For civil society networking, HR status info sharing in South Asia

For civil society networking, HR status info sharing in South Asia

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The regional consultation of South Asian Citizens’ Voices on Democracy and Peoples Security was attended by representatives of the civil society from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. During the two day consultation they had many deliberations over the current status of human rights in the region. Issues such as the extent of peoples’ participation in constitution making, increasing restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly and gradual suppression of civil society spaces, the suffering of people as a result of deprivation of rights owing to bi-lateral issues as well as the growing racist and religious division due to extremism were discussed.
The consultation highlighted the need to strengthen peoples’ voice on advocating national issues at regional level in achieving social, economic and environmental justice. There was joint agreement that for effective results which benefit the people, security in a country should be people centric as opposed to state or region centric, which is currently the case in South Asia.
The following recommendations were proposed for collaborative engagements: Sharing information regularly on the status of human rights of South Asia through a newsletter.
Undertaking research on common national issues, such as border conflicts, religious extremism and minority issues, for the purpose of advocacy and information dissemination.
Activate ‘Rapid Action Responses’ to any rights violations such as restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly or issues on people centric security in the region.
Conclusion: Conducting sustained advocacy through electronic and social media on issues at national level supporting the cause and in solidarity with the rights activists and likeminded persons.
Enhancing the space for civil society at national and regional level by facilitating track two diplomacy on issues of people centric security and peace building as well as rights violations.
Strengthening civil society networking and collaborations for effective engagement with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Source: Report on the regional consultation of South Asian Citizens’ Voices on Democracy and Peoples Security organised by South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) 25 – 26 February 2016, Kathmandu, Nepal

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