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Contrary to an earlier announcement, the ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) III currently taking place in Singapore is only open to a select group of civil society members.
Comprising of several regional NGOs and a local organising committee, the ACSC III is gathered in Singapore to discuss human rights issues including how to make ASEAN more people centred.
There will also be sessions to discuss the state of civil society in Singapore.
It is ironic then that conference is not more inclusive to draw in the peoples’ participation.
Those who participated in the human rights forum on 23 Sep 07 at the Allson Hotel (see photos) have not been invited even though many signed up to get more involved in ASEAN human rights matters.
Lawyer M Ravi who spearheads the effort to bring the matter closer to the Singaporean public has been making effort to see if more Singaporeans can participate in the conference.
The ACSC started in Kuala Lumpur when the Malaysian Government agreed to start a dialogue with civil society at an ASEAN meeting in 2005.
The second ACSC was held in the Philippines the following year.
Unfortunately the Singapore Government, being the current chair of ASEAN has refused to meet with civil society members this year.