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Press Release: ASEAN Youth Debates on Human Rights

Posted on: 5 April, 2013

Press Release: ASEAN Youth Debates on Human Rights

(4-5 April 2013, Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell, Makati City, Philippines)

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) launched the first ASEAN Youth Debate on Human Rights on April 04 to 05 held at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Rockwell, Makati City, Philippines. The event was organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines in collaboration with the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) and the Ateneo Society of International Law (ASIL).

University students from the ten ASEAN Member States participated in the two-day event bearing the theme, “Mainstreaming Human Rights in ASEAN Community-Building.” The event aimed to raise greater awareness and appreciation of human rights, as well as to promote camaraderie among the students and youth of ASEAN.

Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo, Philippine Representative to the AICHR, opened the event, stating that “It is truly an honor for the Philippines to host the ASEAN Youth Debate on Human Rights.” She emphasised that “human rights and the participation of the youth play important roles in shaping a people-centered and responsive ASEAN Community.” Philippine National Youth Commission Chairperson Mr. Leon G. Flores III also delivered his remarks.

H.E. Dato’ Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Malaysian Representative to the AICHR, and H.E. Phoukhong Sisoulath, Lao Representative to the AICHR, and H.E. Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo  led the panel discussion on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) by sharing their insights on the development of the AHRD with the student participants, while Ateneo Human Rights Center Executive Director Atty. Ray Paolo Santiago presented AHRD’s main provisions.

Members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of government agencies involved in human rights in the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, the academe and students from Philippine universities attended the panel discussion.

The youth debaters later participated in a workshop on moot court competition focusing on fictional human rights case studies involving practical application of the AHRD and other international human rights instruments.

“We hope that the ASEAN Youth Debate on Human Rights organized by the Philippines and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights can serve as a model for human rights education in the region and become a yearly event,” said Ambassador Manalo.

She added, “All of us are part of the same human family and respect human dignity. In this spirit, ASEAN’s evolving human rights discourse and outreach to the youth should be welcomed and supported.”

Student participants from the ASEAN countries expressed appreciation for the Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN Youth Debate on Human Rights.

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