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National Workshops on Human Rights and Elections: Indonesia (25-26 June 2014) and Nepal (16-17 July 2014)

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Two national workshops on human rights and elections were organised by FORUM-ASIA in the months of June and July 2014.

The Indonesia National Workshop on Human Rights and Elections, co-organised with the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), and FORUM-ASIA’s member in Indonesia, Imparsial, was held on 25-26 June 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Nepal National Workshop on Human Rights and Elections, organised jointly with FORUM-ASIA’s member in Nepal, the Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), was held on 16-17 July 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

These two national workshops brought together key civil society organisations from the different sectors relating to elections in the two countries – election monitoring groups, human rights advocacy groups, as well as media and corruption watchdogs – with the aim to draw out their respective areas of expertise in assessing the different aspects of elections in the respective countries. Other key actors – the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia and the Elections Commission of Nepal – were also present at the respective workshops.

Key existing and emerging international human rights standards in relation to elections, including two recent reports by the UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression (2014) and on freedoms of peaceful assembly and association (2014) on the topic of elections, were used to assess the situation of human rights in the context of the recently-held legislative elections in Indonesia (April 2014) and Constituent Assembly Elections in Nepal (November 2013) respectively, as well as to formulate recommendations for future elections in both countries.

The two workshops resulted in several immediate outcomes. At the Indonesia workshop, a joint statement was drafted and released ahead of the Presidential Election on 9 July 2014, calling for a peaceful election and respect for democratic and human rights principles by all parties involved. Meanwhile, the Nepal workshop resulted in a list of demands for electoral reforms and compliance with international human rights norms and standards, which will be presented ahead of the upcoming local elections at the end of 2014.

Similar national workshops have also been planned in other Asian countries, including Bangladesh (October 2014) and Burma/Myanmar (early 2015).