Democracy and Governance

SOOA PH Voting Day

Democracy, human rights, and governance are part of our core programmatic work in Southeast and East Asia. Over the past few decades, we have established successful working partnerships with various leaders, institutes, and organizations that share our values for societies with stronger democracies, enhanced human rights, and improved governance.

Our programs at the country and regional level strive to:

  • Highlight the importance of individual freedom as a key building bloc of open, dynamic and just societies.
  • Support democratic processes and political dialogues in the region so as to strengthen democratic institutions.
  • Engage the broader public in understanding democratic principles while empowering them to engage in expanding their freedom and rights.
  • Advocate the strengthening of human rights mechanisms and processes so that vulnerable and underrepresented groups benefit from the enhancement of human rights in the region.

With the commitment of our country teams and continued regional efforts we have:

  • Successfully established long-term partnerships with both regional and local organizations and networks that the foundation continues to support in carrying out various projects, activities, and initiatives within Southeast and East Asia. Two of these include the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats and The Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism.
  • Established positive working relations with different democratic parties in the region to support capacity building of young democratic leaders, professionalization of party management and values-based strategic political communication.
  • Helped to foster closer discussions and links between liberal and democratic political forces in Asia around shared concerns such as free trade, response to populism, and combating climate change, to name a few.
  • Supported the development of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration through The Working Group, which resulted in the adoption of the Declaration by ASEAN member states and the inclusion of a Human Rights component in the ASEAN charter.
  • Supported constructive dialogue between ASEAN governments and civil society organizations from the region to deepen the Human Rights Agenda of ASEAN.
  • Established the Dream Thailand through our country team’s creative approach in creating a platform to provide the broader public a venue to discuss challenges and prospects for Thailand’s growth and development. So far we have had over 5,000 participants in these platforms covering all parts of the country.
  • Strongly supported political decentralization, the empowerment of local government and the promotion of citizens’ participation in local politics as a grass-root democracy of the Republic of Korea. With a close partnership with the Center for Local Autonomy, our team in South Korea reached out to thousands of local civil servants, local politicians and politically interested citizens since 1987. Also it contributes to raising public awareness on the benefits of decentralization in Korea, a country with highly centralized political and economic system. 
  • Shared the unique German experience with being a divided country. Through the work of the foundation in Korea, our team has helped both South and North Korea be prepared for the moment when they have a chance to overcome the division.