European Union and Southeast Asia Civil Society Commingle Weaving Constructive Voicing Space at ‘The 3rd EU-ASEAN Civil Society Forum on Human Rights’

October 10, 2023Cross-Regional Mechanism, Event

European Union and Southeast Asia Civil Society Commingle Weaving Constructive Voicing Space at ‘The 3rd EU-ASEAN Civil Society Forum on Human Rights’

Human Rights Working Group alongside Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), Forum Asia, ASEAN Youth Forum, and the International Federation for Human Rights co-chaired ‘The 3rd EU-ASEAN Civil Society Forum on Human Rights’. The forum was held in Brussels, with the participation of 55 CSOs from both Europe and Southeast Asia. The forum contained three-days activity from 1-3 October 2023. 

Since the European Union (EU) became ASEAN’s Dialogue Partner in 1977, the two regional organisations have maintained a close relationship that is currently governed by the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-EU Strategic Partnership (2023-2027). This partnership involves a series of dialogues, such as the High-Level ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Sustainable Development in 2017, the High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate Change in 2019, and the ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights (PDHR) that started in 2015.

The PDHR is a result of an agreement made by EU and ASEAN Ministers during the 20th EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Brussels on 23 July 2014, aimed at promoting respect for human rights and the rule of law through various initiatives, including the exchange of good practices, information, dialogues, seminars, and capacity building activities.

A forum for CSOs was then provided as a prior process, back-to-back with the PDHR. The forum aims to create a space where CSOs from both regions can share knowledge and experiences, as well as engage in dialogue and collaboration on various human rights topics. Through this platform, CSOs can play an important role in advocating for human rights and promoting accountability among ASEAN and EU stakeholders. As its output, a set of recommendations on various human rights topics were developed by the attending CSOs which then presented to the ASEAN and EU delegations attending the Policy Dialogue.

On This 3rd Forum, The overarching theme is Advancing Human Rights: Creating an Enabling Environment for CSOs at the Regional Level. Additionally, the Forum will focus on the following thematic areas, each of which contributes to advancing human rights and creating an enabling environment for CSOs at the regional level:

  • Human Rights in the Context of Climate Change.
  • Human Rights and the Digital Age.
  • Anti-authoritarianism and Security Sector Reform.

In this forum, representatives from the CSOs shared current concerns on the three thematic areas and its solutions to then be produced as a joint-statement and recommendations. This forum is expected to be able to push forward the policy dialogue’s capacity to  project the recommendations effectively into a joint-framework between the two regions.

Download the statement and recommendations here.


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