Jakarta, 18 November 2014—On 17-18 October 2014, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), Families of Missing Persons Associations (IKOHI), Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) convened a regional conference on “Strengthening Accountability for Violations of Religious Freedom in Southeast Asia.”
In a session entitled “Strengthening accountability for mass religious-based violence in Asia: a transitional justice approach,” Faith Delos Reyes, HRRC Research and Project Coordinator, was invited to present relevant findings of “Keeping the Faith: A Study on Religious Freedom on the Region.” Additionally, the organisers invited her to speak on “Comparative Lessons on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs in ASEAN,” providing the Philippine experience.
The conference was organized to contribute to the process of stocktaking of religious freedom and accountability for religious-based violations in Southeast Asia. The preamble of the ASEAN Charter affirms the importance of complying with the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance, respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion. However, the organisers noted that many ASEAN countries continue to struggle to make freedom of religion a reality for all its citizens. Attended by academics and researchers, the event aimed to identify key issues and share initiatives to combat impunity for religious-based violence in Southeast Asia, provide a space for victims and civil society groups from Southeast Asia to exchange experiences and strengthen understanding, and formulate recommendations and follow-up at national and regional-levels.
The event was supported by Yayasan Bina Damai and the European Commission, and was organized to commemorate the International Day on Promoting Tolerance, observed on 16 November 2014.