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ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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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 – 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.

PRESS RELEASE: 4TH Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 15-16 December 2017, Da Nang, Viet Nam

Posted on: 16 December, 2017

4th Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community

The joint initiative by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare Development (SOMSWD) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) towards the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities continued with the convening of the 4th Meeting of the Task Force from 15 to 16 December 2017, back to back with the AICHR Workshop on the Enhanced Access to Education for Children with Disabilities held at the same venue from 13 to 14 December 2017.

With the mandate to develop a regional action plan to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in the ASEAN Community, the Task Force emphasised on goals-setting, aspiration and shared efforts by all pillars of ASEAN towards an inclusive community by 2025. Correspondingly, the regional action plan aimed to reinforce the on-going efforts by ASEAN under the framework of Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community and the Mobilisation Framework of the ASEAN Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2011-2020).

At the Meeting, the Task Force had an interface with an expert from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) to exchange views on the zero draft of the regional action plan.

After deliberation, the Task Force adopted a structure for the draft regional action plan entitled “ASEAN Enabling Masterplan for an Inclusive Community by 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” to be in line with the ASEAN Vision 2025. The document will put forward goals on disability rights for each Community pillar of ASEAN and will also make reference to ASEAN documents such as the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Bali Declaration as well as international instruments such as the 2030 Agenda, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Incheon Strategy: Making the Rights Real. The ASEAN Enabling Masterplan is aimed to be finalised and submitted for adoption within 2018.

The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, Representative of Thailand to the AICHR and Undersecretary Florita Villar, SOMSWD Focal Point of the Philippines and Vice-Chair of SOMSWD, 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 January 2018.

AICHR Regional Workshop on Enhanced Access to Education for Children with Disabilities, 13-14 December 2017, Da Nang, Viet Nam

Posted on: 16 December, 2017

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), in collaboration with UNICEF, convened the AICHR Regional Workshop on Enhanced Access to Education for Children with Disabilities on the 13-14th December 2017 in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The workshop brought together participants and resource persons from relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies (such as AICHR, SOMED, ACWC, SOMSWD, and SOMHD), government officials from ASEAN Member States, representatives from international organizations, non-governmental organizations, disabled people organizations, academics, and parents and children with disabilities.

The Workshop is the first ASEAN cross-sectoral initiative focusing on the right to education for children with disabilities. Speaking at the Opening session, H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Thi Nha, the Representative of Viet Nam to AICHR, emphasized the importance of providing learning opportunities for one of the most vulnerable yet occasionally excluded group of children in realizing a people-centered, people-oriented, and inclusive ASEAN Community. H.E. Nguyen Thi Nghia, Vice Minister of Ministry of Education and Training confirmed the commitment of Viet Nam Government to enhancing access to education for children with disabilities and called for further cooperation from other ASEAN Member States in that area. Ms. Yoshimi Nishino, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Viet Nam highlighted the significance of inclusive education as the goal of educating children with disabilities and UNICEF’s commitment to work with the government to ensure that “no one is left behind”.

During the two-day Workshop, participants reviewed current situation and education needs for children with disabilities in the region and discussed how to promote regional cooperation to move forward the agenda. They also exchanged legislations and practices on specialized and inclusive education models in each ASEAN Member States and had an opportunity to visit an inclusive education resource center in Da Nang, Viet Nam.

 It was noted that children with disabilities can put their potential to use when given opportunities to engage and participate in schools and communities and that various efforts have been made to promote the right of education for children with disabilities. However, the issue has not been fully addressed and still requires a crosscutting approach and a concerted effort by not only ASEAN sectoral bodies and government officials but also relevant regional and international stakeholders, and every individual of the society. They are, therefore, encouraged to actively participate in the policy consultation and implementation process. Many also reiterated international conventions and regional agreements such as the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as basis for further cooperation on the issue.

The Workshop was organized by AICHR Viet Nam, the Viet Nam ASEAN National Secretariat – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the support of UNICEF Viet Nam, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the People’s Committee of Da Nang City.

Press Release: 2nd ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights 29 November 2017, Bohol, the Philippines

Posted on: 30 November, 2017

On the 29th of November 2017, the European Union (EU) and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) held the 2nd ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights, in Bohol in the Philippines. The meeting was hosted by AICHR and followed the 1st EU-ASEAN dialogue held in October 2015 in Brussels.

The dialogue was co-chaired on the ASEAN side by H.E. Leo Herrera-Lim, Chair of AICHR, and on the EU side by Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

Also participating in the dialogue were the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) and the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC).

The second Policy Dialogue on Human Rights was held in an open and constructive atmosphere. The two sides expressed their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights instruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties as well as the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and other human rights related regional instruments, and exchanged views about recent developments in human rights in ASEAN and in the EU.

Topics addressed during the Policy Dialogue included trafficking in persons, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, rights of the child, rights of migrant workers, business and human rights / corporate social responsibility, as well as rights of persons with disabilities.

The EU and ASEAN agreed to continue their cooperation and identified specific areas where the EU and ASEAN would work more closely together, including trafficking in persons, business and human rights as well as women’s and children’s rights, and the rights of migrant workers. They agreed to explore holding their next dialogue in 2018.

AICHR Reviews ASEAN’s Implementation of the AHRD with Partners, SOMs and CSOs

Posted on: 30 November, 2017

The great strides ASEAN has made in the field of human rights towards ensuring a more equal, just and peaceful ASEAN Community was celebrated on 28 November 2017. As part of its commemorative activities for the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, and on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration 2012 (AHRD), the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened a Roundtable Discussion (RTD) on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) on 28 November 2017 in Bohol, the Philippines. The RTD was a  platform to discuss the AHRD with representatives of ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Consultative Relationship with the AICHR.

The AHRD is the foundation of the AICHR’s work in the region. The AHRD affirms all the civil and political rights, and all the economic, social and cultural rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, and includes newly-recognised collective rights to a sustainable environment, to development, and to peace. It provides a framework for human rights co-operation and consultation between ASEAN Member States in advancing ASEAN’s aspiration to be a rules-based, people-oriented and people-centred Community. It was adopted through the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD on 18 November 2012 where the ASEAN Leaders affirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the AHRD to advance the promotion and protection of human rights in the region.

The RTD highlighted the importance of the AHRD, and allowed the delegates to take stock of the current ASEAN rights landscape; gaps and challenges faced by the region; and opportunities to enhance the AICHR’s efforts in mainstreaming human rights values to all three ASEAN Pillars.

The first session gathered the participation of ASEAN officials working on the issues of labour; migrant workers; women and children; health development; education; and information and media. The session noted attending bodies’ commitment to support each other’s upcoming activities and develop new formats of collaboration to enhance the implementation of ASEAN’s commitment on human rights.

Pursuant to the AICHR’s on-going efforts to broaden and deepen partnerships with CSOs, the AICHR has now accredited 22 CSOs, and more applications are pending. The second session of the RTD saw a robust and constructive dialogue between the AICHR and CSOs in Consultative Relationship with the AICHR. Delegates highlighted the complementarity between the AHRD and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and explored means for more effective engagement with the AICHR using the AHRD as the region’s reference point.

The RTD was jointly organised by AICHR Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia with the support of the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument Human Rights Facility (READI-HRF).