4차 발리 민주주의 포럼을 맞아 아시아시민사회의 ‘민주화와 아시아 시민참여’ 논의
- 2011.12.16 (18:25:57)
4차 발리 민주주의 포럼을 맞아
아시아시민사회의 ‘민주화와 아시아 시민참여’ 논의
Regional Consultation on Democratisation and People’s Participation in Asia 성명서
2011년 12월 6~7일간 열린 발리 민주주의 포럼에 대응해 아시아 16개국 시민사회단체들이 아시아의 민주화와 인권 현황을 논의하기 위해 ‘Regional Consultation on Democratisation and People’s Participation in Asia’를 개최했습니다.
2011년은 중동,아랍지역의 민주화 혁명과 월가 점령 시위등 소외된 사람들의 목소리가 높아지고 정치,경제,사회,문화적 권리가 부상하는 해였습니다. 그러나 아시아지역에서는 시민사회의 활동 공간이 위축되고, 시민들의 정치 참여가 제약되고 있으며, 사법부의 독립성과 공정성이 훼손되고, 시민사회의 사법감시 활동이 거의 불가능하고 , 부정부패와 국민의 알 권리가 약화되고 있으며, 아시아 인구의 3/2가 빈곤과 기아상태이며, 노동조건이 열악하고 인신매매의 의험에 노출되어 있습니다. 또한 기업들의 신자유주의와 민영화는 국가 복지를 약화시키고, 환경파괴, 금융위기등의 문제를 초래하고 있습니다. (이는 컨설테이션에 모dls 아시아시민단체들의 논의 결과임.)
이에 아시아시민사회는 다음의 성명서를 통해 시민사회단체들의 입장을 발표하였습니다. 성명서에는 발리 민주주의 포럼이 아시아 국가간 대화를 증진하는데 기여하고 있지만 시민사회를 배제하는 문제를 제기하고 있으며 1) 시민사회를 위한 환경개선(enabling environment), 2) 사법부 독립, 3) 부정부패와 민주화, 4) 경제-사회-문화적 권리 증진 분야에 대한 아시아시민사회의 입장을 피력했습니다.
아래의 원문을 참고해 보시기 바랍니다.
Regional Consultation on Democratisation and People’s Participation in Asia In conjunction with the 4th Bali Democracy Forum
We, the representatives from civil society organisations of 16 Asian countries, gather here on 6 and 7 December 2011 in conjunction with the 4th Bali Democracy Forum to critically assess the situation and highlight challenges to democratization and human rights in Asia.
The year 2011 has seen both the Arab Spring sweeping away long-reigning despots and the Occupy Movement protesting against the marginalisation of the majority of the world’s people. Democracy and democratization must therefore focus not only on civil and political rights but also the enhancement of economic, social and cultural rights, recognising the urgency to address the structural causes of extreme poverty, deteriorating inequality and rampant corruption. Democracy is not only threatened by authoritarian regimes but also by corporate interests that erode national sovereignty and suppress people’s participation. In that sense, democracy must be protected not only from unelected political institutions such as the military and monarchy, but also from unelected corporate conglomerates.
In Asia, while the reforms in Burma seem promising after two decades of suppression, we must not forget that war against ethnic minorities like the Kachins is on-going and as many as 1,700 political prisoners remain imprisoned. Until armed conflicts and persecution of political dissidents end, the reforms remain window dressing.
1. Defending an Enabling Environment for Asian Peoples and Civil Society
Participatory democracy is not complete if civil society lacks an enabling environment to function effectively and independently. The increased challenge for Asian civil society organisations is the violation of civil liberties including freedom of expression, right to information, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of religion. This is mainly caused by draconian laws, lack of judicial independence, arbitrary arrests, pervasive use of torture, extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders and other use of violence by state and non-state actors. Ironically, while the theme for the 4th Bali Democracy Forum is “Enhancing Democratic Participation in A Changing World: Responding to Democratic Voices”, some Asian governments are doing the exact opposite. Cambodia is currently enacting a law to restrict freedom of association while Malaysia’s Lower House recently passed a bill on freedom of assembly that is more restrictive than Burma.
In many Asian countries, repressive laws against civil liberties have created a climate of fear and compounded the people’s ability to participate political processes. The shrinking of public space by governments and political parties through violence, control of funding and intimidation stifles civic participation and genuine public discourse. Some countries like Burma are still plagued with armed conflicts and ethno-religious persecution.
Asia lacks a functional human rights court and in many countries, national human rights institutions do not always work independently and effectively, especially in post-war and transitional countries. Ordinary people’s political participation is also curbed by two other factors: firstly, the ineffectiveness of legislatures in representing the peoples’ needs and aspirations; and secondly, the controlled media environment which prevents pluralistic political expressions.
2. Independence of Judiciary and Judicial Watch
Independence of the judiciary is fundamental to democracy as it ensures the rule of law in society. In many Asian countries, there are serious issues regarding the capacity and integrity of the judiciary and legal professionals. Appointment processes for judges, prosecutors and other legal officials are often influenced by politics, nepotism and patronage which threaten judicial independence. In many countries, the office of public prosecutor is not independent from the executive branch. Government control of regulating bodies (such as bar associations and judicial commissions) also undermines the independence of the judiciary.
We note with concern that judgments and information about judicial system are often not publicly available. This increases risk of corruption, hampers ability of civil society to monitor the judiciary and prevents the general public from understanding the judicial system and access to justice. In some countries, such as Cambodia, criticizing judgments can constitute contempt of court, severely restricting the ability of monitoring programs to analyze decisions. Justice is also denied when citizens cannot access or afford legal representation.
3. Corruption, Right to Information and Democratisation
Corruption is one of the major concerns undermining democracy in Asia. Those with resources can have undue influence on public policies and this transaction of power for money denies the right of ordinary citizens to have their interests represented through legitimate political participation.
Democratisation must therefore entails a vigorous campaign against corruption and a strong legal framework including anti-corruption laws, right to information laws and other laws with independent enforcement bodies to enhance transparency and accountability.
4. Transformative Social Protection in Defending and Claiming Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Asia is home to two thirds of the world’s poor and hungry, with more than nine hundred million living in extreme poverty. At the same time, 78% of Asia’s work force is pushed to the informal sector where they suffer from extremely low wage and precarious working conditions while often facing risk of human trafficking. More fundamentally, the neo-liberal development model of liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation aggressively pursued by corporations undermines the sovereignty of state to provide social services, displaces millions of people from their land and natural resources, enlarges the gap between the rich and the poor, accelerates environmental degradation and eventually engulfed the world in financial crisis from Asia to the United States and now in Europe. Austerity measures meted out as response to these crisis further undercut the social protection for the people with regards to education, healthcare, housing, food, water etc.
Transformative social protection is therefore an urgent demand by the people to address continuing crises and chronic poverty resulting in massive deprivation and social exclusion of millions in Asia – denied of their basic economic, social and cultural rights that are essential to their life. Even in countries where they have poverty eradication programs including minimal social protection, these programs often exclude the most vulnerable including the stateless, undocumented, internally displaced people and refugees.
On Enabling Environment for Asian Peoples and Civil Society,
• To ratify and implement core international human rights instruments;
On Independence of Judiciary and Judicial Watch,
• To provide professional trainings to judicial officials and practitioners;
On Corruption, Right to Information and Democratization,
• To enact strong legislations that guarantee the right to information and make declaration of assets by senior public officials and their family mandatory;
On Transformative Social Protection and Fulfilment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
• To implement social policies that include universal social protection towards the fulfilment of the economic, social and cultural rights while giving priority to employment, essential services, food, social assistance to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled;
We call on all Asian Governments to implement these recommendations in their regional and national programmes.
We welcome the on-going initiative of the Indonesian government to foster dialogue between Asian states on democracy through the Bali Democracy Forum. However, we are disappointed that the Forum has consecutively excluded for four years the participation of civil society organisations who are one of the main stakeholders of democracy.
We call on the future Bali Democracy Forums to include civil society organizations in their deliberation and follow-up actions. To begin with, the Bali Democracy Forum should make publicly documents related to the proceedings and decisions of the Forum. The Institute for Peace and Democracy as the implementing agency of the Forum should step up its engagement of civil society to ensure meaningful participation of Asian peoples in realising genuine and functioning democracy. /END/