First General Assembly of Asia Alliance Against Torture (A3T) on December 1-3, 2019 in Malaysia
Asia Alliance Against Torture (A3T), as a newly formed regional level initiative of organizations working throughout Asia on prevention and accountability of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, convened its very first General Assembly (GA) on December 1 – 3, 2019, at Hotel Armada, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The event was attended by member organizations, embassies, media, local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The GA itself is a follow-up to the preparatory meeting held on March 13 – 14, 2019, in Jakarta, which agreed that the GA would be held in Malaysia and organized by both KontraS, as the A3T secretariat, and SUARAM, as the host.
Upon the first year of the establishment of the alliance, it is important for the member organizations to hold a meeting to discuss and share experiences, establish the framework, activity plan, and elect the member organizations to act as the executive committee and secretariat for the next three years. Therefore, the GA is a fundamental backbone for the sustainability of the alliance.
The three-day event begins with the organizational meeting which approves members of alliance, all of the internal documents, and annual work plan of the alliance. The organizational meeting was followed by the election of the executive committee and secretariat for the next three years, which appointed Advocacy Forum (Nepal), MUSAWI (Pakistan), SUARAM (Malaysia), Lokataru (Indonesia) as the executive committee and KontraS as the secretariat. The second day was an executive committee meeting, which was followed by private meeting between the executive committee and potential partners for the alliance. The third and also the last day of the GA was a public event. It began with remarks from Sevan Doraisamy (Executive Director of SUARAM), as a host, and representative from Malaysian Minister of Justice. The event was followed by the overview presentation of the accountability for torture in Asia from Yati Andriyani (Coordinator of KontraS), as a secretariat.
The public event was followed by two panel discussions. The first panel discussion is about the protection mechanisms for torture victims, led by Sevan Doraisamy as a moderator of this discussion. Meanwhile the speakers are Cristina Sevilla (PAHRA – Coordinator of OMCT’s litigators group in Asia), Jacqueline Ann de Guia (Human Rights Commission of the Philippines), Reema Omer (International Commission of Jurist – South Asia Team). The second panel discussion is about lessons and perspectives about strategic litigation in Asia, moderated by Masha Lisitsyna (Open Society Justice Initiative). The speakers of the discussion are Fatima Yasmin Bokhari (MUSAWI), Mandira Sharma (Advocacy Forum), Pornpen Khongkhachonkiet (Cross Cultural Foundation), and Upul Kumarapperuma (Right to Life). The last day event was closed by Mandira Sharma as the executive committee of A3T.
The very first General Assembly became a milestone in the history of the A3T, as a collective work and mechanism from civil society to end torture and impunity in Asia countries.