Calling for an Accountability Mechanism for a “Genuine” People-Centered ASEAN in the Post-2015 Vision
Given recent developments posed by the formulation of the ASEAN Post-2015 Vision or the ASEAN Community 2025 Vision, the ASEAN has not shown any indication of wavering from its vision of accelerated economic growth which is found to be market and corporate-driven. The ASEAN Post-2015 Vision prompts the second phase of community building of the ASEAN. The vision however does not have human rights and gender equality as part of its central agenda. This is despite the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Declaration on A People-Oriented, People-Centered ASEAN issued in the 26th ASEAN Summit which took place in Malaysia on 26-27 April 2015. The KL declaration stressed the commitment of the ASEAN to establish a Community “where all people, stakeholders and sectors of society can contribute to and enjoy the benefits from a more integrated and connected Community encompassing enhanced cooperation in the political-security, economic and socio-cultural pillars for sustainable, equitable and inclusive development. To address this, WLB calls for an accountability mechanism in ASEAN and engage the ASEAN Economic Community in concert with social movements and women’s movements across the region and within the country.
WLB was part of a regional initiative to submit the CSO Inputs to the ASEAN Post-2015 Vision (link to file CSOInputsASEANVision2025). ASEAN, tasked a High Level Task Force (HLTF) to develop the ASEAN Post-2015 Vision. WLB took the lead in establishing a regional group called “Weaving Women’s Voices in ASEAN “ or WEAVE which has members who are women’s networks from 6 countries in Southeast Asia namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand. WEAVE, in partnership with Human Rights Working Group (HRWG)-Indonesia conducted national consultations in 8 countries (only Brunei and Singapore from the 10 AMS did not have national consultations; yet were able to submit their inputs online) and a regional consultation to consolidate the different inputs. WLB serves as the Coordinator for WEAVE, and has led in finalizing the document.
National and Regional Consultation for the CSO Inputs to the ASEAN Post-2015 Vision
WLB organized the national consultation in the Philippines last 14-14 May 2015 at La Breza hotel, Quezon City. Forty four participants attended who are from 37 organizations working on various issues and advocacies such as trade, labor, health, social protection, violence against women, among others; and representing different sectors including the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), rural women, migrant workers, etc. The consultation-workshop developed the Philippine inputs majority of which, including the alternative position on the AEC were adopted in the Regional CSO Submission.
The Regional Consultation held last 24-27 May 2015 at Jakarta, Indonesia sought to consolidate the different inputs from the national consultations and other national, regional, and international organizations. It was attended by 34 organizations which include the academe, research institute, parliamentarian group and CSOs working on climate change, labor, migration, women’s rights, children’s rights, youth, rights of persons with disabilities, rights of persons of diverse SOGIE, peace and security, among others. The regional submission (link to file CSOInputsASEANVision2025). was then presented during Diplomatic Briefing with Ambassadors mostly from European countries to the ASEAN, in the Dialogue with the ASEAN Deputy Secretary General (DSG), and Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR).
Submission to the Philippine Representative to the HLTF
WLB first invited the Philippine lead representative to the HLTF for the Post-2015 Vision, Helen Barber De La Vega to share updates of the drafting process in the national consultation. Due to her unavailability, she instead scheduled a meeting with WLB in a later date. During the meeting, WLB shared the highlights of the Philippine inputs and reiterated the call for a wider consultation with CSOs. WLB sought the commitment of the HLTF representative to push for the inclusion of the recommendations until the final draft of the Vision.
Appropriately, the Department of Foreign Affairs organized a CSO Consultation last 3 June 2015. The consultation provided the platform for different CSOs to impart their respective recommendations. WLB on behalf of WEAVE presented the Regional Submission and underlined the pertinent recommendations therein.
The time is now: Accountability Mechanism in ASEAN
WLB, together with WEAVE and other allies and networks, intends to establish a regional database as one form of a CSO-led or independent accountability mechanism in ASEAN. The regional database will be one way of monitoring the impact of the ASEAN on the poor and marginalized sectors. The regional database will compile information on various issues, e.g. violence against women, trafficking, climate change impacts, issues of small producers, indigenous peoples, persons living with HIV (PLHIV), persons with disabilities (PWD), persons of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), among others. This will serve as the basis in demanding state obligation for human rights violations and negative impacts of the regional integration, in light of the implementation of the Post-2015 Vision.
National and regional advocacies, through Dialogues organized by ASEAN or initiated by CSOs will continue to call for the establishment of the accountability mechanism in ASEAN in all three pillars – the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) and across the different sectoral bodies at the regional level through the ASEAN Secretariat, and at the national level in the focal government agencies working on ASEAN. This will be in parallel with the efforts to call for the institutionalization of CSO participation and engagement at all levels of decision-making processes of ASEAN.
Engaging Human Rights Mechanisms such as the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection for the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and ASEAN Committee for the Implementation of the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) will be in the view of taking them to task to account for the promotion and protection of rights in ASEAN. ###
To know more about the accountability mechanism or how to join the networks, Philwomen on ASEAN or WEAVE, please email: email@example.com, or fill-out the inquiry form.
You may also visit and like Philwomen on ASEAN page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Philwomen-on-Asean/102742296493324 or find @PhilwomenASEAN in twitter.