The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) helped co-organize and participated in the recently-concluded biennial conference of the Asia Pacific Research Network, or APRN.
Entitled “Resisting Militarism, Building People’s Power and Democracy”, the two-day conference, that happened in Tokyo, Japan on May 6 and 7, gathered participants from all over Asia Pacific to discuss the current trends of war and militarism in the region as well as those happening at the national and local levels. Resource speakers from Japan and across the region gave meaningful input on the topic.
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. congresswoman and current professor at the North South University in Bangladesh, centered her keynote speech on the current political developments in the United States and how Trump’s warmongering contributes to the political tension build up in Asia Pacific. She highlighted the US pivot in Asia and the threat it has on many nations here. This was followed through with contributions from speakers from Japan stating how the Japanese government is attempting to change its Constitution, particularly Article 9, to “become a warmongering nation”.
The APMM conducted a workshop focusing on the Migration and Militarism with discussions focusing on the impacts war and militarism have on migrants and refugees. The workshop discussed in-depth: 1) the “endless wars” in the Arab region, with one particularly currently happening in Syria, and the droves of refugees these wars have developed; and 2) the rise of military governments in the region, for example in Myanmar, where marginalized peoples like the Rohingya have been targeted.
Statements and resolutions that came out of the APMM-organized workshop, together with those that came out of five other workshops, were incorporated in the conference statement that was discussed at the end of the second day.
The conference was concluded with a protest action in Yokohama, where the Asian Development Bank held its 50th annual gathering.
The APMM is a member of the APRN, a regional network of alternative research centers of non-government institutions and social movements that work on development issues affecting the peoples in the region. APMM was part of the hosting committee for the conference with its country coordinator for Japan taking the lead. Two more representatives from APMM joined the conference.
General Council Meeting
On May 8, the APRN conducted its General Council (GC) Meeting in Tokyo, Japan. The outdoing members of the Board of Convenors (BOC) joined the APRN secretariat in reporting activities and initiatives the network has been involved with in the past two years.
Discussions likewise focused on the proposed stratplan from the BOC followed by the election of a new set of BOC. Both APMM director Ramon Bultron and APMM program officer Rey Asis were present during the GC meeting – in which Asis finished his term as outgoing member of the BOC and Bultron elected into the current BOC and consequently elected as the platform’s new chairperson.