should lead opposition to Myanmar’s Asean bid: HRW – Interaksyon.com

Noynoy should lead opposition to Myanmar’s Asean bid: HRW – Interaksyon.com.

InterAksyon.com, Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno S. Aquino III should take the lead in opposing Myanmar’s wish to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014 until the military junta “takes genuine steps toward improving human rights,” Human Rights Watch said Friday.

ASEAN is considering giving military-led Myanmar the chair of the grouping in 2014, despite grave concerns about human rights abuses and sham democracy.

Senior ASEAN officials gathering in Jakarta ahead of a leadership summit at the weekend said Myanmar — also known as Burma — had sought the chair of the 10-nation bloc in 2014, when communist Laos is due to take the job.

ASEAN’s chairmanship rotates alphabetically among its member states. Myanmar relinquished its turn in 2006 due to international pressure for democratic reforms. But the country also wanted assurances that it could ask to lead the group at any time if it felt it was ready, ASEAN officials said.

“Myanmar feels that this is it, this is their chance,” an ASEAN diplomatic source told the Agence France-Presse on the sidelines of the discussions.

Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia, said that the Philippines  was among the few ASEAN countries that did not equate the rigged elections in Myanmar last November with genuine democratic reforms.  “President Benigno Aquino III should spearhead an ASEAN strategy for bringing about real human rights improvements in Burma,” Pearson said.

Aquino, the son of Filipino democracy icons Corazon and Ninoy, has in the past called for the release of political prisoners in Myanmar.

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com

[In the news]Set up ‘social-protection fund,’ ASEAN members urged – Interaksyon.com

Set up ‘social-protection fund,’ ASEAN members urged – Interaksyon.com.


JAKARTA – Civil society groups and various nongovernmental organizations will ask heads of state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to set up a “social-protection fund” for the region.

Il Cheong Yi Il, research coordinator of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, said member-countries of ASEAN ideally should contribute at least two percent of their gross domestic product annually to cover various social-protection programs.

“This is protection based not on charity but on human rights as stated in the respective constitutions of the ASEAN member-states,” Il said in an interview after the conclusion of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum here on Friday.

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com

[In the news] Solutions to migrant worker problems expected from ASEAN Summit – ANTARAnews

(ANTARA/Yudhi Mahatma)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – An activist hoped the 18th ASEAN Summit here this week would also address migrant workers` problems.

Wahyu Susilo from Migrant Care as one of the workshop participants of ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ASEAN People Forum said here on Wednesday the issue must become an important agenda at the summit.

“The issue must not be discussed at a ministerial level but also at the ASEAN summit,” he said here on Wednesday when asked about the issue after the workshop.

Wahyu said migrant workers are an important issue requiring an immediate handling. So far, he said, the existing policy is normative and discussions at ASEAN levels have never progressed.

“Meanwhile violence that often happens on migrant workers is increasing and it is not overcome. Now is the right time for Indonesia as chair of ASEAN to make the issue become an important agenda,” he said.

Wahyu said the ASEAN summit could not be declared successful if it produced no police or commitment to migrant workers` protection.

“At least there is commitment to ratifying the US convention on migrant workers,” he said.

The workshop organized by ACSC/APF among others raised the theme of migrant workers.

In the workship participants from ASEAN member countries exchanged views and experiences regarding conditions of migrant workers in their respective countries.

They were of the view that migrant workers are not a commodity and must be given protection.

On a separate occasion manpower minister Muhaimin Iskandar said Southeast Asia as a sending and recipient region is committed to migrant workers` protection.

He said the ASEAN summit would issue a recommendation consisting of three points namely security for workers during migration, security and protection during working and social security or insurance for workers.

Muhaimin said the recommendation still had yet to be discussed at a ministerial level of the ASEAN ministries concerned and is on a stage of completion.

[Video] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addresses civil society and people’s movements at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia – BurmaPartnership

Video of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during ACSC/APF. Photo by Egay Cabalitan Jr

Uploaded @ Youtube by BurmaPartnership

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addresses civil society and people’s movements at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Nobel Laureate and Burma democracy leader calls on Indonesia, and ASEAN to help Burma in their struggle for democracy and a stronger civil society.

“Governments are important, but only so far as they work for the people. So, let us look forward to the day when it is the peoples of ASEAN who decide what shape our region is going to take”

[In the news] ACSC/APF screens Suu Kyi`s video message – www.antaranews.com


ACSC/APF screens Suu Kyi`s video message. Photo by Egay Cabalitan Jr.

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The 6th ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People`s Forum 2011 screened a video message of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the opening by Vice President Boediono here Tuesday.

In the five-minute message, Suu Kyi talked about ASEAN and democracy.

She said Myanmar was part of ASEAN and the Myanmar people wanted to work more closely with the peoples of other ASEAN member countries.

“ASEAN is very important for our future, and we hope that we will also be very important for ASEAN,” she said.

She reaffirmed her commitment to promote democracy in her country for the sake of achieving a better life for the people.

Suu Kyi said she was impressed by the political transition in Indonesia which had managed to change the previous authoritarian regime into a democratic government.

“We also want the best for our region, and the best for the world,” she said.

Read full article @ http://www.antaranews.com (link above)

[In the news] Boediono Urges Greater Role for People in Asean – www.thejakartaglobe.com


by Arientha Primanita

ASEAN Peoples Forum- Jakarta photo by Egay Cabalitan Jr

The public must be encouraged to play a greater role in shaping the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations if the bloc is to shed its image as a staid state-centric organization, the government said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of the Asean Civil Society Conference and Asean Peoples’ Forum 2011, Vice President Boediono said Indonesia would seek to promote a bigger role for businesses, academics, media, nongovernmental organizations and other civil society groups in the regional body’s activities.

Indonesian Vice President Boediono. File photo source allvoices.com

“To move forward, Asean must engage the people,” he said. “The Asean Charter clearly directs Asean governments to establish meaningful relations with their people.”

Boediono said Indonesia, as chair of Asean this year, would facilitate discussions between representatives from civil society and Asean leaders.

“I hope the Asean civil forum can make use of this opportunity to carry out a meaningful dialogue with Asean governments, a dialogue that leads to better mutual understanding and concrete cooperative actions that benefit the people directly,” he said.

Read ful article @ http://www.thejakartaglobe.com (Link above)

[In the news] Aquino to attend ASEAN summit in Indonesia | Home Other Sections Breaking News

(UPDATE) Aquino to attend ASEAN summit in Indonesia | Home Other Sections Breaking News.

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) – President Benigno S. Aquino III will attend the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said today.

Read full article @ Philstar.com (Link above)

[Statement] “Walk the Talk”: Housing Rights Activists Call on ASEAN to Match Pro-People Claims with Human Rights Actions

The Centre on Housing Rights  and Evictions (COHRE)Asia  and  housing rights activists in the region call on the Association of  Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),  to match its avowed goals of building  a people-centered and “sharing and caring” regional community with concrete actions that will seriously address the persistent housing and human rights issues, as well as the growing  social and economic justice concerns in the region.

Ït is now time for the ASEAN to move beyond mere aspirational goals and best-endeavor language into concrete policies, strategies and action plans that address   the stubborn housing and human rights challenges in the region. Failing to do this, will render ASEAN’s lofty aims, empty and meaningless for the vast majority of the region’s poor who are on the receiving end of the costs and burdens of  ASEAN’s regional integration.

Housing and human rights violations and insecurity in Southeast Asia

Tens of millions of people in Southeast Asia, endure various levels of housing rights violations and insecurity of abode and tenure. They are mostly the poor and the vulnerable, in both the cities and the countryside and include women, children and the elderly, who often bear the disproportionate cost and the brunt of sufferings.

Housing rights violations in Southeast Asia often occur as a result of a combination of governments’ economic and development policies, widespread poverty, marginalization and exclusion of the majority of the region’s impoverished, and their  lack of access to effective remedies.  Massive displacements also take place  in situations of armed conflicts such as in Burma as people are driven away from their homes and lands. These violations  are compounded by the prevailing climate of impunity and perception of widespread corruption in the region

The construction of mega-projects and resource extraction activities including those funded or bankrolled by the IMF-World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and transnational corporations dispossess vulnerable people of their lands and homes and drive them away from sources of subsistence.

Housing and human rights violations continue to seriously challenge ASEAN’s  goal of establishing a “sharing and caring” regional community  where human rights and  social justice  should prevail and  the costs and benefits of regional integration are equitably shared by all. ASEAN and the SEA community should seriously address and secure housing and human rights for all and make them truly work, particularly for  those who have the least in these entitlements.

ASEAN:”Walking the talk”

ÄSEAN should ensure that human rights and social justice should be the cornerstone of its policies and programs, and a pillar of the entire ASEAN system. This entails the review and possibly the reversal of policies and programs that harm the people, the crafting of policies and programs with genuine people’s  participation , and a reframing of development and economic policies that put ASEAN people’s interests before profits and the people’s welfare and well-being over the demands of  markets..

COHRE recognizes that the main tasks of ensuring that  human rights and social justice occupy the centrality of ASEAN’s people-centered agenda, polices and programs  currently reside with the regional body’s newly-established ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on Women and Children (ACWC).

The AICHR and ACWC should ensure  its human rights functions are both protection and promotion. They should address a broad range of human rights, including economic social and cultural rights. They should ensure  and institutionalize effective  participation of  the CSOs and the human rights claimants in their respective functions and activities. They should help ensure the ASEAN governments’ adherence to their international human rights commitments and compliance with their respective human rights treaty obligations. They should develop effective standards and mechanisms to ensure that non-state actors  such  as corporations and multi-lateral agencies, respect the human rights of  peoples in the region and provide restitution, compensation and similar redress for individuals and communities harmed by their activities

Towards a People-Centered ASEAN for a Just Global Community

To help ensure that housing and human rights is placed on the agenda of the ASEAN civil society in its engagement with ASEAN, COHRE-Asia  is actively participating in the forthcoming 11th ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) /ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2011, from May 3-5, 2011 in Jakarta Indonesia. The ACSC/APF 2011 has for its theme, “Claiming a People-Centered ASEAN for a Just Global Community”.

COHRE-Asia  will organize a workshop on “Securing Housing and Human Rights and Economic Justice for Southeast Asia: A Major Challenge to the ASEAN”on  May 4, where various housing rights activists from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia will share the housing and human rights situation on the ground in order to develop a better understanding of the Housing, land and property rights (HLPR) issues in their various context and dimensions, and as a common human rights challenge in the region. The role of non-state actors and their impacts on housing and human rights, focusing on the WB projects, will also be critically examined. The workshop also aims to formulate a set of recommendations and call to action addressed to the ASEAN, the governments in the region and other duty-bearers. The workshop is being co-organized by COHRE, Human Rights Education-Institute Burma, ADHOC-Cambodia, YLBHI-Indonesia, Dignity International and the Bank Information Center (BIC).

COHRE-Asia  will also convene a meeting of a core group of housing and human rights advocates in the region to explore the establishment of a housing and human rights network  that will amplify, assert and help realize housing and human rights for all in Southeast Asia. The core group meeting will be participated in by COHRE’s national housing rights partner-organizations and interested housing and human rights advocates.

For further details, please contact: Sammy Gamboa, Sammy@cohre.org , Tel. 0821.22.852773

Jakarta, Indonesia
May1, 2011