Ateneo Human Rights Center helps empower societies for human rights and dignity

October 25, 2018
In a world where access to human rights is not guaranteed and is constantly threatened, its advocates must take extra steps to ensure its protection and safekeeping.
 
Understanding this need, the Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN), since 2010, has been holding regular conferences that discuss the issues that challenge human rights and peacebuilding—with sessions taking place in various areas of the region, including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta. 
 
This year, the conference lands in the Philippines with the theme “Making It Matter: Empowering Societies for Human Rights and Dignity in Southeast Asia.” Over 200 scholars, academics, and human rights advocates gathered at Marco Polo Hotel from 15–17 October 2018 for this event.
 
Scholars, activists, and peacebuilders from all over Southeast Asia gathered together in an effort to make human rights matter. 
 
Three institutions from the Philippines have come together as co-organizers of the conference, including the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), the Miriam College Department of International Studies, and the University of the Philippines Law Center Institute of Human Rights.
 
Atty. Ray Paolo J. Santiago, Executive Director of AHRC, welcomed participants to the conference and noted that the theme “recognizes the imperative for stakeholders to be aware of their rights, build capacity on how to exercise these, and be involved in matters that affect their lives to ensure that the peoples’ rights and dignity are the heart of governance of our leaders in Southeast Asia.”
 
Dr. Azmi Sharom, SEAHRN convenor, noted that in choosing the theme of the conference, it was of great importance to remember that in the world today, “human rights have been marginalized in some countries, demonized in others, and ignored completely in too many.”
 
“It is of vital importance,” he added, “that human rights and peace defenders reclaim the narrative by pushing the agenda that human rights and a rights-based approach to public life is what will ultimately ensure a better and safer life for us all.”
 
“We must not allow human rights and peace to be made an irrelevance by the short-sighted and the desperate. We must, once again, show the worth of our values. We must make it matter once more.”
 
Dean Jose Maria G. Hofileña of the Ateneo Law School with Judge Pangalangan, opening keynote speaker. 
 
Judge Raul C. Pangalangan, Judge of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, was the opening keynote speaker, with his address “Activism through Law: the Legal Path Transforms the Advocate as Well.” 
 
Three plenary panels started each day—Exploring the Post-Truth World and the Reality Fake News as a Human Rights Challenge and the Role of Media on the first day; Conflict Transformation on the second; and Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia on the third and last day. Participants broke out into parallel sessions throughout the afternoon, which included discussions and fora on children claiming rights, political rights in Southeast Asia, labor and migration, human rights defenders, intersections of rights and sexuality, business and media, and right to health, among others. 
 
Closing the conference with her keynote speech entitled “Occupying the Ordinary: Human Rights in the Remaking of Everyday Life,” Indonesian feminist and activist Kamala Chandrakirana spoke of her experiences in working to protect and promote human rights. 
 
Kamala Chandrakirana talked about her experience as a feminist activist in Indonesia. 
 
“The future progress of our struggles depends on our capacity to transcend dichotomies in our thinking, our strategies, and our practices—dichotomies between public and private, the past and the present, the heinous and the ordinary, between culture and the law,” she said.
 
Ending her keynote, she posed questions for the conference attendees, all hailing from various parts of the Southeast Asian region.
 
“If Southeast Asia is truly a community,” she asked, “beyond conference rooms and working meetings, what are our shared imaginings of who we are, what we stand for, and where we want to go?”
 
“Are the youth of Southeast Asia imagining a shared future together? Where are we—the older activists for peace, justice, and human rights—in the world that they are envisioning and building? Have we reached out enough?”
 
“As a region, are we building communities of practice, collaborative projects, comparative learning processes, sharing of tools for new ways of thinking and doing, intergenerational dialogue, developing common assets for a movement?” she ended.
 
SEAHRN, in partnership with the ASEAN University Network Human Rights Education (AUN-HRE) launched two books: Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia Series 6 and Human Rights Outlook in Southeast Asia 2017. 
 
These books were published under the auspices of the Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in Southeast Asia/ASEAN programme (SHAPE-SEA).
 
The abstracts of the papers presented—over 70 in total—can be viewed here.

News Archive

  • Ateneo Human Rights Center helps empower societies for human rights and dignity
    Thursday, October 25, 2018
    In a world where access to human rights is not guaranteed and is constantly threatened, its advocates must take extra steps to ensure its protection and safekeeping.
     
    Understanding this need, the Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN), since 2010, has been holding regular conferences that discuss the issues that challenge human rights and peacebuilding—with sessions taking place in various areas of the region, including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta. 
     
    This year, the conference lands in the Philippines with the theme “Making It Matter: Empowering Societies for Human Rights and Dignity in Southeast Asia.” Over 200 scholars, academics, and human rights advocates gathered at Marco Polo Hotel from 15–17 October 2018 for this event.
     
    Scholars, activists, and peacebuilders from all over Southeast Asia gathered together in an effort to make human rights matter. 
     
    Three institutions from the Philippines have come together as co-organizers of the conference, including the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), the Miriam College Department of International Studies, and the University of the Philippines Law Center Institute of Human Rights.
     
    Atty. Ray Paolo J. Santiago, Executive Director of AHRC, welcomed participants to the conference and noted that the theme “recognizes the imperative for stakeholders to be aware of their rights, build capacity on how to exercise these, and be involved in matters that affect their lives to ensure that the peoples’ rights and dignity are the heart of governance of our leaders in Southeast Asia.”
     
    Dr. Azmi Sharom, SEAHRN convenor, noted that in choosing the theme of the conference, it was of great importance to remember that in the world today, “human rights have been marginalized in some countries, demonized in others, and ignored completely in too many.”
     
    “It is of vital importance,” he added, “that human rights and peace defenders reclaim the narrative by pushing the agenda that human rights and a rights-based approach to public life is what will ultimately ensure a better and safer life for us all.”
     
    “We must not allow human rights and peace to be made an irrelevance by the short-sighted and the desperate. We must, once again, show the worth of our values. We must make it matter once more.”
     
    Dean Jose Maria G. Hofileña of the Ateneo Law School with Judge Pangalangan, opening keynote speaker. 
     
    Judge Raul C. Pangalangan, Judge of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, was the opening keynote speaker, with his address “Activism through Law: the Legal Path Transforms the Advocate as Well.” 
     
    Three plenary panels started each day—Exploring the Post-Truth World and the Reality Fake News as a Human Rights Challenge and the Role of Media on the first day; Conflict Transformation on the second; and Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia on the third and last day. Participants broke out into parallel sessions throughout the afternoon, which included discussions and fora on children claiming rights, political rights in Southeast Asia, labor and migration, human rights defenders, intersections of rights and sexuality, business and media, and right to health, among others. 
     
    Closing the conference with her keynote speech entitled “Occupying the Ordinary: Human Rights in the Remaking of Everyday Life,” Indonesian feminist and activist Kamala Chandrakirana spoke of her experiences in working to protect and promote human rights. 
     
    Kamala Chandrakirana talked about her experience as a feminist activist in Indonesia. 
     
    “The future progress of our struggles depends on our capacity to transcend dichotomies in our thinking, our strategies, and our practices—dichotomies between public and private, the past and the present, the heinous and the ordinary, between culture and the law,” she said.
     
    Ending her keynote, she posed questions for the conference attendees, all hailing from various parts of the Southeast Asian region.
     
    “If Southeast Asia is truly a community,” she asked, “beyond conference rooms and working meetings, what are our shared imaginings of who we are, what we stand for, and where we want to go?”
     
    “Are the youth of Southeast Asia imagining a shared future together? Where are we—the older activists for peace, justice, and human rights—in the world that they are envisioning and building? Have we reached out enough?”
     
    “As a region, are we building communities of practice, collaborative projects, comparative learning processes, sharing of tools for new ways of thinking and doing, intergenerational dialogue, developing common assets for a movement?” she ended.
     
    SEAHRN, in partnership with the ASEAN University Network Human Rights Education (AUN-HRE) launched two books: Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia Series 6 and Human Rights Outlook in Southeast Asia 2017. 
     
    These books were published under the auspices of the Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in Southeast Asia/ASEAN programme (SHAPE-SEA).
     
    The abstracts of the papers presented—over 70 in total—can be viewed here.