[Update] The Future of Human Rights and Democracy in Asia II, Bangkok-Thailand

(Bangkok, Thailand) – Leading democracy advocates and human rights defenders gathered in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss the trends and challenges to human rights and democracy to develop a future agenda and action plan in Asia.

Co-organized by the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), the second regional consultation on the Future of Human Rights and Democracy in Asia was held on July 27, 2015 at the Holiday Inn-Silom in Bangkok, Thailand. The first of the series, held in Gwangju, Korea during the Gwangju Asia Forum focused on the reflection of the past in the human rights and democracy movement (click here to read the proceedings of the 1st workshop in Gwangju). The workshop mainly explored the main challenges and its learned lessons that civil society meets when it comes to the human rights and democracy movement.

Attended by approximately 30 participants mostly from the civil society organizations based in Bangkok, the one day workshop was composed of the four different sessions drawing the reflections from the past, sharing the learned lessons, discussing the future agenda and further addressing the role of civil society in the coming days.

As a highlight of the session, the participants were asked to take part in interactive activities that helped them identify the lessons learnt as well as the ongoing key issues and challenges. With a priority list of issues, challenges, and opportunities, the discussion on how to strengthen the role of civil society across the region and to specify the strategies. Issues vary from business and human rights to environmental justice to migration to conflict escalation and to impunity.

As a glimpse of the conclusions that were drawn from the exercise, the following were highlighted:

- Incorporation of international law to national law

- Proactive engagement of civil society with the government and different multi-stakeholders

- Mainstreaming of international human rights norms to the local level

- Strengthening of solidarity through networks and coalitions

The meeting was fruitful as it allowed the Asia Democracy Network to gauge the current state of human rights and democracy and reflect on the role of the ADN in answering to these challenges. It provided an opportunity for ADN to start conceptualizing our strategy in the region and what we can do for the progress of democracy in Asia.

The 3rd workshop will be held on August 25 as part of the Regional Workshop of the Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) “NHRIs Today: On the Fence, At a Crossroads?” on 25-26 August 2015 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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Asia Democracy Network (ADN) is a civil society led multi-stakeholders’ platform among democracy advocates and human rights defenders dedicated to the strengthening of democracy and human rights. ADN is a collaborative effort among CSOs engaged in democracy, human rights and development at the different levels of global, regional, national and local to enhance the synergetic effects of the joint advocacy of CSOs in the Asia region. ADN was founded in Seoul, Korea in Oct. 2013.