Civil society

A shrinking space for Human Rights Defenders in Asia

Phnom Penh, Monday 29 May – Today, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, had an unofficial visit in Phnom Penh at Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Mr. Frost gave a brief overview and explained various trends and situations of Human Rights Defenders across the world and the region of Southeast Asia. Mr. Forst discussed new trends where governments are now implementing and creative laws to criminalize activities of Human Rights Defenders and reduce spaces for civil societies. In addition, Mr. Forst emphasized the importance of a gendered analysis to his work, as women Human Rights Defenders (in addition to LGBTIQ defenders) are usually at a higher risk than other defenders. Moreover, the importance of engaging not only with governments but also companie...

Attending the ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s Forum Malaysia 2015: Reclaiming the ASEAN Community for the People

Background – For its tenth anniversary, the ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s (ACSC/APF) gathered around 1,500 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) from 11 countries (the ten ASEAN countries plus Timor-Leste) on 21-24 April 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The purpose of the ACSC/APF is to deliver a joint statement and recommendations for the ASEAN Leaders regarding the ASEAN Summit which are submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat and the government representatives even if these recommendations could not be delivered during open spaces for dialogue scheduled with ASEAN Leaders. Malaysia, as ASEAN Chair country for 2015, decides to focus this year talks on a “people oriented and people centered ASEAN”. This theme carried a lot of questions during the ACSC/APF...

KAS’s Law Talk March 2015: Cambodian Constitution Law – Implications for State Organisation and Basic Rights

Upon Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS)’s invitation, around 30 Cambodian and International legal experts gathered last weekend in Sihanoukville to debate constitutional and rule of law reforms in Cambodia. This forum had two main objectives. The first one was to discuss the “Electoral, Parliamentary and Political Party Reform” as well as basic constitutional rights, their international foundations and legal enforcement in Cambodia. A special focus was given on the second day on the analysis of the newly adopted Electoral Law which was explained from the CPP’s perspective by H.E. Sik Bunhok, the CNRP’s perspective by H.E. Yem Ponhearith, and the civil society’s perspective by COMFREL.   The second objective for KAS was to gather the authors of the soon-to-be published “Handbook on the Dev...