AJAR hosts and facilitates South-South exchanges, regional trainings and workshops, comparative research and other collaborative programs designed to increase capacity and strengthen linkages between stakeholders working to strengthen accountability and human rights in the Asia-Pacific region.
AJAR’s more recent regional activities, include:
- On 26 November – 2 December 2012, AJAR conducted a week-long course on Transitional Justice in the Asia Pacific Region. Participants included representatives of the Office of the President of the Philippines and negotiators of the peace agreement in Mindanao, Myanmar actors working in conflict areas and on issues of gender-based violations, senior Sri Lankan civil society representatives working on reconciliation, accountability and justice arising from violations at the end of the civil war, Timor Leste government and civil society leaders working on establishing a follow up institution to implement the recommendations of the national truth commission (the CAVR,) and Indonesians working on a range of cases of mass killings and other violations during the New Order military dictatorship. International experts from Africa, Asia and Latin America presented case studies of transitional justice experiences in those regions and the final days were spent in collaboratively developing national strategic work plans for transitional justice activities for the following year.
- Victims of human rights violations from Aceh, Indonesia and Timor-Leste conducted a joint action research project on memory and trauma. Learning to use digital camera and recorders, victims conducted research on the issues faced by their communities. After conducting interviews and facilitating community discussions with about 90 victims in Aceh and Timor-Leste, the researchers concluded that in order for society to recover from conflict, ongoing acknowledgement and material support for victims need to be designed into development policies long after (and before) transitional mechanisms have been carried out. For women victims, social economic losses related to the violations they experienced, and the subsequent discrimination, continue to impact on their ability to fend for themselves and their families. In contexts where mass violations took place, government apathy in responding to the demands of family members of the disappeared and judicial blockages to victim’s access to justice, create a simmering distrust towards the state. Developing ways to strengthen victim’s organizations, and including victims in research and advocacy on their issues, are long term social investment needed to secure sustainable peace and the rule of law.
- The impact of serious human rights violations against women victims often continues for decades, including ongoing discrimination, poverty and violence. AJAR is leading a participatory research program with women survivors in Indonesia, Myanmar and Timor Leste to learn more of this often hidden phenomena and develop strategies for positive change, using digital photos and other participatory methods. Focusing in areas where mass gender-based violations took place, 25 women survivors and activists are working together to develop participatory tools to document their own stories, map the social economic impact of violence, and challenges to accessing justice and government services. The aim of the project is to increase protection and promotion of rights of women survivors of violence through trainings, research, regional exchanges, and strengthening solidarity in order that women survivors of violence can play a role in shaping their own future free from violence.