Theme: The Challenge for Human Rights under the new ASEAN Charter
The ASEAN Charter was adopted at the 13th ASEAN Summit in November 2007 and came into force in December with a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Jakarta.
Beyond rules of membership and ASEAN's vision for single free trade area by 2015, the ASEAN Charter affirms that among others, one of ASEAN's purposes is "to strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms..."
Article 14 of the ASEAN Charter goes as far as to commit that "ASEAN shall establish an ASEAN human rights body." Given such developments and continuing concerns, the SEAPA Journalism Fellowship 2009 provided the platform for journalists to explore challenges for democracy and human rights in the region.