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Activists gather ahead ASEAN summit

Two thousand Cambodian activists and members of grassroots networks, along with 200 grassroots activists from the ASEAN region, will gather in Phnom Penh this week to discuss topics including food security and sovereignty, trade and investment.

Held by the Cambodian Cross-Sector Network, the ASEAN Grassroots People’s Assembly (AGPA) is a four-day event beginning on Tuesday ahead of the ASEAN leaders' second summit as part of a movement by the people of Southeast Asia to become more engaged in their governance.

“This is the opportunity and space for us to raise our voice also to share the solidarity with other people from ASEAN countries,” Ly Pisey, from Social Action for Change and the AGPA general organising committee, said during a media briefing yesterday.

In workshops and forums, participants will share issues and find solutions to problems faced by nations in the region.

Issues faced in Cambodia and across ASEAN include poor working conditions, the low wages of workers from the formal and informal economic sectors and a lack of employment among youth, a press release said.

Chea Sopherk, a board member of the Farmer and Nature Network, said delegates would discuss free-trade agreements and investment and how they  affected the agricultural sector and food security.

Other focal issues for the event are labour, natural resources and livelihood, as well as human rights and democracy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne Renzenbrink at anne.renzenbrink@phnompenhpost.com

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