Press Statement

Press Statement


Reclaiming Lost Ground in Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia

 The Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN) is proud to announce that we are conducting our Fourth International Conference on Human Rights and Peace & Conflict in Southeast Asia on 10-12 October 2016 at The Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. The SEAHRN conference is the only conference that focuses on human rights and peace & conflict in Southeast Asia.

A mere six years ago during our first conference in 2010 there was a distinct air of optimism. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had just signed its Charter, legally recognising for the first time the importance of concepts such as the rule of law, governance, democracy and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in its purposes and principles for an ASEAN Community. In 2012, ASEAN leaders reconfirmed their commitment to human rights by adopting the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Yet today we seem to be moving backwards, hence the theme of the conference – Reclaiming Lost Ground — for we need to reclaim that forward momentum that was promising to propel the region into an era where respect for human rights along with the peace, justice and fairness that it brings is the norm.

To help us in this process we have excellent paper presenters to discuss a wide variety of human rights and peace issues. We are fortunate to have Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the renowned human rights scholar and activist from Thailand to deliver the opening keynote speech. He will be speaking about the current issues on human rights faced by the region. And as a counterpoint and continuation of Professor Vitit’s ideas, the closing keynote speech will be about the future of human rights in the region, and this will be delivered by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

In between what promises to be two thought provoking speeches there will be numerous panels discussing a broad spectrum of issues including: democracy and governance, workers’ rights, academic freedom, the environment and human rights, religious freedom, gender and sexuality, history, business and human rights and peace and security in the region.

We hope that academics, activists, government officials as well as anyone in the general public interested in human rights will make the effort to attend. We also hope that the press will give coverage to this conference as human rights in Southeast Asia needs to be pushed further into the public consciousness. This conference series have been successful in the past to provide an important forum for human rights and peace discussions, and promises to be so again. Online registration is open until 30 September 2016 at

The Fourth International Conference on Human Rights and Peace & Conflict in Southeast Asia is co-organized by the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University and is supported by the Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research/Education in Southeast Asia/ASEAN (SHAPE-SEA) Programme, Swedish International Development Cooperaion Agency (SIDA) and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR)

CONTACT: Dr. Azmi Sharom at [email protected]