6th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum

From 3-5 December, FORUM-ASIA together with its members the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) held the 6th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum in Manila, Philippines. More than 150 human rights defenders from 22 countries across the region gathered to discuss their work as well as share the experiences and challenges they face. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, opened the biennial event, which also included the launch of FORUM-ASIA's  “Asian HRDs Portal”. The digital platform is designed to increase public awareness on the situation of HRDs in Asia. As a concrete output of the Forum, the participants adopted the Manila Declaration II.

7th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights

On 4-5 November, the 7th Regional Consultation on ASEAN and Human Rights was organized by FORUM-ASIA and its member organisation KontraS in Jakarta, Indonesia. Representatives of AICHR and ACWC, civil society organizations from ASEAN countries, international NGOs, and other stakeholders gathered to strengthen the engagement with the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms and discuss the human rights situation in the ASEAN region.
On 6 November, during the 7th Regional Consultation Rights  FORUM-ASIA, in collaboration with the Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy – Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights (SAPA TFAHR), launched the report “Four Years on and Still Treading Water: A Report on the Performance of the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism in 2013. FORUM-ASIA and KontraS also released a press statement urging AICHR and ACWC to protect and redress the victims of human rights violations in the region.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

People's SAARC
Civil society groups and other activists met in Kathmandu on 22-24 November 2014 at the People’s SAARC forum to reaffirm their commitments to justice, peace, security, human rights, and democracy in the region. During the event, four Gwangju Human Rights Laureates issued a statement in solidarity with fellow laureate Irom Sharmila (see below) and expressing the need for ridding South Asia of violence through democratic values and structures, as well as preventing the militarisation of  repeal security acts such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)

Regional Consultation on South Asian Human Rights Mechanism (SAHRM)

On 18 November 2014, participants at the Consultation issued the Dhaka Resolution in which they expressed concern over growing human rights challenges in the South Asian region and reaffirmed the essential role of NHRIs, CSOs and human rights defenders in advocating for, establishing and ensuring effectiveness of a South Asia Human Rights Mechanism.
FORUM-ASIA together with the Asian Democracy Network organised an "Inter-Regional Dialogue on ASEAN and SAARC" to build inter-regional solidarity to advance human rights and democracy in Asia, in particular, South and Southeast Asia. The dialogue concluded with a resolution calling on the Heads of States of South Asia to establish a regional human rights mechanism within SAARC.

India: Mission in support of Irom Sharmila

From 3 to 5 November, FORUM-ASIA and the May 18 Memorial Foundation (South Korea) supported the Manipur-based, Just Peace Foundation in its mission entitled “Asian Solidarity and Manipur People’s Struggle for Democracy”. The mission expressed solidarity with Irom Sharmila Chanu and the people of Manipur who have been fighting to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1958) for the last 14 years, during which Irom has been on hunger strike.

Bangladesh: Presentation Chapter on Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission

On 13 September, the Asian Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) together with FORUM-ASIA member Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) held a press conference to present the national chapter on the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission. This followed the official launch in September of the 2014 annual ANNI Report on the Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia in Delhi  and the launch of the national chapter on the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission.
Cambodia: Call for the Immediate Release and Acquittal of  Imprisoned Land Rights Activists and Venerable Loun Sovath

Malaysia: Halt All Sedition Cases Pending Federal Court Decision

FORUM-ASIA, together with its members the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), expressed their grave concern over the arrest and imprisonment of seven women land rights activists on 11 November.  Three more land rights activists and a monk were arrested the following day. FORUM-ASIA together with fifteen other national and international NGOs also called on the Cambodian authorities to drop all charges against renowned HRD, Venerable Luon Sovath.  The "multi-media monk" is accused of inciting and leading demonstrations against the government.
On 6 November, FORUM-ASIA together with its member Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) reiterated their longstanding call for the Sedition Act to be abolished and joined the calls for a moratorium on the use of the Sedition Act, including arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution.

Jakarta: Workshop on Human Rights and Diplomacy

Bangkok: Conference on Memorialisation as an alternative or complementary Transitional Justice measure

On 8-10 November, FORUM-ASIA organized a workshop on Human Rights and Diplomacy that brought together 20 human rights groups and individuals working in the Asian region to address the need for engagement on Asian states’ diplomacy on human rights, exchange experiences within the region and from other continents in the global South.
From 1-7 November, FORUM-ASIA co-organized with swisspeace and Impunity Watch a regional dialogue on how memorialisation can be used as a complementary or alternative transitional justice process (TJ) and/or as a step towards institutionalised processes of TJ. Over 50 CSOs and victim’s groups from 7 Asian countries participated issuing a joint statement as an outcome of the Exchange.
Upcoming Events
8-17 Nov. S13th Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court / New York, USA
9-11 Dec. 16th Meeting of AICHR / Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

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