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Press Release ASEAN CSOs call for AICHR to wider spaces for meaningful participation with civil society [Phnom Penh, 20 September 2012] – Taking the momentum of the 10th Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) on September 21-24, 2012 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, representatives of civil society organizations coming from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, gathered together in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (18-19/9) to come up with the submission on the AICHR’s Guideline for Engagement with Civil Society Groups. “We believe that recognizing and engaging civil society is and must be an essential pre-condition for democratically legitimate decision-making process of AICHR”, said Thida Khus, Executive Director of SILAKA Cambodia in Phnom Penh (20/9). “Our submission speaks the volume on civil society’s aspiration for AICHR to guarantee wider spaces that the voices of the people are heard”, added Thida Khus. The Southeast Asian Civil Society Submission to the AICHR Guidelines for Engagement with Civil Society Groups consist of eleven sections; the introduction, principles of engagement, the purpose of the guideline, definition of civil society groups, the conduct of engagement, areas of engagement, criteria of civil society groups, mutual code of conduct, registration of civil society groups with AICHR, termination of registered status with AICHR, and the responsibilities of the registered civil society groups. Yuyun Wahyuningrum, Senior Advisor on ASEAN and Human Rights at Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Indonesia said, “AICHR should realize that their work will be meaningless and irrelevant without the supports and engagement of all sectors, including civil society organizations. Meaningful and constructive participation shall be considered as essential to the human rights framework that promotes good governance, democracy and peace in ASEAN.” “The Guideline should be the venue for AICHR to clarify the relationship and modality of engagement with civil society groups by upholding the principles of accountability, nondiscrimination, transparency, diversity, which is aimed at a common good, and the building of mutual trust”, explained Yuyun further. The Southeast Asian CSOs have sent their Submission to the H.E. Om Yen Tieng, AICHR Chair, on September 20, 2012. The representatives of Southeast Asian civil society organizations who endorsed the submission coming from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. [ ] Contact person: Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Indonesia, Ms. Yuyun Wahyuningrum, e-mail: Wahyuningrum@gmail.com and SILAKA Cambodia, Ms. Thida Khus, e-mail: thida_khus@silaka.org

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