Seoul Democracy Declaration

Institutionalization of civil society
December 17, 2013
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Asia Democracy Network (ADN) Founding Assembly successfully launches in Seoul, Korea
“Seoul Democracy Declaration and ADN Charter of Principles” Adopted
Seoul, Korea – October 22, 2013 – In the name of progressing democracy in Asia, over 80 participants from 50 civil society groups representing 20 countries in Asia were present at the Asia Democracy Network (hereafter, ADN) Founding Assembly held at the Seoul Olympic Parktel in Bangi-dong Seoul, Korea on October 21,2013. In solidarity the participants voiced their opinions and developed the Charter of Principles and adopted the Seoul Democracy Declaration.
The Asia Democracy Network Founding Assembly was held on 21 and 22 of October 2013 at the Seoul Olympic Parktel in the presence of approximately 80 participants representing 50 civil society organizations from 20 Asian countries. Participants as far as Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Mongolia were a few countries that were represented.
Secretary General of Community of Democracies (CoD), Maria Leissner, gave congratulatory remarks at the launching ceremony, quoting that “The CoD was also launched in Seoul in 2002 at a ministry level conference and since then have developed successfully.” Noting the coincidence of the launch of CoD and ADN, Leissner wished “for the success of the ADN to progress democracy in Asia through the fruitful cooperation among the democracy community.” Sung-heon Chung, President of the Korea Democracy Foundation, and Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, also gave congratulatory remarks at the launching ceremony.
The ADN founding assembly was also in the presence of renowned democracy activists that fought for democracy from the ground up. Civil society leaders and activists like Nepali Democracy activist Sushil Pyakurel and Burmese Democracy movement leader Ming Ko Naing actively participated and presented the current status of democracy in their respective countries. Ming Ko Naing was quoted that, “Many Burmese have received much inspiration from Korea in the democracy movement, now with the ADN launching in Seoul I wish for the success and progress of democracy in Burma and in greater Asia.” Both Pyakurel and Naing are recipients’ of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights respectively 2009 and 2010.
The launch of ADN put into place the steering committee to continue the network. The 11 regional and sub-regional organizations that were selected including Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), South East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Transparency International (TI), Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and the Asia Development Alliance (ADA), South East Asia Committee for Advocacy (SEACA) and People’s SAARC.
This year’s ADN launching assembly was a co-effort by the Korea Democracy Network (KDN) consisting of the Korea Democracy Foundation (KDF), East Asia Institute (EAI), Center for Korean Women and Politics (CKWP), and the Korea Human Rights Foundation (KHRF).
ADN was successfully carried out with the adoption of the Seoul Democracy Declaration and the ADN Charter of Principles. It was also determined that the ADN secretariat will be established in Korea.
ADN aims to be a CSO-led multi-stakeholders’ platform among democracy advocates and human rights defenders who are dedicated to the strengthening of democracy and human rights in Asia; especially on issues related to defending civil society and democratic space, freedom of expression, association and assembly, democracy education, democratic and equitable development.
Hyung-sik SHIN, Korea Democracy Network / Korea Democracy Foundation
Anselmo LEE, Korea Democracy Network / Korea Human Rights Foundation
Soo SUH, International Communication, Interim Secretariat