Tuesday, 26 September 2023

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APHR calls on Indonesia to champion human rights, democracy, and climate action in ASEAN

JAKARTA, INDONESIA — In a significant move towards addressing prevalent issues in the ASEAN region, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) urged Indonesia, the current Chair of ASEAN, to lead efforts in improving human rights, strengthening democracy, and enhancing climate protection.

This appeal comes amidst growing concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in the region, the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, rising intimidation of parliamentarians and human rights defenders, and the escalating climate change threats facing ASEAN nations.

APHR emphasized the crisis in Myanmar, where over a million people have been displaced since the military coup in February 2021.

They urged Indonesia to rally ASEAN nations and international partners in counteracting the ongoing instability and taking decisive steps towards the restoration of peace, justice, and democracy.

The body also expressed grave concerns over Cambodia’s political climate, especially regarding the July 2023 elections. It underscored the intensifying repression of opposition, civil society activists, and independent media, urging Indonesia to condemn these actions and advocate for an inclusive, free, and fair electoral process.

The APHR called on ASEAN to develop a regional framework for the protection of human rights defenders and enhance the mandate of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to provide emergency protection.

Highlighting the persistent discrimination based on faith, particularly against the Rohingya community, APHR urged ASEAN to protect freedom of religion and belief. It proposed the establishment of an ASEAN mechanism to set standards, address abuses, and safeguard affected individuals.

With regard to climate change, the APHR stressed the need for urgent action, acknowledging ASEAN nations’ vulnerability to the adverse impacts of global warming, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity. It urged ASEAN to bolster commitments to the Paris agreement and transition to renewable energy.

Finally, the APHR recommended the inclusion of Timor-Leste as an ASEAN member state, building on Indonesia’s recent statement of support for its membership.

As the Chair of ASEAN, Indonesia’s role in implementing these suggestions will be closely watched by the regional and international community. It remains to be seen how these pressing issues will be addressed in the upcoming discussions and negotiations.

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