Gwangju Forum on the Future of Human Rights in Asia

The Gwangju Forum on the Future of Human Rights in ASIA organized by ADN, FORUM-ASIA, May 18 Foundation
May 14, 2015
ACSC/APF 2015 ADN-FA-SEACA session on Strengthening Democracy in Asia and the Role of the Community of Democracies
May 21, 2015
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Gwangju, South Korea – In partnership with the May 18 Foundation, the Asia Democracy Network and  the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) organized a workshop on “Future of Human Rights in Asia.”








  • Evelyn Balais-Serrano, Executive Director, FORUM-ASIA
  • Anselmo Lee, Co-Convenor, Asia Democracy Network (ADN)

Learning from the past – reflections on the human rights and democracy movement in Asia in the last decades

Presenter (30 minutes):

  • Prof. Vitit Muntharbhorn, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand


Discussants (5 minutes):

  • Amihan Abueva, former Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Commission for the Protection of Women and Children, Executive Director, Child Rights Coalition- Asia
    • Charles Santiago, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
    • Rafendi Djamin,  Indonesia Representative to the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Indonesia

Open floor discussion with all participants




Looking to the future- Identifying emerging challenges andopportunities for the human rights and democracy movement in Asia


Presenters (20 minutes):

  • Prof. Francis Lee, Sungkonghoe University, Korea
  • Prof. Tae-ung Baik, University of Hawaii, USA

Discussants (5 minutes):


  • Poenky Indarti, Imparsial, Indonesia
  • Samson Salamat, Center for Human Rights Education, Pakistan
  • Prof. Kwak Nohyun, Adviser, Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI), Korea
    • Shui Meng Ng, wife of Sombath Somphone, 2015 Gwangju Human Rights Special Awardee, Lao PDR


Open floor discussion with all participants


Synthesis/Closing Remarks             

  • Henri Tiphagne, Chairperson, FORUM-ASIA






























The session one began with Prof. Vitit’s panoramic review on his experiences in democratic change and human rights advocacy in the region of Asia. In his presentation, he highlighted the five core issues such as peace process, sustainable development and environment, democracy, human rights, and humanization of technology as emerging and dire issues to be dealt with. In general, he shed light on the importance of the younger generation’s involvement in effecting change in Asia.

In session two, Prof. Lee argued that the current move of militarization and conflicts in the region of East Asia is affecting the course of democracy. Prof. Baik in his speech gave an insightful explanation to the possibility of regional human rights mechanism in Asia.

In attendance of a group of young activists and students, prominent human rights activists and academics from Asia, the Forum on the Future of Human Rights in Asia discussed the lessons from the past, identified the emerging challenges and shared the experiences. It is evident that the younger generation’s role became so much significant in the next era of defending human rights and promoting democracy in Asia.

Please download the program agenda and concept note: Future of Human Rights in Asia final concept note and program 13 May