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AICHR Interregional Dialogue: Sharing Good Practices on Business and Human Rights, 4-6 June 2018, Bangkok, Thailand

Posted on: 8 June, 2018

 

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened the Interregional Dialogue: Sharing Good Practices on Business and Human Rights on 4-6 June 2018. More than 200 participants attended the Dialogue from the AICHR, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, relevant UN agencies, regional human rights mechanisms from the European Union and Arab League, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), diplomatic corps, CSOs, business representatives and other relevant stakeholders.

H.E. Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, in his remarks highlighted the Royal Thai Government’s commitment to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and encouraged other ASEAN Member States to also follow the UNGPs to help improve the region’s economy as a whole. Furthermore, he emphasized that “conducting business that respects human rights can create a culture of fairness and decrease social disparities in many aspects such as decreasing dispute between employer and employee, minimizing environmental problems that affect health and utilizing natural resources that will not affect the local communities.”

 

This Dialogue was part of the AICHR’s continued efforts to elevate business and human rights in ASEAN and marked the first occasion that the AICHR convene a dialogue among regional human rights mechanisms and NHRIs from the Asia-Pacific region. The Dialogue provided an avenue for the participants to discuss challenges as well as good practices on the implementation of the UNGPs in the region and beyond. Each session generated a constructive discussion with resource persons coming from different parts of the world on various issues, for instance, gender perspective to business and human rights, supply chain management, and human rights due diligence.

Over the course of the three-day Dialogue, the resource persons and participants highlighted that in relation to multinational companies, supply chains stand out as one of the challenges in the implementation of the UNGPs. Big multinational companies engage with different suppliers in several tiers and it is difficult to ensure that the UNGPs are observed in the operations of each tiers. Collective actions should be the way forward to address the adverse human rights impact from business activities. Business sector is one of the key elements in this effort and to ensure their meaningful participation in the implementation of the UNGPs, awareness-raising program is crucial to increase the understanding of the business sector on the importance and benefit of complying with the UNGPs.

This Dialogue was organized by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, with support from UNDP Asia-Pacific, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Department of Rights and Liberty Protection of the Ministry of Justice Thailand, the Australian Human Rights Commission, ASEAN CSR Network, UNESCAP, and OECD.

PRESS RELEASE – 27th Meeting of the AICHR, 13-17 May 2018, ASEAN Secretariat

Posted on: 18 May, 2018

AICHR Meeting with Secretary-General of ASEAN

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its 27th Meeting from 13 to 17 May 2018 at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Barry Desker, Representative of Singapore to the AICHR.

The AICHR held its first meeting with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi since his taking office in January 2018 and discussed key priorities of the AICHR to further improve the rights of peoples of ASEAN. At the annual meeting between the AICHR and CPR both ASEAN bodies exchanged views on enhancing ASEAN agenda in the promotion and protection of human rights in line with ASEAN’s principles.

Lunch hosted by Secretary-General of ASEAN

During this four-day meeting, the AICHR was updated on the implementation of the AICHR Priority Programmes/Activities in various thematic areas, and adopted the concept note on Article 14 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration to be conducted in 2018. The AICHR also noted the report of AICHR Training on Business and Human Rights conducted in Thailand last year.

AICHR Meeting with UN agencies

The AICHR also held its first meeting with the United Nations and its agencies, and deliberated on possible areas for future cooperation between the AICHR and the UN on various human rights themes. To enhance the AICHR’s engagement with ASEAN Dialogue Partners, the AICHR also met with the United States, Australia, and Canada to discuss potential areas for future cooperation on human rights themes of mutual interest.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the ASEAN Secretariat for the excellent arrangements of the meeting. The AICHR will convene its next meeting in July 2018 in Singapore.

Press Release – 6th Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community 16-17 April 2018, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Posted on: 18 April, 2018

The Task Force with DSG of ASEAN for ASEAN Political-Security Community

The Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, comprising representatives from the AICHR, SOMSWD and ACWC, convened its 6th meeting on 16 to 17 April 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Meeting continued its deliberation on the draft ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which identifies key action points based on the recognition and importance of inclusion of persons with disabilities in the political, legal, economic, social and cultural environments and the full realisation of their rights in all areas of the three ASEAN Community Blueprints.

Consultation with DSG of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community

The Meeting had consultations with the Deputy Secretary-Generals of ASEAN for ASEAN Political-Security Community and ASEAN Economic Community. DSG of AEC highlighted disability as a development issue and stressed on identification of barriers as well as the right economic conditions to enhancing economic contribution of persons with disabilities. While DSG of APSC emphasised on the importance of consultations with relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies to ensure effective implementation of the Masterplan. The Task Force will consult with Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community at the 7th Meeting of the Task Force, with the recognition that representatives from SOMSWD and ACWC have been attending the meetings.

Representatives of SOMSWD at the Task Force meeting

The Task Force also met with representatives from the ASEAN Disability Forum. The Meeting discussed the current situation of persons with disabilities in ASEAN and noted the lack of disaggregated data in ASEAN as one of the challenges in mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, Representative of Thailand to the AICHR and Mr. Richard Tan, SOMSWD Focal Point of Singapore with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled in May 2018.

Press Release – AICHR High Level Dialogue on Managing Freedom of Expression in the Information Age Medan, Indonesia, 11 – 12 April 2018

Posted on: 18 April, 2018

ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Right (AICHR) commits to support ASEAN governments in proactively building cooperation among ASEAN member states to strengthen the common commitment to protect Freedom of Expression especially empowering civil society through multi-stakeholder engagement to achieve quality freedom.

Initiated by AICHR, this High-Level Dialogue held in Medan,11-12 April 2018, attended by decision makers, formulators and opinion makers as well as experts from 10 ASEAN member states reveals that Freedom of Expression has been challenged in current information era. Disinformation (including hoax) that quickly spreads through social media, barrier in freedom of religion and protection of vulnerable groups such as minority, certain ethnic groups, woman and children, person with disabilities get the attention. Hates speech and hoax issued by irresponsible groups harms freedom of expression, tough to prevent and stop, even some government were late in responding do to various reasons. This problem should be solved cross-sectorally, by enforcing rules and educating the public to avoid believing in the wrong information and hatred.

Dr. Dinna Wisnu, the Indonesia Representative to AICHR says “Regulations to guarantee freedom of expression grows in several ASEAN member states but the legalistic approach intended to punish acts have limitation when they are not empowering civil society nor promoting protection of citizen and consumer. For Indonesian context, the tendency for vulnerable freedom of expression happens during the election period. It means, all stake-holders need to anticipate in order to avoid eroding Freedom of the Expression”.

Edmund Bon Tai Soon, AICHR Representative from Malaysia says “Human Right-based approach should be more nuanced, giving maximum space to freedom of expression while maintaining social order as stipulated in The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

This Dialogue is initiated by AICHR Indonesia, Dr.Dinna Wisnu in collaboration with AICHR Malaysia, Edmund Bon Tai Soon. The participants and speakers include, SOMRI (Senior Official Meeting on Responsible Information), SOMY (Senior Official Meeting on Youth), on Women and children, ACWC (ASEAN Commission for Protection and Promotion the rights of Women and Children), UNESCO, OHCHR (UN Office of High Commission on Human Rights), SEANF (ASEAN Human Rights Forum), ASEAN experts and civil society.

The AICHR Annual Report 2017

Posted on: 11 April, 2018

On its 50th Year, ASEAN has seen significant achievements in terms of advancing the cause of human rights. Article 14 of the ASEAN Charter of 2008 called for the establishment of a human rights body in the region. This body came into being in 2009 in the form of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Three years later, the ASEAN Heads of State/Government adopted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).

Consistent with its mandate “to develop strategies for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms to complement the building of the ASEAN Community,” the AICHR has undertaken various activities at the regional and national levels since its establishment. Seminars, workshops, and consultations were made; thematic studies were conducted; and partnerships were forged.

ASEAN’s milestone this year has also created greater expectations on the part of the peoples of the region as ASEAN tries to advance its efforts to establish a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community. The AICHR must be able to respond to this challenge and take a more active role in advancing its advocacy for greater awareness on and respect for human rights.

This Annual Report covers the period between July 2016 and June 2017. The full report is available for download:

AICHR ANNUAL REPORT 2017

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with Consultative Relationship with the AICHR

Posted on: 8 March, 2018

The AICHR is pleased to announce the following six (6) civil society organisations that have been granted consultative relationship with the AICHR:

  1. Development Action for Women Network, Inc. (DAWN)
  2. Institute for Workers and Trade Unions (IWTU)
  3. Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled (MCD)
  4. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Society for the Promotion of Human Rights or PROHAM)
  5. Thailand Association of the Blind (TAB)
  6. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

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 in ASEAN.

List of CSOs with Consultative Relationship with the AICHR could be accessed through the following link.

http://aichr.org/external-relations/consultative-relationship-with-the-aichr/

Press Release – 5th Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 5-6 February 2018, Jakarta, Indonesia

Posted on: 6 February, 2018

Task Force with DSG of ASEAN for Community Corporate Affairs

The Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community convenes its 5th meeting on 5-6 February 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Following up to its last meeting, the Task Force which comprises of representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion an Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) deliberates on the first draft of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (MRPD). The Masterplan seeks to complement the implementation of ASEAN Member States’s commitments towards achieving an inclusive community as reaffirmed in the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Community Blueprints 2025.

Interface with representative from ASEAN Disability Forum

On the second day, the Task Force had an interface with a representative of ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF), where ADF highlighted challenges faced by persons with disabilities, and emphasised on empowerment of persons with disabilities and ensuring enabling environment in achieving inclusive society.

The Task Force also met with Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, Dr. A.K.P Mochtan. The Meeting was informed that the new ASEAN Secretariat building would incorporate universal design, and that the ASEAN Secretariat is revising its employment policies to be inclusive. DSG Mochtan further reaffirmed the ASEAN Secretariat’s commitment in mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities, including to communicate the Masterplan to the broader public.

5th Meeting of the Task Force

The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, Representative of Thailand to the AICHR and Mr. Richard Tan, SOMSWD Focal Point of Singapore, with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled in March 2018.