Thursday, October 29, 2009
Civil society representatives were barred from a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as government officials from Burma and Singapore, among others, sabotaged the conference in Thailand, reports the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). A conference that was supposed to offer a space for civil society to engage with government officials was undermined by the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Philippines and Burma. The five countries stopped their civil society representatives from participating, damaging the credibility of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), according to a statement by organizers of the ASEAN Peoples Forum (APF). These actions rendered the meeting “meaningless” says APF. As a result, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia boycotted the meeting.