Fourth Regional Consultation on the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) 2015

Fourth Regional Consultation on the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum
(ACSC/APF) 2015

Date: 13-14 March 2015
Venue: Level 15, Menara PKNS, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Time: 10.00am

Contents

1.0 Welcome remarks & Introduction by NOC [NOC Co-Chair: Jerald Joseph] …………………………………………………………….. 2
2.0 Session 1: Feedback from Final Statement (open discussion) [Moderator: Jerald Joseph] ………………………………………. 2
3.0 Session 2: Effective Regional Strategies that work for ASEAN Peoples [Moderator: Jerald Joseph] ………………………….. 5
4.0 Session 3: ACSC/APF 2015 Thrust issues for 2015: Speaking to Post 2015 Community Vision [Moderator: Wathshlah Naidu] …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
5.0 Session 4: Updates from ACSC/APF 2015 processes [Moderator: Pen Somony] …………………………………………………… 15
5.1 Committee Updates: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
5.2 Country Updates: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
6.0 Session 5: Engaging Government/ASEAN [Moderator: Jerald Joseph] ………………………………………………………………… 20
7.0 Press Conference (refer Press Release) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
8.0 Session 6: Planning for APF April 21-24 [Moderator: NOC Malaysia – Jerald, Yap, Mae, Rohini] ……………………………. 27
8.1 Programmes Committee updates: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28
8.2 Interface: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 29
8.3 Submission of name for interface: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 31
8.4 FCAA short report – tracking success of ACSC statements with governments – refer Annexe 10 ………………………… 36
9.0 Session 7: Discussing Post APF: Summit 2, APF 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
9.1 ACSC/APF 2016: [Moderator: Jerald] ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
9.2 Post-APF 2015 to Summit 2: [Moderator: Yap] ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 41
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Day 1: 13 March 2015, Friday
1.0 Welcome remarks & Introduction by NOC [NOC Co-Chair: Jerald Joseph]

1. ‘HR and development’ in each country’s language:
Country (language)                     Human Rights                           And                      Development
Philippines (Tagalog)                 karapatang pangtao                                              makabuluhang pagbabago
Cambodia (Khmer)                     sieti munus                                 Ning                    ka arpiwat
Myanmar (Burmese)                  lu a kwint ayay                                                        pwint phyo yay
Myanmar (Rohingya)                insa’an nal hak                                                        torki rasthar
Vietnam (Vietnamese)               quyền con người                                                      phát triển
Thailand (Thai)                           sidhimanussayachon                                            (สิทธิมนุษยชน)karn pattana              (การ พัฒนา)
Indonesia/Malaysia/Brunei

(Indonesian/Malay)                   hak asasi manusia                  dan                         pembangunan
Singapore (Mandarin)               ren quan(人权)                        he(和)                    fa zhan(发展)
Lao (Lao)                                       sidthimanud(ສິດທິມະນຸດ)                                    kanphadthana(ການພັດທະນາ)

 

2.0 Session 1: Feedback from Final Statement (open discussion) [Moderator: Jerald Joseph]

1. The ACSC/APF 2015 Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Statement has been finalised in the last consultation. There are disagreements but the committee has chosen to focus on core issues relevant to the upcoming ASEAN summit. What is important now is that we have a final CSO Statement before the ASEAN summit. It is shocking the governments and the ASEAN secretariat. For first time, ASEAN foreign ministers have officially received our statement two months before ACSC/APF2015. They cannot say they don’t know what we are talking about. We can use this document as a starting point to demand, to push, to advocate. The first section is on regional priorities, followed by recommendations/proposals. We are not just analysing and criticising, we are talking about taking it forward. It is difficult to get 100% agreement. Let’s work with what we have. Use this document for our advocacy. Take and use parts of it to talk to governments, ASEAN Sec Gen, UN officials etc. Tell them this is what ASEAN people are thinking and feeling; talk about how to take the response forward. The Statement is out. Please share it.

2. Activity: Pick one recommendation from the CSO Statement under ‘Overarching Recommendations’ or ‘Recommendations Specific to the Continuing Regional Priorities’ that you are working on as an activist/CSO person, an issue you want to follow up with an ASEAN representative if you meet them.

3. Challenges often stated on addressing HR issues in ASEAN include the need for consensus, non-interference, particularity of HR, national interest etc. An Indonesian official personally shared that the Indonesian President will not speak about things that are not of interest to Indonesia. There are a host of issues in ASEAN. Those challenges should not stop us from talking because we think ASEAN should be a different kind of ASEAN. The Malaysian PM proposed 8 priorities this year. As Chairman of ASEAN, in his first speech, he used the language of ‘People-Centred ASEAN’. We are asking what that means, we are asking for a people-centred ASEAN, despite governments being uncomfortable with HR. We can ask the Malaysian government as Chair to work on its hope and vision to have a people-centred ASEAN by end of 2015.

4. Saifuddin (GMM): To what extent have we disseminated this statement besides to governments? I have written about it in my columns in 3 newspapers. We should strategize and send it to think tanks to help us push the agenda forward.
a. Jerald: Malaysia has sent it to government officials, UN Malaysia and the ASEAN secretariat. Next week, we will meet ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Mohd Munir bin Abdul Majib.

5. Nguy Thi Khanh (Green Innovation and Development Centre, GreenID): Comments were collected from different networks in Vietnam. Key points are:
a. The Statement was released before ACSC/APF 2015. How can comments from thematic workshop be conveyed to ASEAN leaders? Participants cannot raise concerns for this statement. How will their points be shared?
b. From experience in development work, when we want to have effective reflections, we should be fair between positive and disciplinary points. Now there is too much focus on the inadequacy of ASEAN. It seems like we don’t recognise the achievements in ASEAN.
c. Some points mentioned Montagnards and Khmer Krom, obviously referring to Vietnam. This violates the rule of no naming and shaming.
d. We see children as our future. This statement does not to relate to child rights. There needs to be stronger recommendations regarding the promotion and protection of child rights in the Statement.
e. The Statement should recommend strengthening and promoting solidarity in ASEAN.

6. Dr Maydom (Well Being Development Foundation): We translated the Statement in Lao, and used it as a working document in our CSOs meeting from 10-11 March 2015. We expected our people to accept and agree with the statement but they expressed their hurt and concern that we didn’t include them. Many recommendations are in violation of HR, in violation of ASEAN and UN Charter, like the focus on the case of Sombath Somphone, indigenous peoples and lesbian issue. Main issues that Lao CSO request to reconsider to delete:
a. ‘Multi-party and pluralistic system’.
b. The name of the individual Sombath Somphone. Only a few people in Lao know him. We didn’t know everyone knows him. He is a simple worker for development in the south part of our country. He established an association but it is not yet registered, kind of illegal. We do recognise his work because normally without him, his association should be stopped. But they are still working in the south.
c. LGBTIQ issue.
I take this opportunity to announce that the Lao PDR government agrees to our proposal to host ACSC/APF 2016 so we have to learn from all of you how to manage.

7. Leong Sze Huan (Maruah): We welcome the change to prepare the Statement before ACSC/APF 2015. In the past, we waste too much time getting consensus. We are happy with the focus on development justice, which is relevant to Singapore. Gini coefficient in Singapore is one of the worst in the world, with highest pension contribution but most expensive public housing and healthcare in ASEAN. The government don’t spend on housing, healthcare and pension at all. We are denied basic information and communication. Last year, a blogger sued by the government was found guilty without going for trial. 6 bloggers are charged in court for a protest held in Speaker’s Corner. 3 bloggers are arrested and investigated for sedition. This Statement is current and relevant to issues.

8. Denison Jayasooria (Proham): There are 3 very significant trends shown in the reading of the document – a strong participatory process across ASEAN, comprehensiveness in issues highlighted, and strong HR framework in language and analysis. One thing that has not emerged despite a critique on liberal economy and market economy is, what are the models rising from the ground that is counter to markets? What we see in Indonesia and Philippines – informal economic grassroots movement, fair trade cooperative, and women’s groups – is positive development and the people’s ASEAN. How coffee and paddy planters across villages have access to credit, alternative development models etc. The Statement doesn’t take on the comprehensive nature of Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) and critique them towards sustainable development goals. There’s a link in the Statement to poverty, inequality and development, but there is a need to pitch in more. Maybe can add 4.1.9 or a footnote toward retributive development justice. Recognise that women, farmers, urban poor groups etc. are in alternate economies that are challenging multinational corporations, state and
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capital. We must grow the economy in a just and sustainable way. This can take ASEAN to new heights in economic planning. If it’s still open, may we add a line or two? If not, then in the next document.
a. Jerald: We’ll keep this for the next document. This document is not perfect and comprehensive. It keeps growing. We’ll take up comments in workshops, thematic discussions, advocacy etc. This is not a dead document.

9. Bui Ba Binh (Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation): In the push for ‘multi- party system’, is it efficient? In our history, our unique party led Vietnamese through resistance and lead us to implement goals, from the Vietnamese Workers Party to Vietnamese Communist Party in 1975. Some CSOs worry about this point in the final Statement. They think democracy and good governance, with power to people, will ensure that the will of the people is expressed. It is not depending on whether multi- or single-party system. Some Vietnamese CSOs are concerned and asked me to share their objections.

10. Ian (BPSOS Thailand): I’m happy that people supported retaining Montagnards in the Statement. Montagnards are fleeing from Vietnam and deported. Last week, 36 Montagnards were caught in Cambodia and deported back to Vietnam, and 4 went missing. The strength of ACSC/APF is our focus on cross border issues.

11. Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani (Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya HR Organisation Malaysia, MERHROM): We have UDHR that guides us in how to live in this world. UDHR states our rights but in our case no rights belong to us. It is shameful that what we see in paper, we can’t embrace in our lives. Our rights have been taken away by the government. I hope ASEAN communities don’t allow us to suffer because of religion and ethnicity. Our problem is your problem. Please share. Thank you for understanding our problems in Myammar. There is no democracy and HR is still violated. Students are beaten by the Myanmar government. I am Rohingya but from Burma state. I am happy the Statement includes our problems.

12. Debbie Stothard (Altsean Burma, FIDH): This is a radically different approach concerning the timing of the Statement. During drafting, there were various versions circulated through email. Some have no time to input. The Drafting Committee is now free; we need to be aware of opportunities to generate statements on topics, updates on issues, from now until April. Secretariat must keep website current and updated. Media committee keep the momentum going. Please don’t hesitate to call on Drafting Committee to polish any language. Send any sub-statements to Media Committee to publish. I’d like to remind all that this is ASEAN Civil Society Conference and ASEAN People’s Forum. Not ASEAN Government Conference or ASEAN GONGO (government-organised NGO) Conference. As people of ASEAN, we have the responsibility to say things that governments don’t dare to say. This is how we push for change in ASEAN. Fundamental to this is our capacity to name and shame. I wish to support Vietnam’s proposal that there is not enough focus on children. We should take up the challenge to create a statement to name and shame every country based on bad records on children’s rights. ASEAN is killing our own children through neglect and oppression. Thousands of children are stateless without basic rights.

13. Jerald (moderator): Closing statements: This is an open civil society (CS) space. There was no decision that we cannot name and shame. Governments are uncomfortable with us because we have the ability to tell them that they have not done this and that. The Malaysian government supports the Rohingya issue but have no power to bring it up openly in ASEAN context because of consensus and territorial integrity. They are happy that CSO bring it up. We must use this space to talk about cross border issues. If it concerns human dignity being trampled, lives under threat, violation of HR, we must state it. Comments are noted but as we said in the 3rd regional consultation, this statement is final. We agreed we can’t take everything, this is a negotiated document, and we are where we are now. But don’t stop putting up issues via media and the website.

14. During the first regional consultation, we decided to be open and direct with the government and give ample time. Previously the governments received the statement and kept it, there was little tracking on the requests.
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Now we use a different strategy. Governments can’t say they have no time to comment. They have officers looking at our Statement now. If the interface happens, or if we meet ministers, we can ask what their opinions are on the recommendations on the rights of child. Be as specific as possible.

15. There are different interpretations on issues in the Statement. We are guided by consensus on minimum international norms. Some of the issues on democratic elections mention multi-party system not to attack any country. It is aspirational and we want it to meet minimum standards. Malaysia is not democratic. The same party is in power since independence and we are unable to change the government through free and fair elections. We’re not saying our country is perfect.

16. About LGBTIQ issues, we all have different understanding and different orientation. We cannot stop communities from naming their issues and putting it on the ground. We might not be an advocate of an issue, but if the community says it’s their issue, we must listen. The Statement is a self-identified list of issues to put out, we are not saying which issue is important or not. We note the comments and feedback here, but the Statement is final. Try to use it as an advocacy tool.

Source by: aseanpeople.org

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