35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits

Sunday 10th November 2019 – On 31st October until 4th November, Heads of States of ASEAN gathered in Bangkok for the 35th ASEAN Summit. With this year’s theme of “advancing partnership for sustainability”, Heads of States reiterated the importance of continuity and sustainability, and committed to continue promoting partnership in the interest of sustainability within ASEAN and the international community as a whole. This includes strengthening ASEAN-led rostrums such as ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT), and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

The opening ceremony saw speeches from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and an opening statement from the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand General Prayut Chan-o-cha. In his opening statement, he emphasised the importance of an ASEAN community that is “peaceful, prosperous, people-centred” and one that leaves “no one behind”, alluding to the economic development gap between more developed ASEAN countries and the lesser developed.

Related summits that occurred subsequently include the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, the 16th ASEAN-India Summit, and the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit.

Points of discussion in the ASEAN Summit included plans to sign the world’s largest regional free trade pact. Thailand stated that it hopes to conclude negotiations on this trade deal by the end of the year. Other points of discussion included maritime issues in Vietnam, a joint-bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, and measures to prevent plastic waste imports.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo reiterated on this issue on his Instagram account. He highlighted how it “violates international rules regarding plastic waste” and expressed his hopes for “cooperation with countries in the world […] to prevent the illegal shipment of B3 waste”. In addition, he expressed how ASEAN also faces a marine plastic waste issue in which, if not addressed immediately, will drastically affect the region’s marine ecosystem.

Public Discussion & Book Launching

On the 10th Anniversary of AICHR, ASC UGM is proud to present Public Discussion and Book Launching with the theme of “The Evolution of the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism: Institutional and Thematic Issues Within.”
The event will be held on Saturday, 16th November 2019, from 09.00-13.00 at Convention Hall, 4th floor, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada. Registration opens at 08.30 AM. This event is free entry.
With speakers:

Dr. Dafri Agussalim (Keynote Speaker) – Director of ASEAN Studies Center, Gadjah Mada University

Session 1:
H.E. Amb. Phassporn Sangasubana – Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Thailand to ASEAN
H.E. Amb. Ade Padmo Sarwono – Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Indonesia to ASEAN
H.E. Ms. Yuyun Wahyuningrum – Representative of Indonesia to AICHR

Session 2:
Ms. Desi Hanara – Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator, ASEAN Parliaments for Human Rights
H.E. Mr. Edmund Bon Tai Soon – Former Representative of Malaysia to AICHR
Ms. Rachel Arini Judhistari – East Asia and ASEAN Programme Manager; FORUM-ASIA

Please register at bit.ly/AICHRat10
If there is any inquiries, please contact us through,
CP: Zika (+62) 896 0152 8543

Press Release: Inclusive Education for Child Refugees

Last Saturday (12/10) ASEAN Studies Center, Sandya Institute, and PolicyLab held a joint event with theme centered around global refugee issues with specialized subjects in Asia. This event invited around 70 to 80 guests from various backgrounds and institutes to come and discuss the rising concern within refugees issues. To accommodate this event five speakers were invited to offer valuable insights to the problem.The overall discussion in the event was divided into three sessions, which firstly discussed about the current overview of global refugee crisis, then about its recent condition in Indonesia and lastly the rights of the refugee in terms of education.

In 2019 UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees) reported that there are 70.8 Million refugees worldwide, a significant rise from 65.4 Million refugees were noted last year. Many refugees were forced to move out from their homes and countries, displaced due to many reasons such as war, facing persecution, fleeing from genocides, natural disaster, etc. The number of refugees and asylum seekers varies in Asian and Oceanian countries, but in particular to Indonesia’s records of refugees and asylum seekers were outdated with the latest number reached 14,000 people and was held in immigration centers in various major cities in Indonesia such as Medan and Surabaya,in addition to that most of these refugees came from Afghanistan, Burma, Thailand, and Pakistan.

This raises the question of what rights the refugees and asylum seekers may receive during their stay inIndonesia, including the rights in receiving education in particular towards children refugees. Formal education is important for the children’s growth as it allows them to build sense of discipline, cognitive skills and satisfying their needs in socializing. Denying children these values most likely will hinder their growth & development in the future.

The Constitution of Indonesia guarantees every person regardless of their differences to receive their right in getting education, firmed through Human Rights Law in 1999where one of its clauses guarantee the right for every persons in Indonesia to receive education rights, therefore normatively this law also including refugees to become the subject of the law as well in receiving education rights. International Children protection law also provides the protection of children refugees on their rights to the education, with specific direction writtern in its preambule, ensuring them to get education while staying in Indonesia. Unfortunately this matter stays in the grey zone of Indonesian legal materials, as there is still no legal frameworks within that actually regulates if children refugees are allowed to attend schools or not, thus authority of such matters were mostly given towards local authorities in the are.

Interestingly, every local administration has their own perspectives on the matter. Some of them are tied to strict hierarchial culture where they will not do anything without a specific order. On the other hand, some took the initiative and starts to work together with NGOs and local schools to accommodate the education for children refugees. It was shown whenIndonesian Ministry of Education gave out circulars to education government offices all accross Indonesia to encourage them accommodating children refugee to local schools, however it is not very effective since local problems are often occupies their attention such as lack of funds, lack of manpower, or lack of infastructure thus making them prioritize local children instead of refugees.

Nevertheless, this shows the lack of policy unity within Indonesia as a decentralized political system still allows local authorities for not taking action at all due to various reasons that are still exist in the region, not to mention the fact that this matter still resides within the grey zone of Indonesia’s law therefore the legality in helping children refugees, while morally right, is still legally questioned.

Press Release ASEAN Youth Forum 2019

ASEAN Youth Forum 2019 was successfully held through the collaboration between ASEAN Youth Forum Committees and ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada in Java Village Resort, Yogyakarta, from 26 September to 28 September 2019.

Attended by 54 delegates from different civil society organizations in ASEAN countries and Timor Leste, the event brought the theme of “Localisation of ASEAN Youth Development Index “Linking ASEAN to the Young People on the Ground”” where they try to address the challenge on campaigning and socializing ASEAN Youth Development Index (YDI) to young people on the ground, such as young people living in remote areas which rarely exposed to ASEAN influence.

On the first day, the participants received keynote address from ASEAN SOMY (Senior Officials Meeting on Youth) Representative of Indonesia from Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia, and Representative from UN Population Funds (UNFPA). The participants were also asked to draw a symbol representing ASEAN that meaningfully engages with young people in a flipchart and then represented their idea to the audience, along with introducing their name and their respective organization.

The discussion then began on the journey of ASEAN Youth Development Index and how it could affect the lives of the young people in ASEAN. The discussion was facilitated by UNFPA representatives and ASEAN SOMY representatives, where they showed the trend of development of young people in different countries all-over ASEAN, and the method of gathering the data. Although one of the biggest challenges in creating ASEAN YDI is data gathering and how to contextualize the data according to the different region, according to the UNFPA representative, however the effort of socializing YDI to young people needs to be continued. The discussion then continued with ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) Representatives from all ASEAN countries, explaining the obstacles each countries facing on youth development. Myanmar still has the ‘homework’ of solving the persecution of Rohingya people in Rakhine state which could hinder the development of the young people there, whereas Indonesia currently in a political turmoil with massive demonstrations held in different cities due to the new bill which weaken the power of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), fines people for being homeless, jailing people for insulting the president, and many more.

Through this session, the participants and AYF Representatives exchange ideas and concerns about their country’s struggle on youth development and how there are abundant things to overcome in order to achieve the youth development that they envision. After the discussion ended, the delegates then divided into different groups and held a Focus Group Discussion with facilitators from AYF discussing different themes of ASEAN YDI, such as health and well-being, education, employment and opportunities, and participation and engagement. The delegates were asked to share the country’s situation on each theme, what are the things that they have done with their organization to contribute to the improvement of each sector, and share ‘best case practices’ of their organization with other delegates. The day then closed with ASEAN Youth Fair, where all the delegates wore their traditional costumes and showcase their food or merchandises of their countries’ culture.

On the second day, the discussion continued with a different theme, this time it is focusing on the role of ASEAN youth in localization of ASEAN YDI through several ways such as national advocacy, social media advocacy, grassroots campaigning, and feedback mechanisms. The participants shared their way of advocating ASEAN YDI through internet and data, lobbying with the political entities, or through grassroots campaigning which trying to reach out the young people at remote areas. They also discussed how to evaluate YDI on young people through specialized mechanism. The discussion then continued with an Action Plan, where all of the delegates wrote their plan on what will they do after they get back to their countries. The event then closed with a Closing Statement from Ferena, AYF Representatives. She encouraged every delegate to do an action, whether it is small or big, to contribute to the development of youth.

Press Release Bincang ASEAN: “Challenges for Civil Society Advocacy on Human Rights in the Next Decade”

Yogyakarta, 30th September 2019
Written by Robbaita Zahra

Yogyakarta – On Friday, 27th of September 2019, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada held Bincang ASEAN with the theme of “Challenges for Civil Society Advocacy on Human Rights in the Next Decade”, bringing Ms. Yuyun Wahyuningrum, the Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) as the speaker.

The discussion started with the elaboration of human rights regime analysis by Donnelly, which consists of: Declaratory, Promotional, Implementation, and Enforcement. Declaratory regime is when a state declare whether or not it acknowledges human rights. Promotional regime refers to the engagement of states in activities such as exchange of information, technical assistance, and other processes where human rights are discussed. A state can be said to be in implementation regime if it has concluded legally binding documents on human rights.  Enforcement is when a State has enforced human rights accordingly. Ms. Yuyun stated that Indonesia is currently in promotional regime going to implementation regime.

Further, the discussion continued with discussing international law. It is important to discuss international law when talking about human rights as it puts state as the main actor of human rights (produce, enforce, monitor). In this context, State has 2 identities: as the offender and protector of human rights. The balance between these identities have to be seen to determine whether or not a State is respecting human rights. However, this dual identity makes the relation between State and international human rights law complicated.

Moving to the discussion about the context and regionalism in ASEAN. Ms. Yuyun explained that ASEAN countries, which previously only discussed about politics and economy, are forced to discuss about human rights within this new regionalism context. There are 3 reasons of State creating regional human rights mechanisms: 1) As the expression of modernity; 2) Compared to international mechanism, regional mechanism is more likely to discuss issues within Southeast Asia; and 3) As the intermediary between national and international system.

 After the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all countries in the world domesticate human rights into their constitutions, including ASEAN countries. Despite this fact, human rights are not included in the establishment of ASEAN. The reasoning behind this is because countries in Southeast Asia do not want to be disturbed by the competition that is happening within the Cold War. However, this does not mean that human rights are not discussed at all in ASEAN. It has to be noted that ASEAN is home for diversities, different from for example EU – which is supranational. Therefore, in talking about human rights, ASEAN has to be careful because it cannot replace the state’s role as the protector of human rights.

With regard to ASEAN human rights system, one of the main part of this is ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which has the function to protect and promote human rights. Ms. Yuyun then proceed to discuss the challenges for civil society. Regional human rights framework in ASEAN is the product of the combination between ASEAN Way, international human rights law, and national interest of ASEAN member states. With this context in mind, the challenges for civil society are: 1) Lack of independency of the AICHR Representatives; 2) Lack of transparency of AICHR’s work; 3) Lack of interest of AICHR Representatives to engage with CSOs; 4) Lack of recognition from AICHR on the role of CSOs/Stakeholders; 5) Lack of member states’ political will to integrate human rights fully in ASEAN regionalism project; 5) Lack of ability and capacity to protect human rights; and 6) Lack of people awareness about its role.

Despite these challenges, AICHR has obtained several achievements during Ms. Yuyun’s period, such as the adoption of ‘Minus X Formula’, meaning that which countries are ready to participate in any scheme, they can go ahead while members who are not ready could join in later. This has opened several discussions which are not being able to be held before due to the difficulty to reach consensus from all member states. Another achievement is the agreement to conclude ‘Recommendation on the Implementation of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration’, successful briefing on Rakhine Crisis, and other various achievements. However, none of these achievements are coming from the request of the people, which is aiming at the protection of human rights. Nonetheless, this can be the starting point of doing so.

Lastly, the discussion ended with a question and answer session. Within this session, Ms. Yuyun explained that the deficit of democracy within countries in Southeast Asia has influenced the development and the dynamic of AICHR. She also explained that knowledge regarding the dynamic of culture and tradition are essential in ASEAN. However, many institutions are not aware of this fact. Therefore, AICHR tries to respond with this by establishing practice, concluding internal documents as future references, and engaging with civil society and students in various countries in ASEAN. This Bincang ASEAN is one of the manifestations of this practice.

Press Release Public Lecture: “The Politics of Leadership Succession: A Comparative Perspective across Democratic and Non-democratic Regimes”

Yogyakarta, 20 August 2019

On Tuesday 20th August 2019, ASEAN Studies Center UGM welcomed the new semester with a public lecture by Professor Ludger Helms from the University if Innsbruck, Austria. In this lecture, Professor Helms talked about his research on leadership succession, and compared leadership transitions between democratic and non-democratic governments. The public lecture was held in Universitas Gadjah Mada’s Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and was moderated by Robbaita Zahra, an intern at ASEAN Studies Center UGM.

The public lecture commenced by questioning the definition of leadership, what exactly constitutes as leadership, and what is specifically required from an individual or a group in order to be recognized as a leader. Professor Helms believed that leaders do not necessarily refer to the incumbent - anyone who is able to inspire and mobilize a group of people to perform actions could also be definitively considered as a leader, regardless of whether their intentions were 'good' or 'bad.'[1] 

Furthermore, Professor Helms also explained the difference between 'successions' and 'transitions' as these two terms are often used synonymously.  In democratic studies, ‘successions’ entail change in political leaders and/or parties, whereas ‘transitions’ mean something else. The difference between the two is best described as such: when a government experiences change in its dominant political party, it is considered a ‘succession’, but when the government only experiences mere reform, it is considered a ‘transition’.

Helms believed that successions are mainly found in non-democratic regimes. Evident authoritarian governments such as dictatorships mainly appoint its successor from close spheres of influence. With the case of monarchies, the king or queen may appoint its successor on familial merits. However, this is not exclusively exercised by non-democratic regimes. In democratic governments, a leader could also find its successor within dynastic families that often play a large role in the government’s authority - occupying parliamentary seats without public notice and driving the country’s policies from the shadows.  However, it is important to note that this is a rare occurrence.

The lecture also highlighted five differences between democratic and non-democratic leadership successions: institutionalization and openness of succession, the existence or absence of term limits, incumbency advantage and longevity, the ability of leaders to pick their own successors, and political dynasties.

One significant finding that Helm’s research brought was that non-democratic governments, that are usually ruled by such autocratic regimes, tend to have much longer ruling periods in comparison to more democratic regimes. The centralization in autocratic regimes also contributes to the adoption and maintenance of a single policy without opposition, which provides an incumbency advantage for the leader. Meanwhile, in democracies, such policies would more likely be safeguarded by the opposition coalition to ensure its execution, limiting the power of the incumbent to single-handedly choose their next successor.

Professor Helms ended the lecture by emphasizing the need to develop a more substantive academic understanding of leadership succession, especially how the study has not been developed as much as its other political science counterparts. He specifically refers to the need for better conceptualization and better data compilation so that the study of leadership succession could further contribute to the study of democracy implementation of various countries.

[1]Professor Helms expressed his dissatisfaction to his colleagues that argue that 'bad' leaders such as Hitler or Stalin, simply referring to them as 'power-wielder.' In his point of view, no matter how 'bad' they are, they can still be considered as a leader as they fulfill the prerequisites, requirements, and what it takes to be a leader.

Written by Daffa Syauqi, Robbaita Zahra, Fara Sheila. Edited by Nisrina H Khotimah. Research interns at the ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada

Internship 2019 #2

Download full poster here

[ASC UPDATE] Internship 2019 Second Term

We have good news!
ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada invites students from various universities in Yogyakarta to join our Internship Program and involves in our 2019 research and program.
Internship period: August – December 2019

Required Documents:
Cover Letter
TOEFL/IELTS/TOEFL Prediction Certificate
Other supporting documents

General Requirements:
1. Must be an active university student or fresh graduate with minimum GPA of 3.25
2. Excellent written and verbal communication skill both in Bahasa and English (at least TOEFL 525/IELTS 6.0)
3. Have an interest on ASEAN Issues
4. Ability to work effectively as a team member and independently with minimum supervision
5. Ability to manage multiple priorities under pressure, and to meet short- and long-term deadlines

Interns in Research Team
1. Experiences in assisting research and publication will be an added value
2. Submitting 300 words of writing sample with a specific theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability in ASEAN”
3. Disciplined to meet publication deadlines

Interns in Program Team
1. Experience in managing national and international event (conference, seminar or public lectures)
2. Knowledge of project funding procedures and guidelines
3. Demonstrated experience in the formulation of cooperation and funding proposals
Interns in Media and Publication Team
1. Able to manage social media and WordPress-based website (Facebook & Instagram, including content planning and writing)
2. Mastered basic graphic design, camera and video editing skill

– Deadline of application 13 July 2019
– Notification of Result for Interview 18 July 2019
– Interview 22-25 July 2019
– Notification of Final Result 29 July 2019

Submit your requirements to: aseansc@ugm.ac.id with subject: Internship ASC UGM Batch II_full name

Press Release Bincang ASEAN “What Can ASEAN Do For Rohingya?”

Yogyakarta, Friday, November 24th, 2018

The series of Bincang ASEAN was concluded with a very problematic discussion over the humanitarian crisis situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. This Bincang ASEAN was commenced on 24 November 2018 with Diah Triceseria as the speaker. The alleged ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority still continues after today. These people who are predominantly lived in Arakan now known as Rakhine State or Western Burma are forced out of the area. Citizenship Act 1982 does not include Rohingya as one of its eight recognized ethnicities. Due to its implementation, they are denied citizenship status by the government. Under this act, they are excluded from eight recognized ethnicities, which include Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (2017), there are 146,500 internally displaced people in Rakhine state[1]. The allegedly ethnic cleansing done by the Burmese security forces resulted in other mass atrocities and humanitarian violence such as raping, torture, killing, as well as more than 480,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh in the search of a more secured living. Human Rights Watch reports that there has been a massive destruction of more than 210 villages in Rakhine State. This issue has attracted international attention, oftentimes generating people’s sympathy calling to help their distant strangers. Human Rights Watch called for an urgent response to address the crisis in the Human Rights Council last September 19, 2017. This issue also appeals U.S. Senators to ask U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and Administrator Green to give a diplomatic influence against Myanmar’s government for not resolving the crisis. There has also been a call for the United Nations Security Council to come up with a resolution by imposing sanctions and an arms embargo on the Burmese military and remain seized in the matter. However, no resolution has been made and no states has been seen willing to intervene directly in Myanmar to address this humanitarian issue.

Recent the Development of the Issue

The International Criminal Court’s pre-trial chamber’s statement made recently this month, says that the leaders of Myanmar could still be investigated for the alleged crimes against humanity- in this case, a forcible transfer of a population. Nonetheless, it is never easy to bring this case before the ICC. Although it seems to us that the ICC could help solve the crisis, the way to get there is still afar from

nearly possible. Myanmar is not a signatory to the court, meaning that the ICC does not have its jurisdiction in the country. The only way to get there is to wait until the refugees enter Bangladesh, a state party to the Rome statute governing the court. Until then, the investigation would be completed.

Diah Triceseria contends that Indonesia has never been a place for the Rohingya refugees to seek shelters. Nonetheless, most of the refugees that transit in Indonesia come from Afganistan and Pakistan; usually they are refugees who want to go to Australia, but stranded in the Indonesian waters because of the ‘turn back the boat’ policy of the Australian government. As a regional intergovernmental organization, ASEAN does not seem to offer much in solving this issue. Through the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance, ASEAN delivered some assistances to the Rohingya.


The ‘non-interference’ principle of ASEAN does not allow the organization to talk about the issue if it relates to the domestic politics of its member state, as what is exactly going on in Myanmar. Thus, the Rohingya are also helpless per se because they could live up their expectation to ASEAN. Many of them decide to go to India as the country has a big Islamic community, aside from the fact that they could also work there. The working permit is also possible to be granted in Malaysia, hence why some go to Malaysia. ASEAN is expected to play larger contribution to this issue regardless.


The situation in Myanmar politics is so muddy to the point that we could not blame Aung San Suu Kyi for not taking action. The situation in which she is put with no choice also worsens the scenario. As the people in Myanmar do not want to acknowledge the Rohingya as part of their people, Aung San Suu Kyi decided to remain silent as she knows that by saying something wrong would risk the country to be controlled again, in a greater scale, by the military who is now still dominating the vital ministries in Myanmar. What is worse is that they have the seats as much as one third of the parliament. Changing the constitution would not be likely too, as it requires simple majority- not possible until the military loses grips on the parliament.

Efforts to repatriate the Rohingya people since mid 2018 has been made by ASEAN, and was discussed (briefly) on ASEAN Summit with the conclusion of “sending a regional task force to assist in the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar”. It is scheduled that the transfer of the first batch of 2,260 Rohingya from camps in Bangladesh to temporary detention facilities across the border in

Myanmar’s Rakhine State would be done before the end of 2018 nobody is willing to return. This shows that hopes are still small for the Rohingya to feel secure again to go back there. In this case, the solidarity among ASEAN Member States would not be sufficient to change the course of politics in Myanmar, I would argue, but still hold firm that it would alleviate the human sufferings for the Rohingya minority by giving them aids and assistance in our best capacity.

[1] Council, Internal. 2017. “IDMC » Myanmar IDP Figure Analysis”. Internal-Displacement.Org. http://www.internal-displacement.org/south-and-south-east-asia/myanmar/figures-analysis.

Written by Kevin Iskandar Putra, research intern at the ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada

Press Release Bincang ASEAN “Gender in ASEAN”

Yogyakarta, Friday, November 9th, 2018

The ASEAN Studies Center UGM and ASEAN Studies Center UMY held its first collaborated Bincang ASEAN entitled “Gender in ASEAN” at Amphitheater E6 K.H Ibrahim Building, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta.


This event featured Dr. Nur Azizah, M.Si. (Head of International Relations Department Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta & Researcher at ASEAN Studies Center UMY and Karina Larasati, S.IP. (Junior Researcher, ASEAN Studies Center, UGM) as the moderator.  250 undergraduate and postgraduate student across Yogyakarta and Central Java participated in this event.


On this occasion, Dr. Nur Azizah, M.Si. addressed the misconception about gender in society and how important it is to understand gender and further differentiate it with the term” sex”. She explained that today, the issue of gender is being politicized and associated with the power division in the government. As consequences, the attention to gender issues is often ruled out where in the end women do not get maximum political space as desired by the relevant legislation and defenders of women’s rights.


Furthermore, she emphasizes that in ASEAN, the issue of gender is still under-explored. If compared to European countries, awareness of gender equality can be said to be quite lagging behind. Yet, this does not mean that gender issue is truly dead in the region. In 1975, ASEAN established the ASEAN Sub-committee on Women (ASW), followed by a meeting in Makati, Philippines to determine ASEAN’s strategy in responding to the United Nations International Decade for Women (1975-1985). In 1981 the ASW was changed to AWP (the ASEAN Women’s Program) until it ended with the name of the ASEAN Committee on Women the year after.


It is good news for gender equality defenders that in recent times, various gender mainstreaming initiatives have emerged in the region. All in all, ASEAN has done a great job in increasing gender equality within its region. However, she further emphasizes that there are constraints and challenges need to be considered, such as lack of data availability, resources, and funding. There will be lots of improvements to be done, and the actions need to be taken to do a grander job. This Bincang the ASEAN exchange center between ASEAN Studies Center UGM and the ASEAN Studies Center UMY.


Written by Karina Larasati and Raissa Almira, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada

Press Release Bincang ASEAN “Transnational Activism for Migrant Workers in Asia: The Case of Indonesia and the Philippines”

Yogyakarta, October 26th 2018

Yogyakarta – On Friday, October 26, 2018, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada held the fourth edition of Bincang ASEAN 2018. Approximately 50 students and practitioners across Yogyakarta, Central Java and West Java registered on this Bincang ASEAN #4 held in BA 201 Room FISIPOL UGM on October 26th, 2018. On this edition, Ezka Amalia, MA (ASEAN Studies Center UGM Researcher) disseminatedher dissertation findings about “Transnational Activism for Migrant Workers in Asia: The Case of Indonesia and the Philippines”. This discussion also had Raissa Almira (ASEAN Studies Center UGM Research Intern) moderating.

Firstly, Ezka described the status quo of labor migration in Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia and Philippines. She also characterized the detail of Indonesia as a migrant worker sending country and the regulations within the country managing the migrant protection. It includes the advocacy maneuvers of Indonesian migrant worker in articulating their peers’ voice. Consecutively, same explanations were also given concerning Philippines as major migrant sending country.

Simultaneously, the dissertation indeed also explains the migrant worker destination country: Hong Kong. She presented the statistics of Hong Kong as receiving country and the advocacy network of both Indonesian and Philippines migrant worker in that country, that is also known to have a prominent regulations protecting the foreigners working there. These explanations were followed by personal stories of migrant workers re-told by Ezka. 

At the end of the presentation, Ezka discloses the reason behind the difference of advocacy model done by Philippines and Indonesia concerning the migrant worker protection. The metric of the comparison was mainly the domestic structure the two countries. Specifically, Indonesia and Philippines has different civil society tradition and characteristic of network.


(Written by Rafyoga Jehan Pratama Irsadanar, research intern in ASEAN Studies Center UGM)