With the ASEAN Charter’s promise to create a human rights body, the SIIA is gearing up our analysis and advocacy on appropriate institutions and priorities for the region, an issue the SIIA has followed for many years. First, in early May, Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, SIIA senior fellow, and Ms Elaine Teng, Senior Executive, attended the ASEAN ISIS Colloquium on human rights in Manila, a long standing forum organized by think tanks. Secondly, the SIIA also represented Singapore at a workshop on human rights organized by the Indonesian government on 15-17 May. The Indonesian workshop was mainly among government officials but SIIA chairman Simon Tay was invited as to chair a session on regional and international perspectives, the only non governmental participant to chair discussions. A new Singaporean group, Maruah, also joined in the Indonesian workshop.
Thirdly, in Singapore in the coming weeks of June, the SIIA will host a workshop on human rights in ASEAN. The workshop is jointly organized with the Working Group on an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism and supported by the Singapore. The SIIA serves as a secretariat for the workshop, with Simon Tay as chairman of a Singaporean organizing committee from different groups and individuals in Singapore keen on human rights.
The Workshop will feature Dr Surin Pitsuwan, the ASEAN Secretary-General, Raymond Lim Singapore’s 2nd Minister for Foreign Affairs, officials, NGOs and experts from all 10 ASEAN member states, as well as regional and international observers from the UN and NGOs.