Civil society optimistic despite ASEAN snub
Davao City (30 October) -- Despite the seeming indifference shown by the ASEAN head of governments, civil society in the region remains committed to pro-actively engage with the regional body to realize a people-oriented ASEAN and foster governments-peoples cooperation in creating building blocks for a just, people-centered, caring and sharing ASEAN community.
Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) said engaging with the ASEAN will ensure human security and development of peoples in the region. IID, which is also a regional initiator of GPPAC-Southeast Asia participated in the recent ASEAN People's Forum/ASEAN Civil Society Conference held in Cha-am, Thailand.
Miclat said the APF event was also an opportunity for civil society organizations to level off on issues concerning socio-economic, cultural, political and human security.
Earlier, five civil society representatives were barred from the interface meeting of ASEAN. Some were substituted by representatives coming from state-sponsored groups forcing civil society delegates to walk out.
Miclat pointed out to the need for ASEAN to forge shared norms and create common mechanisms in the political and security fields, as well as in the economic, socio-cultural and human rights aspects. Despite the non participation of government officials, civil society groups were able to establish network among peace keeping centres.
"Political development is an essential process to elevate political and security cooperation to a higher plane. Cooperation in political development will bring to maturity the political elements and institutions in ASEAN, towards which the sense of inter-state solidarity on political systems, culture, history, legal institutions, will be better fostered," Miclat said in his presentation on political and human security during the forum.
"It goes without saying that the participation of ASEAN people, including, civil society organisations (CSOs), think tanks, public meetings, are also essential part of the region's political development and in fact must be heeded and not ignored," he added. (Initiatives for International Dialogue) [top]