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VP: ASEAN Governments Need to Involve Civil Society in ASEAN Integration

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Vice President of Indonesia, Boediono, Tuesday (3 May) stated that governments of the ASEAN countries need ASEAN civil society groups as a connective “tongue of the people” to go to a solid integration of ASEAN in the political, economic and social culture.

“To achieve it (ASEAN integration), ought we to continue to interact regularly with the people, and this is where the important role of civil society groups because they are actually able to do it faster and cheaper,” said Boediono

This statement was delivered at the opening of the 7th annual meeting of the ASEAN People’s Forum/ASEAN Civil Society Conference (APF/ACSC) in Jakarta. The meeting of civil society groups of Southeast Asia will be held from 3 to 5 May 2011.

The result of joint decisions in the last days will be filled by 10 civil society representatives from 10 ASEAN countries in the Interface session meeting with the presidents/prime ministers of ASEAN in the 18th ASEAN Summit on 7 May. Boediono added that the opening of APF/ASCS is also presented key note message from the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyii.

UN Ambassador for MDGs in Indonesia Erna Witoelar at the same event stated civil society groups could be a “rescue” for the poor people of ASEAN for their rights can still be protected in the current era of economic globalization. “Economic rights are human rights too, and every economic and trade agreements should consider human rights to obtain adequate food, shelter, education and clean water,” said Erna.

Boediono promised in this period time of leadership, Indonesia tried to reach civil society dialogue mechanism with ASEAN leaders, for the people’s voice can be heard by the leaders of ASEAN.

ACSC/APF is the annual meeting of the ASEAN civil society, held every year before the ASEAN summit. Starting a similar forum in 2005 in Malaysia, then in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and in 2011 was held in Indonesia. (ACSC)/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) was attended by about 1200 delegates from Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Singapore. On May 4, 2011, the forum will discuss the profound issues of economic, defense and security, human rights, gender, child rights, environment and trade.
** For further information please contact Mida Saragih (ms.mida.saragih, 081 322 306 673) or Indah Sukmaningsih ( [email protected], 0811 950 925)