On January 11 and 13, 2019, members of the South Asian civil society networks, the NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN), national member of the international network for civil society Forus, the South Asia Poverty Alleviation Alliance (SAAPE) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) gathered in Colombo for a meeting convened by South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) to share perspectives on the strengthening of collaborations for civil societies in the South Asian region.
- Develop liberal visa policies to facilitate people-to-people interaction and engagement;
- Explore the convergence of economic interests to promote connectivity and cooperation;
- Host the delayed 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad and facilitate meaningful participation of South Asian civil society in all SAARC processes and programs;
- Work towards a trans-boundary common policy based on resource-sharing, devolution, local government, fisheries, environmental protection, trade regimes, customs and labor migration;
- Cooperate to develop highest standards in democratic values, fundamental rights and freedoms, human and civil rights, inclusion and social justice;
- Cooperate to protect journalists and human rights defenders;
- Strengthen accountability mechanisms for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is important to ensure access to these mechanisms by the vulnerable and marginalized.
- Build alliances across borders to develop strategic responses and defend democracy;
- Energize the fight for constitutional democracy against the rise of radical populism.
- Establish national and international funding to respond to the decline in financial support for all South Asian activities.
- Promote exchanges between academics and activists to conceptualize the idea of South Asian regionalism, and thus promote the peace of the South Asian cooperation.
- Sensitize governments to regional cooperation involving citizens and representatives of the civil society in a collective work for the improvement of the social, political, economic and cultural conditions of South Asian populations.
Deekshya Illangasinghe, South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR)
Lakshan Dias, South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR)
Dr. Aminath Jamil, South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR)
Nastasia Paul Gera, Sangat
Rita Manchanda, South Asian Forum for Human Rights (SAFR)
Arjun Bhattari, Peoples’ SAARC
Ammar Ali Jan, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)
Jatin Desai, The Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD)
Kanak Dixit, Himal Southasian
Aunohita Mojumdar, Himal Southasian
Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International Sri Lanka
Raju Chapagai, Amnesty International Sri Lanka
John Samuel, Forum Asia
Evan Jones, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN)
Swarna Rajgopalan, Women’s Regional Network (WRN)
Chandanie Watawala, ANFREL
Dilrukshi Handunnetti, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Deanne Uayangoda, Frontline Defenders
Nalini Ratnarajah, International Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
Khushi Kabir, Bangladesh
Bharat Bhushan, India
Kalpana Dutta, India
Hari Sharma, Alliance for Social Dialogue (ASD) Nepal
Herman Kumara, National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NAFSO)
Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda, Sri Lanka
* This declaration was adopted on 13 January at the Meeting of Regional Networks held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.