A DIALOGUE was held recently between the Asean Secretary-General, Asean Secretariat, Asean Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPRs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from October 22-24 in Jakarta, based on the theme of a “Human Rights Roadmap”, which was raised by the CSOs for the purpose of providing input for the new Asean Community 2016-2030 blueprint.
The blueprint is to focus mostly on human rights as well as effective and meaningful ways for civil society to engage with the regional bloc. CSO participants came from non-governmental organisations and think-tanks representing member states.
Asean Secretary-General, Le Loung Minh, welcomed the CSO representatives alongside Deputy Secretary General for Community and Corporate Affairs, AKP Mochtan.
The CSOs inputs were in the form of a summary statement regarding the human rights roadmap after 2015 and was presented to officials at the gathering.
The CSOs took note that the Asean Charter and the Post-2015 Asean Community Blueprint are reflections of the bloc’s commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights in the region, however, not all the actions in the blueprints are consistent with the principle of human rights.
Human rights are virtually ignored on provisions related to free trade, labour mobility, traditional security, trafficking in persons and the issue of identity. “All human rights are cross-cutting, inherent, interrelated, indivisible and should concern everyone,” was the message reiterated by the CSO statement.
It is important that the Post-2015 Asean Community Blueprint not only focuses on building an integrated society but also develop a roadmap towards achieving human rights and equality. A roadmap in which people are treated as the rights holders and key actors in the decisions that affect them making the aspiration of Asean to be people-centred a reality.
Brunei CSOs were represented by Vice President 1 of the Brunei Council on Social Welfare, Nur Judy Abdullah, and Head of the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme and International Relations Unit at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ak Kamal Ghadafi Pg Hj Suhaimi.
Brunei’s CSO representatives had the opportunity to meet Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam to Asean, Emaleen Abdul Rahman Teo, during the third Asean Community dialogue between the CSOs and the CPRs.
The Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Human Rights Working Group supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Jakarta organised the dialogue which was based on ‘The Future of Human Rights in Asean Community: Opportunities and Challenges’.