ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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Press Release: AICHR Workshop on the Implementation of Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Environment and Climate Change, 26 – 27 September 2015, Mandalay, Myanmar

Posted on: 30 September, 2015

The AICHR Workshop on the Implementation of Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Environment and Climate Change in Mandalay, Myanmar was a follow up from the Workshop on Human Rights, Environment and Climate Change conducted in September 2014. The workshop was organized and led by the Representative of Myanmar to the AICHR, H.E. U Kyaw Tint Swe, with the support of the Regional EU – ASEAN Dialogue Instrument and additional assistance from ASEAN US Progress. At the last workshop the AICHR was expected to play a key role in further integration of Human Rights Based Approach towards environmental policy making and protection.

The purpose of this year’s Workshop was to develop a deeper understanding on the human rights obligations relating to the environment in the ASEAN context and explore how a regional response may be initiated with the involvement of relevant stakeholders.

The workshop was conducted over a period of two days discussing topics revolving around the current state with regards to human rights obligations vis-à-vis the environment and climate change, environmental impact assessment tools for ASEAN, legal frameworks, the protection of women, children and other vulnerable groups, and a possible framework for ASEAN.

The Workshop was attended by distinguished speakers, relevant ASEAN bodies/ working groups on Environment, national human rights institutions, academia/think tanks, judiciary, civil society organisations and others. The first session of the Workshop was opened by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr John Knox. Mr Knox highlighted key aspects of human rights and the environment and the need to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development. The session was also graced by Prof. Dr. Nay Htun, who was a former UN Assistant Secretary-General, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for the UNDP.

The Workshop benefited from the exchange of views and experiences from expert speakers in the fields of human rights, the environment, and climate change from ASEAN and overseas, including Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn (former UN Special Rapporteur), Honorary Prof. Jaap Spier, Dr Matthew Baird, and Prof. Dinah Shelton.

Some of the topics that were highlighted included the gap between legalization and implementation/enforcement, the need to place a focus on the marginalized and vulnerable groups, and the necessity to have a fuller grasp of the expertise that ASEAN countries can share and contribute to a possible regional framework.

Consultative Relationship with the AICHR

Posted on: 18 September, 2015

Application Form for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) applying for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR is now available.

Those wishing to have their application discussed in the next AICHR Meeting which will be held from 27 to 29 November 2015, please submit the Application Form along with supporting documents by 1st November 2015.

  Application Form for Consultative Relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) (20.4 KiB, 1,199 hits)

For more details, please refer to:

  Guidelines on the AICHR’s Relations with Civil Society Organisations (525.6 KiB, 6,043 hits)

Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 16 – 17 September in Manila, Philippines

Posted on: 17 September, 2015

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its Special Meeting in Manila, Philippines on 16 and 17 September 2015. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Tan Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the Chair of the AICHR and the Representative of Malaysia to the AICHR.

The Meeting held extensive discussions on the preparation for ASEAN – EU Policy Exchange and Study Visit on Human Rights, including coordination meeting with a representative from ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW). The ASEAN – EU Policy Exchange on Human Rights will take place in Brussels, Belgium from 19 to 23 October 2015. Representatives from four human rights bodies in ASEAN will participate in the event, namely the AICHR, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), ACW and ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW).

During this two-day meeting, the AICHR discussed the progress of the remaining activities that are to be implemented this year, including among others, the AICHR-SOMTC Joint Workshop on Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), Especially Women and Children. The AICHR met with representatives from SOMTC to discuss preparation on the said workshop and the development of the draft ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP) as well as the Regional Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The AICHR also met with the representatives of Asian Institute of Management to discuss the Regional Study on Economic Participation of Women in the ASEAN Community which the AICHR is undertaking.

To further establish an enabling environment for meaningful and constructive engagement with civil society, the AICHR has expeditiously agreed on the modality to operationalize the Guidelines on the AICHR’s Relations with Civil Society Organisations. The AICHR expects to launch the procedure by posting the application form on its website as soon as possible.

The Meeting further exchanged views on ways to move forward the two ongoing AICHR Thematic Studies, namely, the Right to Peace, and Migration and Human Rights.

The Meeting thanked the Representative of the Philippines to the AICHR and the government of the Philippines for the hospitality and excellent arrangements of the Meeting. The AICHR will hold their last meeting for this year, which also will be the handing over of the AICHR Chairmanship from Malaysia to Lao PDR in Kuala Lumpur from 27 to 29 November 2015.


Press Release: AICHR Youth Debates on Human Rights, 5 – 6 September 2015, Singapore

Posted on: 9 September, 2015

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) held the second ASEAN Youth Debates on Human Rights from 5 to 6 September 2015 in Singapore. The debates were held at Tembusu College, National University of Singapore. The event was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

30 university students from the ten ASEAN countries participated in the debates. Over 100 students and interested parties from the local universities, polytechnics and junior colleges were also in attendance. The debates aimed to promote greater awareness of human rights among ASEAN youth, and facilitate an active exchange of ideas and perspectives on various human rights issues.

The programme was divided into two segments. On the first day, students participated in a debate master class where they honed their presentation skills before the debates on the second day. This was followed by a site visit to the Toa Payoh Housing Estate and a guided tour of Singapore’s newly-opened Community Rehabilitation Centre.

The debates were conducted on the second day. Ambassador-at-Large Professor Chan Heng Chee, Representative of Singapore to AICHR, opened the session by emphasising the importance of ASEAN youth in shaping the future of the region. This was followed by a panel discussion on “Youth and Human Rights in ASEAN” with four of the eight AICHR Representatives in attendance. Five debate sessions were held and the student participants debated on topics revolving around good governance, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), the role of youth vis-à-vis human rights, and the death penalty. There were also spirited exchanges of views and ideas amongst debaters and the audience.

Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Max Everest-Phillips, Director of the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, and Associate Professor Eleanor Wong attended the event as guest judges. The award ceremony was also graced by the event’s guest of honour, Ambassador-at-Large Professor Tommy Koh, who presented the awards to the student participants.