On Thursday, 10 November 2016, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio A. Morales delivered the closing remarks at the 16th Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights, which was held on 8-10 November 2016 at the China Administrative Center of Sports for Persons with Disabilities in Beijing, China. Ambassador Morales participated in the Seminar in his capacity as PHL Board Governor of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
Ambassador Morales is also the Technical Coordinator for the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, which co-organized the Seminar with ASEF, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (nominated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
The Seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) and the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL).
The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights series started in 1997, the aim of which is to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between Europe and Asia in the area of political dialogue, particularly on human rights issues. ASEF has served as the Seminar’s Secretariat since 2000. The focus of this year’s Seminar is on “Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities”.
In his remarks, Ambassador Morales thanked the co-organizers, the hosts from China, the ASEF headed by Executive Director Ambassador Karsten Wernecke and the people at the China Administrative Center for Sports of Persons with Disabilities for their collective effort in making the Seminar a huge success. He also recognized the speakers, moderators, rapporteurs and the participants for their active engagement during the plenaries and working group discussions.
Ambassador Morales mentioned that he is proud to also represent the Philippines , which for a long time, has attached great importance to the issue of persons with disabilities (PWDs). He underscored the relevance of the topic of the Seminar as the Philippines assumes the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017. Human rights is one of the key priorities of the Philippine chairmanship under the theme, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World. He said that under its ASEAN chairmanship, the Philippines hopes to push for stronger regional cooperation to advance the cause of human rights in ASEAN to complement the work of other regional mechanisms like ASEM and ASEF.
Ambassador Morales was joined in the Seminar by First Secretary Mersole J. Mellejor of the Philippine Embassy in Singapore; DSWD Director Minda Brigoli, the official representative of the Philippines; and Mr. Ronnel del Rio, Founding President of the Philippine Chamber of the Massage Industry of the Visually Impaired, Inc.