University of Indonesia Student Catherine, who goes by one name, was selected as one of the five winners of the 4th Annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Youth Debate. The Commision, known as AICHR, is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State. The Youth Debate is a commemorative event for the 40th Anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations.
From September 4-6, 40 university students from each of the 10 ASEAN Members States competed in Bangkok, Thailand and exchanged views on human rights issues facing the region such as women’s rights, economic growth, the rights of ASEAN citizens to work in all Member States, protection of the environment, and the establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights Court.
“Human rights is a crucial issue that needs to be discussed more often, especially by youth,” said Catherine. “The AICHR Youth Debate is an opportunity for me to learn and discuss about various thoughts and perspectives on human rights issues in ASEAN with youth from all across the region.
“This is the fourth time AICHR has gathered youth together to debate the most pressing human rights issues of the day,” said H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, representative of Thailand to AICHR. “This year’s competition was particularly festive as we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN.”
The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunity for women and address transnational challenges.
Human rights is an integral aspect of the ASEAN community. Through AICHR, ASEAN is promoting progressive social development and justice and the full realization of human dignity and the attainment of a higher quality of life for ASEAN people as outlined in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
Ambassador Daniel Shields, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to ASEAN who spoke at the Youth Debate award ceremony said, “These students are part of a broader community of young leaders who inspire all ASEAN citizens to think more critically about human rights issues across the region. The United States is proud to support this activity, and we are confident that this will contribute to building a stronger ASEAN.”