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Timor Leste Civil Society Workshop on ASEAN and its Human Rights Mechanism

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On 26-27 October 2015 FORUM-ASIA and the South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA), as the convenors of SAPA Working Group on ASEAN, in collaboration with the Forum ONG Timor Leste (FONGTIL), the HAK Foundation and the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) organised a national workshop to help increase the understanding among civil society organisations (CSOs) and local communities in Timor Leste of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its human rights mechanism.

As a country with a vibrant civil society, Timor Leste’s accession to ASEAN will likely bring new energy and dynamics to the institution. However, to be able to do so, the national consultation process emphasized the importance of preparations from both the Government and CSOs before the country will become the 11th member of ASEAN.

The consultation was attended by Roberto Sarmento de Oliveira Soares, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor Leste, who updated the participants on the state of the preparations by Timor Leste. While Horacio Boa Vidad de Almeida, the Deputy of the Commissioner of the Ombudsman/Human Rights Commission of Timor Leste also participated in the event.

The consultation expressed the hope, on behalf of civil society, that Timor Leste’s membership of the regional institution will strengthen ASEAN’s efforts to promote and protect human rights, while also making the upcoming ASEAN Community more people oriented.