FORUM-ASIA Open Letter to the Asian Development Bank23rd March 2005
Asian Development Bank is an important partner in the reconstruction of Tsunami-hit areas. Its financial commitment accounts for a significant potion of overall pledges made by governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental donors. Thus, we welcome the initiative of the ADB in conveying a High Level Coordination Meeting on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Tsunami-Affected Countries.However, we very much regret the restrictions placed on civil society participation at this meeting, by only allowing civil society groups that the ADB country offices deemed fit, to participate. This procedure automatically excluded hundreds of local, national and regional civil society groups from participating and contributing. This selective way of inviting participants is in contrast to the open and inclusive approach adopted at previous regional forums on post Tsunami work (E.g. Asian Civil Society Consultation on Post Tsunami Challenges and the Forum on Tsunami and Human Rights organized by the Office of the Regional Representative’s of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bangkok)
Going through the opening address of the ADB President and the ADB Press releases after the meeting, we also see that three very important dimensions highlighted by various stakeholders, particularly affected communities, have not been emphasized in the meeting.
Human rights implications of the tsunami and it’s aftermath. The meeting seems to have ignored human rights issues related to the tsunami and it’s aftermath, pointed out by many civil society groups and NGOs, as well as the Special Procedures of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The importance of conflict sensitive and pro-peace rehabilitation and reconstruction – in the context of Aceh and North and East of Sri Lanka
The importance of the participation of affected communities in all rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, including decision making
We are hopeful that the ADB can review it’s policies and projects, to integrate the above cross cutting principles into their overall tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
FORUM-ASIA is willing to collaborate and dialogue with ADB in this regard and believe that a more inclusive approach will best serve the interests of the victims.
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