Public Forum: Human rights – the Asean Charter and beyond

On 20th November 2007, the heads of state and heads of government of Asean countries are scheduled to sign the Asean Charter, which would hereafter be the constitution of the regional grouping. Notably, the Charter includes a reference to setting up a human rights body.

What provisions does the Charter contain? How will it affect us? Will it advance human rights in Singapore and our neighbours? What new avenues does it open for the particular issues that you are interested in? What else needs to be done to benefit from this new start?

A public consultation organised by Maruah Singapore: “Advancing the establishment of a human rights mechanism under the Asean Charter” will be held on the 24th of November to discuss the issues. The speakers at the forum are Braema Mathi, Siew Kum Hong and Peter Low.

Braema Mathi – The road to here: How Asean got to signing the Asean Charter. Braema Mathi is the coordinator for Maruah and is also a well-known civil society activist in her own right.

Siew Kum Hong – A brief introduction to Maruah Singapore (our aims and strategies); a brief outline of the Asean Charter and what it contains with regard to human rights. Siew Kum Hong is a lawyer by profession and a nominated member of parliament.

Peter Low – A bird’s eye view of other regions/groupings’ human rights mechanisms. Would they be appropriate models for Asean? Peter Low is a lawyer with his own practice. He was formerly President of the Law Society.

Date and time: Saturday, 24 Nov 2007, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Venue: Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations,

96 Waterloo Street,

Singapore 187967

Much time will be set aside for Question and Answer. Maruah recognises that most people approach the question of human rights from the perspective of the particular issues they are involved in, be they women’s issues, migrant workers, the disabled, parolees, etc. Participants are welcome to raise these issues during the dialogue so that a more inclusive conception of ‘human rights’ can be developed.

The development of human rights protection in Asean is expected to be a long process, and this public consultation exercise by Maruah is intended to be the first of many.

All are welcome, including media. For more information, please email [email protected]

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