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ACSC/APF IN MYANMAR 21-23 MARCH 2014 The ASEAN Charter encourages all sectors of society to participate in and benefit from the process of ASEAN integration and community building. This Cambodia CSO Joint Statement, and the associated Cambodia CSO Joint Submission, were prepared by the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group on ASEAN (CCWA). The CCWA has been working since April 2013 to organize Cambodian participation in the 2014 ACSC/APF. The CCWA included more than 180 participants from nearly 80 Cambodian sectorial organizations and networks, and from 12 provinces and Phnom Penh, including national and international NGOs, coalitions, associations, youth, child-led and community groups, and whose work represents a full range of issues, initiatives and concerns. This broad based participation yielded a document covering many issues important to Cambodia and ASEAN. The work culminated in a National Consultation Workshop in Phnom Penh on 14 March 2014. The Workshop breakout groups advised the CCWA as to the priority of issues and recommendations. The most important issues and recommendations are the basis for this Joint Statement. A longer and more detailed document, Cambodia CSO Joint Submission, is also available under separate cover. In presenting this Cambodia CSO Joint Statement we call upon the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People Forum, held in March of 2014 in Myanmar, the Royal Government of Cambodia, ASEAN Leaders, and all other relevant authorities and bodies to consider and take action on the prioritized issues and recommendations based on our best and most heartfelt judgment.

Main Issues: Across ASEAN, women are victims of gender-based violence, sexual and labor exploitation, and unfair compensation. In addressing these and other issues, women face further discrimination when they seek remedies or justice. Furthermore, a significant gap exists in the roles and opportunities of men and women in decisionmaking and political leadership. A protected mechanism is needed that allows a child to convey information about grave or systematic violations of their rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as provided by UNCRC Optional Protocol 3. This allows children to address the UN if their rights are not protected in their country and they have exhausted domestic remedies available to seek justice. Unfortunately in ASEAN, only Thailand has ratified this protocol. In addition, national budgets and expenditures of ASEAN member states do not reflect sufficient commitment to the rights, needs and protection of children. Teacher compensation and teacher training are insufficient to support a quality education that empowers youth in all ASEAN Member States. Teachers are not always well prepared to teach professionally and effectively across a broad range of subjects and they often lack the necessary facilities and resources to support their 1

work. Inadequately educated, youth often experience frustration in the limits of their power to participate in decision-making. Land Concessions made for economic development lead to forced eviction, land grabbing, poverty, violation of land and housing rights, and infringement on human rights. Economic Land Concessions are particularly problematic when they encroach on Community Forestry and Community Protected Areas. Corruption, inconsistent compliance and enforcement of land registration and forestry laws, especially those regarding logging, put forests and communities at risk. Late or poorly conducted environmental impact assessments negatively affect agricultural production. Conflicts exist between forestry, natural resources and communal conservation projects, and large-scale development projects, such as hydro-power dams and mining operations. The livelihoods, traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples are put at risk by such conflicts, as well as issues related to land ownership. Extractive industries do not routinely engage in participatory practices that include an open sharing of information. Governments are neither forthright regarding proposed laws nor do they involve CSOs in a consultative role. The absence of Access to Information laws frustrates efforts to obtain information and promote transparency. Laws that threaten the independence and viability of NGOs, or that are meant to substantially restrict or limit the scope of their work, or that utilize onerous provisions as a means to suppress the existence or influence of NGOs, are a source of great concern. Even in ASEAN Member States where such laws are neither in place nor proposed, concerns exist that restrictive laws in other countries may be considered for implementation elsewhere. Wages are not set or guided by a minimum wage policy. This creates a situation of low wages that do not assure a living wage. ILOC183 and ILOC189 are not uniformly ratified or implemented across ASEAN. Social exclusion on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation is complex and often not understood or acknowledged by authorities. Discrimination, exclusion and stigma have major impacts on lives of those who are LGBT. There are many related, cross-cutting issues deserving of consideration and advocacy. Climate change is a cross-cutting issue that affects people throughout ASEAN. This is largely true because of the number of people involved in livelihoods connected to agriculture and who are dependent on natural resources. Climate change is often misunderstood and sometimes attributed to non-scientific explanations. ASEAN Member States do not uniformly disclose budget information that supports a transparent process and encourages participation.


Main Recommendations: 1. Implementation of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration must be based on international human rights standards in all ASEAN Member States (AMS). 2. AMS must present annual reports to the ASEAN Commission on Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children regarding their implementation of the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. 3. The ASEAN leadership and Member States should support development and implementation of laws, policies and national plans of action that ensure increased budgetary allocation on sectors that directly benefit children, and to ensure social services for children, especially education, health and child protection. 4. Cambodia and the ASEAN Member States should strongly consider ratifying the 3rd Optional Protocol on Communication Procedure of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. 5. The ASEAN community should empower its youth by investing in education, ensuring adequate teacher salaries, committing to ongoing improvement of school facilities and to continuing teacher education. 6. Youth in the ASEAN states should be included in creating laws of assembly, and must, themselves, be protected in their rights to express themselves freely. National and regional youth forums on social affairs and policies of interest to youth should be developed. 7. The ASEAN leadership and Member States should support canceling illegal Economic Land Concessions (ELC) and provide socially responsible and lawful land concessions to communities. 8. Land conflicts should be resolved and land registration should resume through the existing institutions. 9. ASEAN should support reforestation in all its Member States. For example: - ASEAN should support The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in creating clear mechanisms to monitor and review ELCs, particularly providing communities with land ownership for the purpose of regenerating their local forests. - ASEAN should support The RGC in strengthening and enforcing laws that protect against illegal logging and forestry crimes and in motivating local communities to manage forests sustainably. 10. In implementing development projects, ASEAN Member States should apply the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent before implementing any infrastructure or development project on the properties of Indigenous Peoples (IP) and ensure that Environmental and Social Impact Assessments are conducted based on existing legal frameworks and international standards. 11. AMS should adopt the Law on Access to Information to enhance the participation of citizens, especially vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous Communities.


12. AMS should revise existing legislation, policy and regulations concerning IP to align with IP concepts on land and territory, as ensured by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. 13. Concerning IP populations living outside the contemporary borders of the states from which they originated, affected governments should collaborate to protect their human rights and safety. 14. AMS should ensure that all legal framework related to mineral resource management is transparent and participatory. Information about oil, gas and mining revenue collection should be regularly and comprehensively disclosed through a reliable international institution. 15. AMS should do all in their power to ensure the freedom of CSO organizations to operate without burdensome restrictions that undermine their work and restrict the scope of their operations. 16. ASEAN should consider the incarceration of the 21 detained Cambodia human rights defenders and garment workers to be a regional concern, as we all strive for the most basic right to free expression. The Cambodian delegation asks the ASEAN leadership and membership to join in demanding their release, assuring full rights to human rights activists in all ASEAN nations. 17. Minimum wage in AMS should be sufficient to ensure a dignified life. 18. AMS should ratify and implement the International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions protecting the rights of workers, especially the ILOC183 on maternity leave protection and ILOC189 on domestic workers. 19. AMS should understand sexual orientation and gender identity to be crosscutting factors that can consciously or unconsciously influence participation, delivery of social services, access to education, work opportunities and access to justice and basic human rights. 20. AMS authorities on all levels—regional, national and local, along with schools and families, need to be better educated with regard to accepting gendervariant children, in treating people of different sexuality and gender identity equally, and in applying policies and programs in a friendly manner. 21. Enhanced coordination between ASEAN countries is necessary for better sharing of data and strategies on climate change so as to increase the region’s adaptability to climate changes, particularly flood and drought. A regional climate center is proposed to enhance capacity building and technology transfer. AMS should forego intellectual property rights on climate change technologies to promote sharing and meet the regional challenge of climate change. 22. AMS must support the sustainability of natural resources on communal, state and regional levels and strengthen community natural resource management. Regional cooperation in research on the relationship between crops and natural resource management should be strengthened, including research on water resources in the Mekong basin. 23. AMS should be accountable to their citizens by publishing proposed national budgets, mid-year reviews and audit reports in a timely, regular fashion. 4

For further information, please contact 

Ms. Thida Khus, Executive Director of Silaka, Tel: (+855) 12 838 464 Email:

Ms. Prok Vanny, Representative of Working Group for Peace (WGP) Tel: (+855) 12 538 201 E-mail:

Mr. Suon Bunsak, Executive Secretary of CHRAC Tel: (+855) 92 344 357 Email:

Ms. Touch Setha, Project Coordinator of the NGO Forum Tel: (+855) 99 515 727 Email:

Mr. Meas Samnang, Secretary-General of NGOCRC Tel: (+855) 12 889 466 Email:

Mr. Nay Vanda, Deputy-Head of Human Rights Section of ADHOC Tel: (+885) 12 599 106 Email:

Mr. Pen Somony, Executive Director of Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS)/

Secretariat of Cambodian Civil Society Working Group on ASEAN (CCWA)

Tel: (+855) 12 708 093


This joint statement is endorsed by the following organizations: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Cambodian Civil Society Working Group on ASEAN (CCWA) Cambodian Labor Confederation (CLC) Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS) CamASEAN Indigenous Community Support Organization (ICSO) Indradevi association (IDA) Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association (KKKHRDA) Peace Institute of Cambodia (PIC) Silaka Star Kampuchea The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) The NGO Coalition for the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC) The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) Youth for Peace (YFP) Youth Resource and Development Programme (YRDP) 3S Rivers Protection Network (3SPN) Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) My Village Organization (MVi) Culture Environment Protection Association (CEPA) One World


22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.


72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77.

WP CCH CMN Reacekeds Bridge Across Border 18 Communities from 9 provinces and city


Final cambodia cso joint statement