Civil society demands for better acknowledgement from Asean

18 Feb 2015 / 18:11 H.

PETALING JAYA: A regional civil society organisation wants the governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to seriously acknowledge its recommendation, analysis and issues raised in addressing the plight of the common people.
The Regional Steering Committee of Asean Civil Society Conference/Asean People's Forum 2015 (ACSC/APF 2015) chairman Jerald Joseph said Malaysia could play the role to further improve the situation as it is now the current Asean chairman.
"We hope we can find more dialogue space with Asean bodies … the Malaysian government must use this opportunity to provide immediate changes to the situation," he told a press conference here today.
He said although civil society organisations had countless time submitted their recommendations to Asean governments, many did not give enough attention.
"We feel that they are not taking our recommendations, analysis and issues seriously. This is due to the lack of direct interaction between them and other stakeholders of civil societies," he added.
He said they submitted a statement of recommendations to Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Othman Hashim on Tuesday.
It was to address important issues on the civil society situation in the region including the development of justice, fundamental rights, peace and security as well as discrimination and equality.
He said they had a meeting with Othman who believed incrementally things are changing over time, although slowly.
"Receiving the statement is a good step by the Asean governments. We are pleased that the window of engagement has opened under Malaysia's chairmanship," he added.
He said statement was a collection of recommendations from about 300 regional non-governmental organisations as well as online feedbacks.

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