AICHR

ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

  • The AICHR Annual Report 2016
  • Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 23-24 July 2016, Vientiane, Lao PDR
  • Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 2-3 July 2016, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Press Release: 2nd Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 29 June – 1 July 2016, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Press Release: AICHR Workshop on Effective Communication Strategies to Combat Trafficking in Persons, 23 – 24 June 2016, Nha Trang, Viet Nam
  • Press Release: AICHR Regional Forum on Media and Human Rights in ASEAN, 16 & 17 May 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The AICHR Annual Report 2016

Posted on: 1 August, 2016

This Annual Report covers the period between July 2015 and June 2016.

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened six AICHR Meetings, which included Special Meetings, and organised a series of activities in line with the annual Priority Programmes/Activities 2015/2016 for the period under review. In 2015, the AICHR convened workshops on ASEAN legal instruments on human rights, environment and climate change, rights of persons with disabilities, and trafficking in persons (TIP). The AICHR also held two regional events involving youths from all ten ASEAN Member States (AMS) to raise awareness of human rights among the young people of the region.

In support of the work of other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies dealing with human rights issues, the AICHR and the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) co-organised a Workshop on the “Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children” in November 2015.

On the external relations front, the AICHR, together with the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), and the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) met with the European Union for the first ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights.

Another notable progress in the work of the AICHR include the operationalization of the Guidelines on AICHR’s Relations with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the granting of ‘Consultative Relationship’ status to eleven organisations. A new thematic study on women affected by natural disasters has commenced and is due for completion in 2017.

The AICHR has embarked on their second Five-Year Work Plan 2016-2020 with emphasis on a programmatic approach and regularisation of activities, for example, the second phase of the programme on the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities. The beginning of 2016 saw a transition in the AICHR with eight new Representatives to the AICHR – from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Viet Nam – assuming office.

In line with the recommendation of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) on Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and Reviewing the ASEAN Organs, the unit in the ASEAN Secretariat supporting the AICHR, now renamed as the Human Rights Division, moved from the ASEAN Community and Corporate Affairs Department (CCAD) to the ASEAN Political-Security Community Department (APSC) to provide dedicated support to the AICHR.

 The full report is available for download:

  The AICHR Annual Report 2016 (481.3 KiB, 396 hits)

Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 23-24 July 2016, Vientiane, Lao PDR

Posted on: 25 July, 2016

The Special Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was convened on 23 – 24 July 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

The Meeting conducted its annual interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers at the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM). At this fifth interface, the AICHR submitted its Annual Report 2016 to the AMM which sets out the programmes and activities undertaken over the past year, and provided its observations and the challenges. The AMM endorsed the Priority Programmes/Activities of the AICHR 2017.

During this two-day meeting, the AICHR deliberated on upcoming activities to be undertaken this year. As part of its endeavor to strengthen interaction with other ASEAN Organs and Bodies, the AICHR in collaboration with the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN will co-organise a Panel Discussion on the Socialisation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) which aims to highlight the good work that ASEAN is doing to protect its people by its all-inclusive approach to address trafficking. As a follow-up to one of the recommendations from the previous Workshop, the Meeting agreed to organise the 3rd AICHR workshop relating human rights, environment and climate change, the AICHR Workshop on the Rights Based Approach to Regional Management Strategy for an Effective Environmental Assessment.

In its effort to contribute to the building of a rules-based, people-centered and people oriented ASEAN Community, the Meeting agreed to organise the AICHR Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices regarding International Human Rights Law and Human Rights Cases in Domestic Courts. One of the objectives of this activity is to encourage greater peer-to-peer interaction between relevant stakeholders such as judges, AICHR representatives, and other ASEAN relevant sectorial bodies such as ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM) and ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM).

The Meeting took note of the reports of several activities the AICHR has been conducting this year, and extensively discussed on the new thematic study the AICHR is embarking upon, the Thematic Study on the Right to Education, as well as one of its new initiatives to be undertaken in 2017 which pertains to the right to safe drinking water & sanitation. The Meeting was also briefed on the progress on the establishment of Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Lao PDR for the gracious hospitality and excellent arrangements of the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place at the last week of October in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.

 

Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 2-3 July 2016, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Posted on: 5 July, 2016

The Special Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was convened on 2 – 3 July 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Prior to this, the AICHR had conducted its 2nd Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from 29 June – 1 July, 2016.

During the Meeting, the AICHR reviewed the progress of its work since their last meeting held at the ASEAN Secretariat in April 2016 and finalized its Annual Report to be submitted to ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting. They discussed new projects such as the AICHR Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices regarding International Human Rights Law and Human Rights Cases in Domestic Courts.

The AICHR met with the representatives of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) and the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) to discuss possible joint cooperation. A key outcome of this interface was the agreement to regularize the interactions by meeting annually to further enhance synergy between the three bodies on their programmes. In addition, the AICHR approved in principle the establishment of a task force with a mandate to develop a regional action plan to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in the ASEAN Community.

The AICHR also met with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to explore future collaboration to promote and support human rights work in the region.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Thailand for the gracious hospitality and excellent arrangements for the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place on 23 to 24 July 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR where they will have an interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers.

Press Release: 2nd Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 29 June – 1 July 2016, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Posted on: 3 July, 2016

The 2nd Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community was held between  29th June to 1st July 2016  in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Led by the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, with the support of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), the ASEAN-U.S. PROGRESS, and UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific and the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability, the 2nd Regional Dialogue was successful in bringing together varied stakeholders to discuss the rights of persons with disabilities and how to enhance their promotion and protection in  the ASEAN Community. This initiative also seeks to implement the the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 as well as the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities across the three pillars of ASEAN . It is also timely since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has just become the third common International Human Rights Treaty to ASEAN, having been ratified by all 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS).

 

This Dialogue builds upon the results of the 1st Regional Dialogue that was held in 2015. It focused on issues of health, education and employment affecting persons with disabilities. It was participated by the representatives and experts from the AICHR and relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies, ASEAN Secretariat, Ministries dealing with the issue of persons with disabilities from AMS, UN/International Organizations, member of the CRPD Committee, Disabled People’s Organsations (DPOs) of all 10 AMS and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). It is noteworthy that all participants actively contributed in sharing their experiences, challenges and recommendations.

The keynote was delivered by the Rapporteur of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This was followed by a discussion on the ASEAN Community and its implication to the enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities. The 2nd Regional Dialogue provided a platform for sharing of good practices, challenges and opportunities on the issues mentioned above and it highlighted the critical need to provide inclusive education and employment, as well as accessible health services for the persons with disabilities in ASEAN.

The participants deliberated the way forward on the development of a regional action plan for the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities in ASEAN. They acknowledged that the 2nd Regional Dialogue had provided an avenue for exchange of ideas and inclusion of key stakeholders to discuss and strategize on ASEAN’s collective efforts to reduce barriers for persons with disabilities in the ASEAN Community.

The 3rd Regional Dialogue will be conducted in 2017 and is expected to garner final inputs from relevant stakeholders on the proposed regional action plan for possible submission to the ASEAN Summit.

Press Release: AICHR Workshop on Effective Communication Strategies to Combat Trafficking in Persons, 23 – 24 June 2016, Nha Trang, Viet Nam

Posted on: 27 June, 2016

On 23 – 24 June 2016, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened the “AICHR Workshop on Effective Communication Strategies to Combat Trafficking in Persons” in Nha Trang, Viet Nam with the support of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). The Workshop was led by H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Thi Nha, the Representative of Viet Nam to the AICHR.

The aims of the Workshop included (i) to share experiences and good practices on effective communication measures/strategies against human trafficking, (ii) to identify challenges and difficulties in communication process and mass media programs, (iii) to share good practices in developing national communication strategy on awareness raising, and in incorporating the prevention aspect in education, information and communication plan, and (iv) to exchange ideas on how other stakeholders, including the private sector, can play a role in developing communication strategies to prevent trafficking in persons.

It was attended by distinguished guests and expert speakers, which included H.E. Mr. Dao Cong Thien, the Vice-Chairman of the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa Province, Mr David Knight, Chief of Mission for Viet Nam and Regional Coordinator for Viet Nam, Cambodia, Lao PDR for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ms Yukiko Okano, Minister-Counsellor, Deputy Chief of Mission of Japan to ASEAN, Chair of AICHR, Chair of ACWC, Chair of ACMW, SOMTC Representative, and AICHR Representatives. The Workshop was also attended by representatives from UN bodies, including IOM, UNODC, UNACT Trafficking Project, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Microsoft Operations, and representatives from relevant ministries.

The two-day Workshop discussed topics revolving around identifying challenges in communication process, international and regional experiences and good practices on effective communication strategies, and raising awareness on rehabilitation efforts to support victims of human trafficking in the communication plan. The expert speakers from ASEAN member states and overseas including Japan shared national experiences and good practices on communication processes in combatting trafficking in persons.

Press Release: AICHR Regional Forum on Media and Human Rights in ASEAN, 16 & 17 May 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Posted on: 23 May, 2016

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) organised the AICHR Regional Forum on Media and Human Rights in ASEAN on 16 and 17 May 2016 at Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur. The Forum was led by AICHR-Malaysia working in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Communications and Information, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), ASEAN Secretariat and the Regional Europe-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument, Human Rights Facility (READI, HRF).

The Forum was the first AICHR Priority Programme for 2016 led by Malaysia since H.E. Edmund Bon Tai Soon’s appointment as the new Representative of Malaysia to AICHR in April this year. It occasioned the first official engagement between AICHR and the Senior Officials’ Meeting Responsible for Information (SOMRI), the latter being the ASEAN sectoral body in charge of the media and information-related issues for ASEAN Member States.

The Forum brought together more than 100 participants from all ASEAN Member States including AICHR Representatives, representatives of government media agencies, media practitioners, academics and human rights experts.

The objective of the Forum was, among others, for AICHR to engage with the media, to inform its on-going work and to share good practices among media practitioners. Participants paid particular focus to human rights issues involving four selected groups, namely, women and children, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV and migrant workers.

H.E. Edmund Bon, in his welcoming remarks, pointed out that the media is the ‘fourth estate’ – an arm to check and balance the use (and abuse) of power. Commenting on the right to freedom of opinion, expression and information enshrined in Article 23 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), he explained that while freedom of opinion is absolute, freedom of expression may be limited. The grounds for permissible limitations are found in Article 8 of the AHRD, and they must be read narrowly. He said that such limitations must be (i) prescribed by law, (ii) pursue a legitimate aim, and (iii) be restricted to the extent necessary to attain the legitimate aim. Further, he stressed the need for AICHR to assist ASEAN Member States develop a common approach and position on human rights matters of interest – in this case, the right to freedom of opinion, expression and information – as mandated by paragraph 4.11 of AICHR’s Terms of Reference.

The Chair of SOMRI, in his speech, emphasised the need for media practitioners to uphold ethics, professionalism and standards in their dissemination of information. He reiterated that media practitioners have the responsibility to check and verify stories before they are reported in order to avoid possible conflicts.

The two-day Forum was divided into four sessions, i.e. (i) Bridging the Gaps between Human Rights & the Role of Media; (ii) Ethics and Professionalism in Reporting: Embracing Human Rights; (iii) New Media in Promoting Human Rights: Opportunities and Challenges; and (iv) Media Reporting on the Rights of women and children, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV and migrant workers.

Among others, the Forum discussed the need to promote media self-regulatory instruments in accordance with principles of international human rights law, and the means by which governments and media practitioners may work together to better promote human rights through the media. The participants also shared good practices when reporting on vulnerable groups by paying closer attention to the purpose of the reports and the language used in describing the said groups.

In the spirit that the Forum is to positively impact ASEAN’s human rights mechanism, H.E. Edmund Bon chaired two sessions at the end of each day leading to a participants’ shared ‘Outcome Document’. The Document contains observations and recommendations from the Forum for AICHR’s adoption including the drafting of an explanatory note or comment on Article 23 of the AHRD and guidelines of good practices on media reporting.

On behalf of AICHR-Malaysia, H.E. Edmund Bon will present a report on the Forum (including the Outcome Document) to AICHR, and to discuss necessary follow-up action that should be implemented.

List of Civil Society Organisations with Consultative Relationship with the AICHR

Posted on: 23 May, 2016

Upon deliberation at the 21st Meeting of the AICHR, the AICHR is pleased to announce the list of CSOs with successful applications for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR as follows:

  1. ASEAN Service Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC)
  2. Center for Reintegration of Ex-Prisoners into Society
  3. Human Rights and Development Foundation
  4. Institute for Strategic and Development Studies
  5. Pusat KOMAS
  6. The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations

The AICHR looks forward for a meaningful and constructive engagement and interaction with the CSOs with Consultative Relationship to further enhance cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.