5th ASEAN People’s Assembly: Voices of people need to be heard in a regular and institutional manner
30 January 2007 6:00 pm
The voices of the people in ASEAN countries need to be heard by their leaders, and this needs to be done in a regular and institutionalised manner. This was the message in a report to ASEAN heads of states on 13 January, submitted by Dr Carolina Hernandez from the Institute of Strategic and Development Studies, after the conclusion of the 5th ASEAN People’s Assembly (APA) in Manila last December.
The voices of the people in ASEAN countries need to be heard by their leaders, and this needs to be done in a regular and institutionalised manner. This was the message in a report to ASEAN
heads of states on 13 January, submitted by Dr Carolina Hernandez from the Institute of Strategic and Development Studies, after the conclusion of the 5th ASEAN People’s Assembly (APA) in Manila last December.
The report also stressed that the participants of the APA “affirmed the centrality of the peoples of ASEAN” and called for “ASEAN as a people-centered organization”.
FORUM-ASIA, its members and partners participated in this meeting from 8-10 December 2006 in the Philippine capital. The event drew more than 300 people together, comprising those from sectors termed “Track 1”, “Track 2” and “Track 3” – governments, academia and civil society respectively.
The theme of the meeting was “The Role of the People in Building an ASEAN Community of Caring and Sharing Societies”. Issues discussed ranged from peace and social conflict, the media and press freedom, to democratisation, human development and poverty, and others.
During the three-day event, FORUM-ASIA was involved in organising a panel discussion on “Ending the Culture of Impunity in Southeast Asia: Toward Effectiveness Observance of the Rule of Law.” Human rights defenders and actors voiced their concerns on issues of impunity and extra-judicial killings. The topics covered included the deteriorating situation and human rights abuses in Southern Thailand and the Philippines, and cases such as the murder of Indonesian human rights activist Munir Syed Thalib.
The speakers included Suciwati Munir from Solidarity Action Committee for Munir, Indonesia; Rungrawee Chalermsripinyoratl, an independent researcher from Thailand; and Max de Mesa, Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates.
FORUM-ASIA Regional Advocacy programme coordinator Rashid Kang participated as the resource person on “Human Rights Mechanisms in Southeast Asia”. Peace and Human Security programme coordinator Edgardo Legaspi was the presenter in the “Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding, and the Responsibility to Protect” discussion panel.
The APA meetings are organised by the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies. Since 2000 it has been a platform for dialogue between governments, think-tanks and civil society organisations in ASEAN on issues affecting the peoples and communities of Southeast Asia.
- Full Report of the Chairman of the Fifth ASEAN People’s Assembly
- The 5th ASEAN People’s Assembly official website is at http://www.asean-isis-aseanpeoplesassembly.net/