Alternative Regionalisms

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.

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One significant development in Kuala Lumpur is ASEAN’s interface with civil society. For the first time in its 38 years, ASEAN leaders welcomed representatives of civil society to their hallowed business meeting. That is, for 15 minutes, a civil society rep read a statement prepared and approved in a wider civil society conference held several days earlier, and Summit chair Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave an initial response and assurances that the ASEAN leadership takes civil society involvement very seriously.


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