ASEAN and statelessness in Southeast Asia (Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada)
‘What does ASEAN mean for the people of Southeast Asia?’ and ‘Can ASEAN make a difference in the lives of the people of Southeast Asia?’ are probably among the most pressing questions being raised as politically-designed integration in the form of ASEAN Community approaches. At issue is the fact that the ASEAN Charter, upon which ASEAN Community is built, consists of contradictory values and principles. On the one hand, the Charter clearly refers to human rights and democracy as important values and principles of ASEAN Community. At the same time, however, ASEAN Charter also keeps the very principles of non-interference as well as respect for sovereignty and national integrity intact. One of the most serious consequences is that no significant change is taking place with the establishment of ASEAN Community in the sense that ASEAN Community does not necessarily bring any significant improvement to the life of many Southeast Asians. This is especially true in relation to the issue of security. While ASEAN Community is supposed to transform Southeast Asia into a security community, many Southeast Asians continue to live in states of insecurity. This research project addresses the failure of ASEAN to provide security to many of its people. While statelessness is a serious issue in Southeast Asia, no serious effort has been done at the regional level to deal with the issue. This research departs from the argument that a more integrated Southeast Asia does not only fail to improve the security of the stateless people, but also tends to worsen their state of insecurity.