The first face-to-face meeting of the WSCF AP Human Rights Committee was held from February 21 to 26, 2008 at the Student Christian Center (SCC) in Bangkok, Thailand. It had the following objectives:
The HR Committee was proposed in September 2006 following the mandate by the WSCF AP Regional Committee to strengthen and increase student participation in the decision making structure for the Human Rights Program. Since then, the HR Committee has been actively meeting online to plan for HR regional programs and activities of WSCF AP until it finally met in 2008. The meeting was attended by Committee members, Paddy Noble (HR Coordinator), Immanuel Gopala Kitnan from SCM Sri Lanka, Yustin Pasaribu from SCM Indonesia, Inbaraj Jeyakumar from SCM India, Leni Valeriano from SCM Philippines, and Necta Montes Rocas, WSCF AP Regional Secretary. Other Committee members who could not join the meeting were, Hannah Angus from Australia SCM and Kaythi Min Din, SCM Myanmar due to prior commitments.
In the Meeting, the Committee members traced its history from the HR Working Group Meeting in 2005 and clarified its functions as an in interim body of the AP region. Its main function is to, “ to become the center of campaigns for WSCF AP and to build solidarity among the SCMs in the region.” Realizing the need to sustain the work of the Committee, the group proposed to institutionalized the HR Committee in the WSCF By-Laws, ensuring transition and equal representation from each sub-region. Guidelines for selection of Committee members were also proposed during this meeting. The job description of the Human Rights Coordinator was also finalized during this meeting.
The Meeting listened to the report of the Human Rights Coordinator on how the 2007 Human Rights Defenders (HRD) was conducted and the evaluation of the participants. Feedback was also collected from networks and groups involved in the International Youth and Solidarity Mission (IYSM) organized after the HRD Training. From these reports, the HR Committee discussed and evaluated the impact of the HRD Training and the IYSM. The Meeting also came-out with a two-year Regional Human Rights Advocacy Plan and identified the vision of the HR Committee as the following, “The Student Christian Movements of the Asia-Pacific region are called to be a prophetic voice to restore human dignity, to achieve just, peace, freedom and harmony.” A Workshop was conducted to identify the current Human Rights issues in each country in the region and analyze the link and root causes of these problems before the planning ensued.
The following thematic areas for WSCF AP’s Human Rights work was identified in the next two years:
The HR Committee Meeting also finalized the plans for the WSCF Human Rights Workshop in 2008, which is to be held from June 2 to 10, 2008 in Bogor, Indonesia with theme Migration and Internally Displaced People. The SCM Indonesia (GMKI) will host this Workshop. The content of the Workshop was also discussed with emphasis on both providing theoretical framework in Human Rights work and practical skills in Human Rights advocacy work.