(The Rakyat Post) — The Asean People’s Forum (APF) 2015 annual conference is set to see the participation of thousands of civil society members across Asean who will converge to address the many issues affecting the region.
This year, some of the issues to be discussed include development, human rights and democracy, with civil society groups set to discuss with political leaders the state of these issues today.
Regional priority discussions under these issues would include developmental justice, democratic process, governance, fundamental rights and freedoms, peace and security, as well as discrimination and inequality.
Seen as a monumental year since the first conference was held in Malaysia in 2005, this year’s forum also marks 10 years of engagement between civil society and Asean governments.
However, 10 years on, the civil society in Southeast Asia (SEA) have expressed grave concern that the recommendations submitted to member states since 2005 were neither implemented nor adopted.
“The people of Asean continue to suffer from authoritarian and military regimes, increased militarisation, violence and armed conflicts, unlawful foreign interference, lack of fundamental freedoms and human rights violations, undemocratic processes, corruption and poor governance, development injustice, discrimination, inequality, and religious extremism and intolerance.
“Asean’s restrictive interpretation of the principles of state sovereignty and non-interference hamper the organisation’s effectiveness in addressing regional challenges and the people remain excluded from participating fully in influencing Asean decision-making processes,” said forum representatives.
Hence, the forum hopes to highlight the regional priorities as a way to tackle these issues, while seeking the commitment to see policies and recommendations through.
Also called the Asean Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ Asean People’s Forum (APF), the four-day event will see the attendance and participation of parliamentarians from SEA, including Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and Charles Santiago.
Ministers to be present include Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low.
Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will also be present on the first day of the event and deliver a keynote address.
Key Malaysian civil society representatives include former Malaysian Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasa and Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) president Tan Sri Hasmy Agam.
The forum will be held at Wisma MCA on April 21 till 24.
More information about the ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) Conference in the Press Kit Document Attached Below.