‘As the ASEAN heads towards developing its Post-2015 vision of a people-centered and peaceful ASEAN, key members of civil society organizations (CSO) see the crucial task for the regional bloc to strengthen the role of the CSOs in addressing the issues of regional peace and human security that continue to challenge the entire regional community,’ said Gus Miclat, regional initiator of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict-Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA) and executive director of the regional non-government advocacy and solidarity organization, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID). He was speaking at a press briefing at WISMA MCA, Kuala Lumpur, the venue of this year’s ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) 2015.
Miclat added, ‘with the continuing armed conflicts and disputes within countries like Burma/Myanmar, the Philippines and in south Thailand, the ASEAN should go beyond its rhetoric of conflict management and prevention by creating concrete mechanisms to proactively prevent and resolve existing conflicts in the region.’
He further explained, ‘in demonstrating ASEAN’s commitment to a comprehensive security as stated in the ASEAN political-security blueprint, ASEAN member governments must strengthen its preventive diplomacy to address comprehensive human security issues and the social impacts of recurring conflicts by establishing partnerships especially with civil society movements.’
Miclat called for the preventive clause in the existing ASEAN dispute and settlement mechanism to be included in the ASEAN charter so that it can serve as a catalyst for dialogue, good governance and peace building.
Miclat stressed, ‘towards this goal, the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) which was created in 2011 should create consultative and partnership mechanisms with the civil society organizations to facilitate a more active and inclusive citizen participation especially of communities directly affected by the conflicts.’
GPPAC and IID likewise urged the ASEAN member states to strictly fulfill their obligations to institutionalize women’s participation in decision-making processes on peace building, conflict prevention and democratic governance according to the principles enshrined in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and General Recommendation number 30 of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Miclat concluded, ‘as the ASEAN tackles peace and security issues in this year’s summit, we appeal to the collective wisdom of the ASEAN leaders to make this event a landmark of new hopes, genuine peace and inclusive regional progress by providing greater attention to the legitimate concerns of all the peoples in our region.’