Youth: Open Space #8 : Democracy and Youth
There is a link between democracy and human rights as stated in UDHR 21(3): The will of people shall be the basis of the authority of government”.
The coronavirus pandemic has been noted as a crisis that may impair democracy and potent to the increase of authoritarianism. In Southeast Asia, the ASEAN Member States’ responses have been authoritative. The pattern shows a trend in which the situation regarding the democracy, the right to freedom of expression and of the press, of information, of association and of assembly are very alarming.
On the 29th of November (Sunday), ASEAN Youth Forum conducted the seventh Youth: Open Space for youth to discuss Technology, Youth, and Digital Security through youth-perspective. Over 30 youth in Southeast Asia attended the session. The participating youth are coming from 8 countries, which are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam.
It was an entirely youth-led discussion, co-hosted by Aya from Vietnam, Virakbot from Cambodia, Wafa from Indonesia, and Jourdane from The Philippines.
Here are some highlights from the session
The democratization level in Myanmar has risen a little bit, but I don't really think it is because of the government. The more because of the government don't have the capability or doing any definite action
From July 29, all the youth in Malaysia can start to vote during the age of 18. It is good news to us, But behind that amendment there are a lot of critics who have said that the youth in Malaysia are not ready for responsibility for voting, But then speaking of this we can said that the youth percentage participation are more up number by the older people.
Youth involvement in democracy in Vietnamese ia a tough question for me because the Vietnamese is not democratic country. So everything about democracy quit hard to describe. We don't speak about democracy. Yes we do have youth involvement in democracies but not directly but through another organisation that they can somehow work actively without being controlled or stalked by the government. So it's very restricted and difficult for youth to involve in democratic things in Vietnamese.
The challenges that youth face in Malaysian is basically where all people (older people) demand respect from the youth but they are not are not earning respect where all the people suppose to be respected. That was one of challenges in Malaysia faced because of that the youth are always discriminated.
Youth movements in democracy in Vietnam are mostly individuals through social media. But youth in Vietnam didn't really have much engagement with the government. We aren't encouraged to talk about democracy in our country
So, my opinion on democracy during a pandemic, Brunei is adopting the absolute governance system right. And relation to the government in pandemic, Bruenian and government have been working collectively together, we manage the group as early as in May. We actually show the sense of democracy for citizens.
Berlyanna, Brunei Darussalam
In Philippines the government is forced to be accountable in everything because the youth is not shallow. They can call out, call out, and call out the government
Bunny, The Philippines
In the Philippines, female is less likely participate than males. Because is somehow Philipino tradition only males are able to lead or something. There is also another tradition in Philippine youth can’t trace or participate in policy decision making because they are still young and they are linking us about to you go study.
Jourdane, The Philippines
We elect someone or candidate for us to be citizens to be represented in the government, but my concern is we are not well represented because corrupt officials are always a challenge. They try to abuse the Philippines voters.
Rustom, The Philippines
I guess I want to share my own perspective, the government in Cambodia doesn’t really caring much the social workers and the youth activist in Cambodia. The government doesn’t listen to what the youth say.