ASEAN Youth Forum 2014 is coming!!!

One Community! One Strategy! Youths for Unity!

“Strengthening the Power of Youth Engagement in Building a Peaceful and Productive ASEAN Community”

March 17, 18, and 19, 2014
March 20, 2014 (ASEAN Youth Concert)
Yangon, Myanmar

Throughout the past five years, the ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) has been the bedrock of hope, empowerment and engagement towards a youth-driven Southeast Asia. The AYF has been organized in Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), Indonesia (2011), Cambodia (2012), and Brunei Darussalam (2013). It has already involved 500 young leaders from the Region and beyond. It provided space for young leaders to discuss issues, dialogue with various stakeholders and define their destinies with respect to their issues and realities

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This year, as Myanmar takes the chairmanship for the first time, it is with great pride that it will be hosting the Seventh ASEAN Youth Forum 2014 in Yangon. In 2014, young people from various backgrounds will again convene in Yangon, Myanmar to fuel their passion and commitment for a more embracing region. Youth leaders are now preparing for a more dynamic and inclusive AYF. They have been trying their best to keep the vision of AYF of creating a free and empowering platform for youths to voice out their concerns and strategize for ways to achieve a better ASEAN. The main goal is to influence and engage in regional and national policy making process for the better and meaningful participation of young people in all aspects of life. The ASEAN Youth Forum aims to achieve the following objectives:

* To promote meaningful youth involvement in building an ASEAN Community;
* To enhance friendship beyond boundaries among ASEAN youths;
* To be able to share local, regional issues that youth are encountering and to come up with efficient and effective strategies at the national and ASEAN Levels; and
* To maintain peace, sustainability in education , environment and economic sectors

The expected outcomes from ASEAN Youth Forum 2014 are as follows:

* Develop among youth a progressive and inclusive regional mindset and awareness on ASEAN regional integration for making a real people-centered ASEAN.
* A strong and meaningful action to amplify the voice and solidify the engagement of Youths at the local, national and regional levels.
* Commitment to Strategies to mainstream their issues and concerns at the national level, ASEAN People’s Forum, ASEAN related ministerial meeting and ASEAN Summit.

Be part of this history in the making. Meaningfully engage in the movement towards a youth-driven ASEAN! We are inviting the most passionate and active young Southeast Asians (ASEAN and Timor Leste) to join this Forum!

Keep yourself updated at http://www.aseanyouthforum.org

Sombath Somphone and Beyond

Story and photos by Anon Chawalawan

It has been over a month since Sombath Somphone, a Lao senior civil society leader, disappeared on December 15th, 2012.
A closed caption television camera captured the scene when Sombath’s van was stopped by police in Vientiane. He was then forced into another car, and then quickly driven away. Since then, no one has seen him again.

Ushio Sittrai is of the songwriter and the pianist in the band.

The shocking disappearance of Sombath has not only been a concern for his family and fellow Laotian activists, but has also alarmed activists on a global scale. In Thailand, the Thai Volunteer Service, Amnesty International (Thailand), the Justice for Peace Foundation, and other NGOs organized the event, “Sombath Somphone & Beyond: Human Rights Violation in the Mekong Region and Its Impacts on Mekong Youth”) on February 5th, 2013, at Thammasat University.

The band, Hope Family!

The event was split into two parts, a musical performance and a public talk. Besides these two programs, the event organizers also organized a variety of other activities for activists and other concerned individuals who attended. Event organizers displayed a big white banner for participants to write messages or draw pictures symbolizing peace or depicting Sombath and his work. Amnesty International (Thailand) also organized a petition for participants to sign in solidarity and support for the release of Sombath that will be delivered to the government of Laos.

Phupa Sutthi from TU Band (Thammasart University Band)

Since Sombath was a champion of promoting a role for youth in social activism, many of the events focused on youth involvement. The bands that performed in this event were mainly bands composed of young people active in youth interests and social action. They played songs written by themselves dedicated to peace. In the public discussion session, all of the speakers as well as the moderator were mainly young activists and academics. During the public talk, the participants not only discussed the urgency of Sombath’s situation, but also shared their own experiences of social activism and work, as well as discussed threats that each of them had encountered while trying to carry out their respective missions.

A representative read the letter from a wife of Sombath Somphone

A representative read the letter from a wife of Sombath Somphone

All of the youth activists agreed that the disappearance of Sombath was a very troubling sign. The activists who struggle against the interests of either the authorities or corporations can put themselves in danger if their work is deemed threatening to those in power. They also shared the concern that forced disappearances were not only implemented in Laos but in many other countries as well. Therefore, activists across the region need to fight this matter across borders and consider it a universal issue and threat to human rights.

One of the organizers of the event said that after she heard the news about Sombath, she felt deep concern as Sombath worked in the same social sector as her. She also expressed her concern for the safety of other activists in Laos. After hearing what happened, she helped to organize the event after discussing the situation with other activist friends in Thailand. The organizers however did not want the event to focus only on Sombath as an individual case. They promoted the concept “Sombath and Beyond” to raise consciousness more generally among the people and especially youth to encourage the message that anyone can be a victim of forced disappearance, not just Sombath.

Mekong Youth Panel Discussion

Mekong Youth Panel Discussion

Feedback from the participants was very positive. Many participants mentioned that they had not heard about Sombath’s case before the event.

One of the students from Thammasat University who attended said that forced disappearances was a terrible practice, and should not be allowed to happen as it is clearly a human rights violation. She also mentioned that she had signed the petition from Amnesty International to call for the immediate return of Sombath.

Youth representative performed the Peace the World

Youth representative performed the Peace the World

A group of high school students who participated in the event said that they viewed forced disappearances as a violation of freedom. They also said that they wished more youth were concerned about social issues.

A foreigner who is currently a volunteer with a local NGO said that the music in the event was very touching. She said that she learned a lot about disappearances in the region after listening to participants. In her own country disappearances had not happened in 15 years.

The closing ceremony to call for peace and justice!

The closing ceremony to call for peace and justice!

Overall, this event seemed to be very successful. It did raise awareness among the participants of not only Sombath’s case, but also about disappearances in general. However, it would be best if there was no need for such events. Forced disappearances need to be resisted and prevented by all means.

‘เยาวชนลุ่มน้ำโขง’ ร่วม ‘NGO ไทย’ ทวงความคืบหน้า ‘เจ้าของรางวัลแมกไซไซ’ หายตัวกว่า 10 วัน

by Prachatai3.info
Tue, 2012-12-25 18:01

ภาคประชาสังคมไทยยื่นหนังสือถึงเอกอัครราชทูต สปป.ลาว จี้ต้องมีคำอธิบายกรณี ‘สมบัด สมพอน’ หายตัวไป ด้านเยาวชนลุ่มน้ำโขง 5 ประเทศร่วมเรียกร้องสร้างสันติภาพ เร่งติดตามตัวนักพัฒนาอาวุโสของลาวกลับมาอย่างปลอดภัย

วันนี้ (25 ธ.ค.55) เมื่อเวลาประมาณ 10.30 น.คณะกรรมการประสานงานองค์กรพัฒนาเอกชน (กป.อพช.) ภาคประชาสังคมไทย และเยาวชนลุ่มน้ำโขงกว่า 20 คน รวมตัวกันบริเวณหน้าสถานทูตสาธารณรัฐประชาธิปไตยประชาชนลาว ประจำประเทศไทย ชูป้ายเรียกร้องให้นำตัวนายสมบัด สมพอน (Sombath Somphone) กลับมาอย่างปลอดภัย ก่อนยื่นหนังสือถึงเอกอัครราชทูต สปป.ลาวประจำประเทศไทย ทวงถามความคืบหน้าเกี่ยวกับการติดตามกรณีของนายสมบัด หลังการหายตัวไปเป็นเวลาถึง 10 วัน (more…)

Myanmar Youth Forum 2012

Yangon, Myanmar - One hundred fifty-seven youths from 14 States and Divisions of Myanmar gathered at Dhammaduta, Mhawbi Township in Yangon Division from 10th to 12th of December, 2012.

This first ever nation-wide youth forum called Myanmar Youth Forum (MYF) was initiated by alumni of ASEAN Youth Forum 2012 and My Forum organizers since 18th August of 2012. The idea come up when we had strategic meeting for emerging the MYF’s Working Group and then we invited interested youths from different organizations all over Yangon.

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MYF was brought to be a nation-wide inclusive platform to have a youth network which represents the whole country, to describe youth’s opportunities and responsibilities, problems and challenges and to emerge the policy for youth.

Youths came and discussed the most concerned nine issues happening in the country, directly or indirectly related with youths on Forum Days. We described the problems, recommended to the stakeholders and shared youth commitments on those issues as well. At the last day, we released the Myanmar Youth Statement-2012.

Written by Thinzar Shunlei Yi, Myanmar

นักสันติภาพลุ่มน้ำโขง Mekong Peace Journey 2012


เมื่อสัปดาห์ที่ผ่านมาได้เกิดเวทีแลกเปลี่ยนเรียนรู้ของเยาวชนในลุ่มน้ำโขง ซึ่งเป็นประเด็นที่เชื่อมโยงกับการใช้ทรัพยากร ร่วมกันบนลุ่มน้ำ เป้าหมายก็เพื่อนำแนวคิดที่กลับไปสื่อสารกับคนในชุมชนของตนเอง เพื่อสร้างความเข้าใจระหว่างประเทศในอาเซียนด้วยกัน ติดตามรายงานได้จากนักข่าวพลเมืองจังหวัดอุบลราชธานี

ออกอากาศ : วันอังคารที่ 24 กรกฎาคม 2555