By Jenina Joy Chavez
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is 45 years old, but it has yet to enjoy wide recognition and support from the ASEAN populace. Many explanations have been offered for this, not least of which is the distance of the regional formation from the people that it is supposed to represent and serve. The long history of authoritarianism and unstable political environment in the region has also been cited. Recent developments, including the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the signing of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection of Migrant Workers, did a lot to bring ASEAN to the attention of its people. However, more is needed before people in the region can truly identify with ASEAN.
Jenina Joy Chavez (Trustee, Action for Economic Reforms and Director, Southeast Asia Monitor for Action) states that ‘three important mechanisms readily come to mind, on how a regional project such as ASEAN can have more resonance with the people.” Having freedom of information (FOI) legislations in the ASEAN Member States; adopting an ASEAN Information Policy; and mechanisms for people’s participation, that shall provide the regular space for citizens and stakeholders to be a part of the ASEAN processes.
(2) A New Tradition for ASEAN?
(4) Finding Spaces: the ASEAN Charter and Structure
(6) The Case for Freedom of Information (FOI) in ASEAN
(7) Mechanisms for People’s Participation