Event report – Public Consultation On ASEAN

MARUAH held a Public Consultation on ASEAN on 26th October 2013 at Traders Hotel. The event was attended by 50 participants from different backgrounds including members of civil society organizations, social enterprises and members of the general public. The Public Consultation was an opportunity for participants to become more familiar with ASEAN and its processes, to make a commitment to the development of ASEAN for our own national interests, and to be engaged on human rights discussions for our community and the people in the region.

The Consultation was motivated by the fact that the ASEAN Charter in accordance with Article 50 of the Charter, is to be reviewed 5 years after its entry into force. The review of the Charter is important to the civil society sector that is looking for improvements to this important document. This discussion was also an opportune time to take stock ASEAN’s progress in building up the ASEAN Community by 2015 and to look at dialogue processes between civil society and governments. We thus discussed and reviewed the following documents:

  • Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN 
  • Community Blue Prints on the Roadmap to an ASEAN Community
  • Guidelines On ASEAN’s Relations with Civil Society Organizations

The consultation was run as a full day programme with breakout discussions, presentation and sharing sessions.

Session 1: Understanding ASEAN
This session was run by MARUAH’s President Ms. Braema Mathi and it covered the formation of ASEAN, its operational structure as well trends and developments in ASEAN. The plenary session served as an introduction to ASEAN as it was important to bring everyone up to speed on ASEAN matters given that our participants ranged from people who were well versed in ASEAN matters to those who were broaching the topic for the first time. The presentation also focused on human rights in the ASEAN context and stressed the importance of considering the documents from a rights based perspective when we review them.

Session 2: Overview of Documents Up For Review
This session provided an overview of the documents up for review, namely

  • ASEAN Charter
  • Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN 
  • Community Blue Prints on the Roadmap to an ASEAN Community

The presentations outlined the respective documents and highlighted key problem areas.

Session 3: Breakout Discussions
Participants then went into breakout discussion groups based on the document/s that they were most interested in discussing. The discussion groups were facilitated by MARUAH members and volunteers. All participants had received the documents a week earlier. They were also given hard copies during the workshop.

The facilitators took down the points discussed during the interactive participation that was facilitated.

Session 4: Plenary Session- Sharing Of Points Raised During Breakout Discussions
Following the breakout discussions representatives from the various discussion groups made short presentations on the key points and raised suggestions.

Session 5: Civil Society Organisations and ASEAN Member States
In the final session of the day, Ms. Mathi introduced the group to a document outlining ASEAN’s engagement with civil society groups. The document is intended to introduce a system of accreditation to regulate the groups that cooperate with ASEAN and work on ASEAN matters. There was an interactive discussion on some of the key tenets of the guidelines.

Summary
The position paper based on the Consultation that has been approved by all who came to the Consultation. We have encouraged all the participants to continue their involvement and engagement on ASEAN matters and we hope delve into a deeper analysis on ASEAN in 2014, with this group of people and others.

The final document submitted can be downloaded below.
Consultation on Key Documents of the Association of South East Asian Nations _MARUAH

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