AICHR

ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

Archive for November, 2015

Home » 2015 » November

Press Release of the 19th Meeting of the AICHR, 27 – 29 November 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Posted on: 29 November, 2015

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) successfully convened its 19th Meeting from 27 to 29 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the Chair of the AICHR and the Representative of Malaysia to the AICHR.

During the course of three days meeting, the Representatives of AICHR discussed several concept papers which will be implemented in 2016. The Meeting also agreed on a new thematic study it will undertake, namely the AICHR Thematic Study on Women Affected by Natural Disasters.

The Meeting was briefed on the outcome of recent AICHR Programmes and Activities, including the AICHR Programme on Human Rights Training of the Trainers for Journalists in ASEAN Member States, the AICHR Workshop on the Development of ASEAN Legal Instruments on Human Rights, the AICHR Regional Workshop on the Role of Youth in Promoting Human Rights in ASEAN: Making Rights a Reality and the AICHR – Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Joint Workshop on Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in ASEAN.

In line with the recent adoption of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially for Women and Children (ACTIP) and the accompanying Regional Plan of Action, the AICHR looks forward for further collaboration with the SOMTC and other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies in the ASEAN in its efforts to mainstream human rights-based approach in the protection of victims of human trafficking.

The Meeting also discussed the applications by Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) seeking for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR. The list of successful applications will be announced in due course.

This Meeting marked the end of Malaysia’s Chairmanship of the AICHR, as well as the significant change of the AICHR membership in which majority of the AICHR Representatives will end their terms. The Meeting concluded with the handover of the AICHR’s chairmanship from the Representative of Malaysia to the Representative of Lao PDR, H.E. Phoukhong Sisoulath. The Representatives expressed their high appreciation to H.E. Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah for his hard work and excellent leadership over the past year.

The Meeting also thanked the government of Malaysia for the hospitality and excellent arrangements of the Meeting. The first AICHR Meeting in 2016 will be held in February in Lao PDR.

PRESS RELEASE: AICHR – SOMTC Joint Workshop on Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 5 – 6 November 2015, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Posted on: 9 November, 2015

As ASEAN draws closer to the adoption of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and the ASEAN Plan of Action (APA), the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) organised its first ever joint workshop on “Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children”. Among its objectives is an exchange of ideas between the AICHR, SOMTC, and other relevant ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies on how human rights and gender perspective should be applied under the ACTIP and its APA.

The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, Mr. Rafendi Djamin, underlined that no ASEAN Member State (AMS) is free from the issue of trafficking of women and children, and that it takes place in any form – whether during or after disasters, in the movement of migrant labour, irregular migration caused by war, internal armed conflict, as well as extreme poverty. He emphasised that all forms of trafficking – including force labour, sex labour, or child force labour – are against human dignity and should not exist in modern era. He further stated that trafficking does not come in vacuum, but could be the excess of poverty, irregular migration, war and natural disaster. Finally, he identified that the crosscutting nature of trafficking of women and children could be a start for better cooperation and/or coordination amongst relevant organs/bodies/sectoral bodies of ASEAN.

The Joint Workshop brought together more than seventy (70) participants – coming from the AICHR, SOMTC, various relevant ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies, ASEAN Secretariat, relevant government agencies of AMS, National Human Rights Institutions of AMS, regional civil society organisations (CSOs), and United Nations (UN) specialised agencies.

 The Chair of SOMTC, H.E. Sieng Lapresse, preceded discussions with his Keynote Remarks – where he called upon participants to look into the affirmations contained in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD such as “to live in dignity”, freedom from “arbitrary interference with his or her privacy including personal data”, and “the right to free choice of employment”. He addressed that ASEAN should concentrate on the identification of the root cause on trafficking in persons. He viewed the Joint Workshop as the relevant forum and best opportunity for all stakeholders to initiate the development of the right legal structure and policies – building upon existing international law; the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons; Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; as well as the ASEAN Convention and ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Discussions during plenary sessions touched upon human rights perspective on regional initiatives, priorities, as well as policies in combating trafficking in persons (TIPs); application of rights-based approaches towards the implementation on prevention of and protection from TIPs; and highlighted the issue of vulnerability of the people affected by disaster that could become victims of TIPs. Following joint presentation by the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre), and Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (DMHA) Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, discussions on TIPs for the first time looked into how it could be prevented and punished in situations of natural, as well as man-made disasters.

Following the Joint Workshop, a special closed discussion session between the AICHR, SOMTC, and relevant ASEAN organs/bodies/sectoral bodies was held – aimed to synthesize their efforts in the prevention, protection, and cooperation in addressing the issue of TIPs. The session finally generated recommendations on possible ways forward to further cooperation. Amongst the possible ways forward, whether already put forward in a work plan of each ASEAN bodies, or in form of a developing idea, include – discussions to raise awareness and understanding on ACTIP and APA after its adoption; an annual meeting between the AICHR, SOMTC, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMTC) and other ASEAN sectoral bodies related to the issue of TIPs; inviting each other in any activities related to TIPs and human rights; information sharing on programmes of activities on TIPs; identifying areas of cooperation on mutual interest as part of the implementation of ACTIP and APA (e.g. victims of TIPs identification); and the socialisation on the ACWC’s ‘Guidelines on Protection of Women in Trafficked Situations’ through consultation with other ASEAN bodies/sectoral bodies – following its expected adoption in the upcoming 27th ASEAN Summit.

 

PRESS RELEASE: AICHR Regional Workshop on the Role of Youth in Promoting Human Rights in ASEAN: Making Rights A Reality, 30 & 31 October 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Posted on: 2 November, 2015

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) led by H.E. Tan Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the Representative of Malaysia to AICHR organized the “Regional Workshop on the Role of Youth in Promoting Human Rights in ASEAN: Making Rights A Reality” on 30 and 31 October 2015 at the Asia-Europe Institute of University of Malaya (AEI-UM), Kuala Lumpur.

The AICHR Regional Workshop was officiated by the Honourable Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia on 30 October 2015. The Opening Ceremony was also graced with the attendance of the Representatives and Alternate Representative of AICHR, Chairman of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Chairman of Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), Vice-Chancellor of University of Malaya, Director-General of ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Heads of ASEAN Mission and Dignitaries.

In his Keynote Address, the Honourable Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, informed that as the youth makes up more than 60% of the ASEAN’s population, they play an important role in shaping major social, economic and political advancements in the region. Hence, investment to nurture youth development and leadership across the 10 ASEAN Member States is pivotal so as to harness their full potential, enabling them to be the real transformative agents and valuable resources for development and upward social progress.

The Honourable Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican Naina Merican further informed that initiatives such as this Regional Workshop would empower the youth, enabling them to voice out their opinions in the society, and participate constructively in the policy-making and governance at national and international spheres. Therefore, human rights education and dialogues with the youth is one way to enable them to learn, understand and appreciate the ASEAN and the existing regional human rights mechanisms and principles that are unique to us.

The two-day Regional Workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, Asia-Europe Institute of University of Malaya and SUHAKAM, with the support of National Partners such as Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), Centre for ASEAN Regionalism University of Malaya (CARUM), Malaysian Youth Council (MBM), Malaysian Youth Parliament, International Youth Centre (IYC) and Malaysian Youth Academy.

The Workshop brought together a line of competent speakers and discussants among the Representatives of AICHR, representatives of relevant government agencies, Malaysia’s National Human Rights Institution, academia and human rights experts to share their thoughts and expertise on ASEAN and human rights issues in the region.

It was participated by nearly 100 youth participants under the age of 30 years consisting of youth representatives from ASEAN Member States, Committee for ASEAN Youth Cooperation (CAYC) and youth representatives from various Malaysia’s youth associations.