civil society conference urges regional governments to establish
human rights protection mechanisms
Paris, Rangoon, 25 March 2014:
ASEAN leaders must listen to the voices of civil society and
grassroots organizations in the region, FIDH and its member
organization ALTSEAN-Burma said at the conclusion of the 10th
ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (ACSC/APF),
which was held in Rangoon from 21 to 23 March 2014.
“The Burmese people’s massive and enthusiastic
participation in the ACSC/APF after decades of struggle against
brutal oppression marks an important page in the history of
ASEAN. However, much more needs to be done in Burma and in the
rest of ASEAN to address crucial human rights challenges,”
said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “ASEAN
governments must realize that only by listening to the opinions
of their people and civil society can they achieve regional
peace and stability and respect for justice and the rule of
law,” Mr. Lahidji added.
Over 3,000 individuals and delegates from grassroots and civil
society organizations from ASEAN and beyond participated in
the three-day event, the first-ever held in Burma and the largest
since the first ACSC/APF held in Malaysia in 2005.
The ACSC/APF comprised five plenary sessions in which panelists
discussed ASEAN-related issues on globalization and its challenges,
ASEAN integration in 2015, and Burma’s transition. Delegates
participated in 35 thematic workshops that focused on peace,
development, justice and human rights, and democratization.
Each workshop produced a set of recommendations, which formed
the basis for the conference’s draft statement that was
presented to the participants in the final plenary session to
allow delegates to comment and recommend edits before its adoption.
statement called on all ASEAN governments to develop mechanisms
for protection of all human rights, irrespective of race, religion,
ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, occupation,
political ideology, and citizenship.
“ACSC/APF delegates actively discussed a broad
range of issues. However, there were two main issues that resonated
among participants – land confiscation and corruption.
These are critical challenges that regional governments must
urgently address in the lead up to the establishment of the
2015 ASEAN Economic Community,” said Debbie
Stothard, ALTSEAN-Burma Coordinator and FIDH Secretary-General.
“Without comprehensive institutional and legislative
reforms to address these issues, the situation for ordinary
people will be worse than it is now,” she
Debbie Stothard (English) - Tel: +66 81 6861652