Previously kept from public view, the draft charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been leaked to the media and is now available online. Alternative Thai media organization, Prachatai, has obtained a copy of the said Charter and posted it on their website. To download, please follow this link:Prachathai
The Charter is a document meant to formalize the ASEAN by codifying its previous agreements and introducing more permanent and formal institutional and legal arrangements. It has been in the works for almost a year now. The High Level Task Force (HLTF) on the drafting of the ASEAN Charter came up with a final draft during its 13th meeting in late October, but the Charter has been kept from public scrutiny from Day 1.
Focus on the Global South, together with several other groups comprising the Solidarity for Asian Peoples Advocacies (SAPA) Working Group on ASEAN, participated in limited consultation processes of both the HLTF and the earlier body (the Eminent Persons Group) tasked to draft recommendations for the Charter framework. In all, SAPA WG on ASEAN has made three submissions on the three pillars of ASEAN cooperation – political security, economic and socio-cultural. To view these submissions, please follow this link: http://www.focusweb.org/revisiting-southeast-asian-regionalism.html
The Thai National Legislative Assembly (NLA) discusses the ASEAN Charter today, in accordance with a provision in the 2007 Thai Constitution requiring that any agreement be endorsed by the parliament before it is signed. The Thai NLA will be the first to see the Charter within ASEAN, outside of the HTLF and the ASEAN Foreign Ministers who oversee the Charter drafting process.
In the interest of transparency and access to official information, readers are encouraged to download the Charter and distribute it to as a wide a public as possible. We participate actively in the drafting and amendment of our national Constitutions. There is no reason why we should be prevented from accessing the drafting of the regional Constitution, the ASEAN Charter.
Focus will be posting its analysis of the draft Charter very soon.