With reference to the update on ASEAN human rights body that we sent out last June 25, here are the developments:
a. The requested meeting with H.E. Kasit did not push through yesterday as was only returning from his China trip; we are waiting for a new date from his office which is possible before the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM)
b. The 13th HLP meeting in June is apparently not the last, as we have reported. Forum Asia got hold of the ASEAN calendar for June-December 2009 and there are 4 more meetings scheduled from July to September.
Please find attached two important documents: the agenda of the 42nd AMM to be held in Phuket, Thailand and the aforementioned ASEAN calendar. Briefly, here are some of the dates we need to watch out for and strategize on:
1. before July 17 – 23, inclusive dates for the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
*Urgent that we meet with ASEAN chair but we’re still waiting for a date. In the meantime, let us reach out to the Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN countries with our position on the present TOR. Please forward petition or give organizational statement (attachments during the last update) to them. Forum Asia is compiling the list of email addresses we can send our petitions and statements to, but don’t wait if you already have the information. Please also share your foreign ministers’ contact details to the network.
2. July 19 – ASEAN Foreign Ministers meet with the High Level Panel (HLP) tasked to draft the Terms of Reference (TOR) for an ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB)
*There is also a scheduled meeting of the ASEAN Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. An interface meeting with the Foreign Ministers? It is important that we make our presence felt and our message clear during this meeting.
3. July 21 – second meeting of the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC)
*As one of the 3 Pillars of the ASEAN community, and especially if they proceed with the establishment of a human rights mechanism in ASEAN, we should follow developments of the APSC as well as the ASEAN Coordinating Council. This Council is the body to whom Country Permanent Representatives report to and provide recommendations.
4. July 23 – ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
*The ARF, established in 1994, has become a consultative Asia-Pacific Forum for promoting open dialogue on political and security cooperation in the region. In this context, ASEAN works with its ARF partners to bring about a more predictable and constructive pattern of relations in the Asia Pacific. With the recent developments on AHRB, this body will become more significant.
5. Next HLP meetings (July 18 in Phuket, July 20 in Bangkok, August 12-14 in Manila and September 9-11 in Singapore)
*As far as we knew, the HLP’s mandate is only up to July 2009 (July 2008 press statement). But with official meetings up to September, it seems that mandate has been extended, perhaps until the appointment of commissioners for the AHRB has been finalized? We need to continue to engage the HLP but we need more info on the proposed meetings and more ideas on how to engage. We welcome your suggestions.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE however that there is no mention on developments or action on the drafting of the TOR for an ASEAN Committee on Women and Children, or on the establishment of the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers. If you have information on these 2 processes, please share to this list.
Just last night we got the latest update from Forum Asia and it seems the ASEAN governments are already upset with the results of our campaign (petition, letter-barrage and media). At this point, we are asked to intensify media efforts and bombard the HLP members with statements from the different sectors that will be most affected by the lack of a protection mandate. In this regard, we are requesting
Op-ed articles in media. 600-800 words on migrant workers’ concern and how important it is to have protection mandates spelled out and elaborated in the TOR as well as with the appointment of independent experts. Send to media in your country. Get your board members or get someone famous and has a good records on human rights to sign on the article. And please send us a copy.
Please also update us from your end, or give feedback on action points suggested in these updates. We would especially appreciate hearing from our members in the ASEAN on your/country efforts to forward our agenda for a human rights mechanism that is at par with international standards and that can really be an instrument of protection for the peoples of ASEAN.
Courage, Peace and Powe in a life full of meaning.