We, the members of civil society organisations , social movements, labour unions, and women’s groups from across South Asia, have gathered here in Kathmandu, Nepal from 25 -26 February 2016 at the Regional Consultation of Citizens’ Voices, as part of the process of regional civil society empowerment, to reiterate the strengthened vision for peoples voices in South Asia.

We emphasise the peoples’ commitment to creating a tolerant, democratic, equal, peaceful, inclusive and just South Asia, free from all forms of discrimination and marginalisation.

We recognise that while the State has the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights, this is not possible without the active engagement of the people.

We recognize the rich diversity of cultures, languages, religions and a multiplicity of identities that link us by shared histories, geographies and cultural practices. We must collectively stand against all structures of oppression, discrimination and violence facing the people of the region.

We uphold the equal sovereignty and independence of all countries in the region and call upon them to work for the regional peace. We endorse discourses on democratic inclusivity and participatory political processes which respect national and local priorities; take into consideration the very real inequalities between the different states in the region; and inequalities within the states in various forms.

We support the people’s movements for democracy and peace against authoritarianism that are ongoing in the countries in the region. We salute the families of the disappeared persons and the victims and survivors of conflict and numerous people who are constantly engaged in such struggles where for justice with unwavering determination despite the manifold risks to their personal security and the safety of their loved ones.

We are concerned with the use of religion as a tool for discrimination and persecution against women and minority communities; and sometimes even in secular States, where while the constitution guarantees equality irrespective of caste, class, ethnicity, religion or gender, attacks on religious minorities and their places of worship are committed with impunity.

Following discussions at the consultation we affirm our commitment to achieving the following goals and aspirations:

We pledge to continue to learn, inspire and empower each other in making citizens’ voices heard in the region.

We call upon the South Asian Governments to seriously heed these concerns and effectively address them, actively engage with citizens towards transparent and accountable governance, and enforce constitutional guarantees and freedoms for the people towards a just and peaceful South Asia.