From October 13-15th, 2019, Universitas Jember hosted researchers and advocates from a variety of human rights foci including women’s and disability rights, environmental justice, and religious freedom. The interdisciplinary conference was attended by participants and panellists from countries across Asia. Participants from Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, and the Philippines were in attendance. The organizational fabric of the conference was international as well. Co-organizers included the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), the Journal of Southeast Asian Human Rights, Gender Studies faculty of Universitas Jember, and SEPAHAM Indonesia.

The event opened with a karawitan performance from local artists showcasing the traditional music of Java and a welcoming dinner in which participants became acquainted with each other and with Jember. Two days of conversations about challenges to justice, as well as how to address human rights issues through effective political and social change, followed. Monday, October 14th, opened with a plenary session on the complex status of religious freedom in Indonesia and closed with another that expounded the significance Myanmar’s complicated socio-political state as symbolic for the larger field of human rights. To round out the academic consideration, Tuesday was closed with a plenary session led by WFD about governance and the role of post-legislative scrutiny for reaching political goals.

Where the conference is unique in its disciplinary scope and international attendance, it is also significant in the development of CHRM2 as a leader in human rights research and knowledge-sharing. The conference marks CHRM2’s continued efforts to enlist international and interdisciplinary attention on human rights considerations in Southeast Asia.

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