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AICHR Capacity Building Workshop on Article 14 of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, 14-15 August 2018, Semarang, Indonesia

Posted on: 28 August, 2018

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) commits to promote prevention and fight against torture and any kind of actions that degrade human dignity or violate human rights that is expressed in Article 14 of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). The Article states that “no person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. This article undoubtedly provides a strong basis for AICHR to organize a capacity building workshop as part of its contribution on education and promotion of human rights principles to officials from ASEAN Member States. AICHR is the human rights body of ASEAN established in 2009. It comprises of 10 Representatives of ASEAN Member States with the mandate to mainstream human rights principles and practices in the three pillars of ASEAN Community.

This two-day workshop in Semarang, Indonesia, 14-15 August 2018, is the first AICHR priority program with such theme. In this training, law enforcement authorities and correction facilities from ASEAN Member States agree on the following:

  • Prevention of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, from the process of identifying suspect, capture, investigation and detention must be avoided at any cause.
  • Definition of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment in ASEAN is not yet uniform but UNCAT (United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) can be used as a guidance.
  • Local contexts and culture need to be considered to combat torture.
  • Comprehensive approach including the viewpoints of victims/detainee and law enforcement officials must be considered.
  • Training for law enforcement and public education needed to done by ASEAN to combat torture.

In the meeting there were positive responses from the participants after listening to the experiences of ASEAN member states when adjusting their legislation and law enforcement standard operating procedures. The participants were inspired with alternative techniques such as investigative interview, regulation in correction facility when detainee violates rules, monitoring system of performance of prison guards, and others.  The participants visited women correction facility in Semarang to witness the various technique of anti-torture being done in facility where the building is an old one built in 1894 thus cannot be renovated to accommodate various needs, overcapacity with various kinds of criminals. The response of participants were positive. They said they learned about how to measure the decency of correction facility, the management of correction facility officer, and the trainings inside the correction facility.

“The homework for ASEAN to prevent and combat torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment is just revealed because of this meeting. This is the first ASEAN level meeting where human rights during capture, investigation and detention is discussed in depth. The complexity of problem becomes really apparent namely because most law enforcement officials are never taught about doing interviews and collecting information for court during investigation; no standard for treating detainees given diversity of conditions in the correction facilities and their line of commands. The meeting reveals the things needing follow-up by AICHR so that ASEAN can be free of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment,” said Dr. Dinna Wisnu, Indonesian Representative to AICHR, the organizer of this program.

The AICHR is also highlighting the aspect of protecting vulnerable groups whenever they are in conflict with laws, such as women, children, minority groups. The output of this program will include the pointers of ASEAN common understanding of Article 14 of the AHRD and practical recommendations for follow-up by AICHR including further capacity building efforts and education.

This workshop is possible due to the cooperation of AICHR with the Embassy of Switzerland in Indonesia, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta, The OHCHR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. The speakers are practitioners from government and non-governmental agencies such as the Balay Rehabilitation Philippines, Human Rights Resource Center Indonesia, Sub-Committee on Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Thailand, Ministry of Law and Human Rights Indonesia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia, Indonesian Police’s Special Crime Unit (Bareskrim) POLRI, Norwegian Police, dan the Association for Prevention of Torture. (*)

For more information, contact:

Anisa Djafar, media-affairs assistant to Indonesian Representative to AICHR ( or +6281299362063)

Assoc. Prof. Dinna Wisnu, Indonesian Representative to AICHR (


Posted on: 28 August, 2018

ASEAN Forum on Women's Economic Empowerment

The ASEAN Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment jointly organised by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was held from 27 to 28 August 2018 in Singapore.  It was supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore.  This is the second joint collaborative project between the AICHR and ACWC, and the first project that promotes and protect the rights of women through economic empowerment.

The Forum comprised five sessions, namely, Empowering Female Employees at the Workplace; Breaking Barriers and Re-inventing Traditional Businesses; Creating New Businesses in Emerging Industries; Shaping Corporate Culture for Women Leadership Development; and Empowering Women in the Silver Economy.  The Forum brought together representatives from the AICHR, ACWC, Senior Economic Officials and the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network, as well as private sector and civil society representatives from ASEAN Member States, to share their experiences and exchange good practices that contribute to the greater economic participation and empowerment of women through all stages of life.

Students participants at the ASEAN Forum on Women's Economic Empowerment

In her Opening Remarks for the Forum, President of the Republic of Singapore Madam Halimah Yacob noted that in order to tap into ASEAN’s full economic potential, ASEAN needed to do more to harness the potential of all, including women who make up half of the region’s population.  President also said that in order for women to progress and contribute at work and in society, there is a need to have a shift in mindset on how women in various stages of life are treated in employment, as well as perceptions of caregiving responsibilities at home.

Speakers and participants spoke about the importance for the public, people, and private sectors to take a “life-cycle approach” in policy planning, and work together to create an inclusive ecosystem that will enable and empower women to join the work force, excel at work, and take up leadership positions.  They also agreed on the need to encourage women to tap on new technologies and embrace lifelong learning, so that they are equipped and ready to ride on new trends in the marketplace including the fourth industrial revolution.

In view of the rapidly ageing population in the region, and the vulnerability of older women in society, speakers and participants also touched on the importance of equipping and empowering older women with the right tools that will enable them to gain access or return to the marketplace, so that they can be self-reliant, remain active, and are able to live meaningfully in their sunset years.

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AICHR Thematic Study: Women in Natural Disasters: Indicative Findings in Unraveling Gender in Institutional Responses

Posted on: 9 July, 2018

As the ASEAN moves toward efforts at responding to natural disaters as a region, it has yet to fully integrate the gender approach in its regional disaster response. Already in the community-building phase of its institutional evolution, certain issues still remain in the norm-construction stage. In the case of women’s human rights in particularly difficult circumstances (e.g. natural disasters situations), there is very faint discursive recognition in institutional agreements. In the case of individual ASEAN Member States (AMS), there are more evident efforts as regards mainstreaming gender in natural disaster institutional infrastructure and mechanisms – although with some countries fairly more advanced than others.

This study was undertaken in order to compile policies and practices on women’s protection in situations of natural disasters and to document best practices in gender mainstreaming in natural disaster response and assistance, particularly, those that provide spaces for women’s participation. It was guided by an institutionalist perpective that sought to locate gender in laws, policies/plans, institutions, and practices.

Based on the indicative results of the study, the summary observations are the following:

    • The natural disaster context of countries in Southeast Asia varies, with some more prone to large-scale disasters than others.
    • Framing institutional and governance responses to natural disasters depends on its impact on societal systems. All AMS have existing natural disaster institutional infrastructures and mechanisms. Their respective natural disaster management governance follows both vertical (i.e. national to local) and horizontal (i.e. inter-agency) directions and most entities at the national level are mirrored in the local level.
    • Supporting the institutional infrastructure are different mechanisms in the form of national laws, policy directives, and/or actions plans. The natural disaster discourse is usually integrated into the meta-framework of sustainable development, climate change adaptation, or national security.
    • Integrating the gender approach into these meta-frames depends on: (a) the maturity of gender mainstreaming in the whole governance architecture; (b) the extent to which gender is recognized as an issue; and (c) the discursive construction of women in these societies.
    • There are also varying appreciations for and on women’s participation in the different aspects of natural disasters from the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Nonetheless, integrating the gender approach in the institutional infrastructure of natural disasters can be a substantive entry point to operationalize women’s protection and empowerment, primarily because of the care roles they play in their families and communities.
    • However, women’s specific concerns – such as sexual and gender-based violence, violence against women and girls, women’s economic and political empowerment – are difficult to surface, discuss, and make a matter of concern in natural disaster and emergency/crisis institutional infrastructure and mechanisms.
    • In terms of identifying the efforts of each AMS on mainstreaming gender in their natural disaster institutional architecture and instruments, the deduced categories are: (a) incipient efforts (i.e. initial recognition but not yet institutionalized at the strategic level); modest efforts (i.e. early stages of inclusion at the strategic level and/or efforts done more in practice by government or non-government organizations); moderate efforts (i.e. gender-mainstreaming evident at the strategic level); and strong efforts (i.e. gender-mainstreaming evident at both strategic and operational levels).
    • From the perspective of community women and non-government actors from different countries, the need to mainstream gender should be reflected not just in the strategic and operational levels but more so in implementation on the ground.
    • And lastly, particular patterns at the ground level should also be recognized and considered in the design of natural disaster and emergency/crisis institutional governance. These are women’s contribution to early warning and prevention, the intersection of gender and culture in disaster relief and response, gender dimensions of migration, and women’s access to resources in post-disaster situations, to name a few.


The full report is available for download:

  AICHR Thematic Study on Women in Natural Disasters (9.3 MiB, 1,408 hits)

Regional Workshop on Prevention Strategies to combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: Enhancing Access to Information and Community-based Protection System, 21-22 June 2018, Ha Noi, Việt Nam

Posted on: 26 June, 2018

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened the “Regional Workshop on Prevention Strategies to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), Especially Women and Children: Enhancing Access to Information and Community-based Protection System” in Ha Noi, Việt Nam on 21-22 June 2018. The workshop brought about 60 participants from the AICHR, ASEAN relevant sectoral bodies (ACWC, SOMSWD, SOMTC), the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Member States’ line Ministries/Agencies, relevant UN agencies (the UN Women, UNODC, UN-ACT, IOM), international organizations (Australia-Asia Program to combat TIP (AAPTIP), Asia Foundation), CSO with consultative relationship with AICHR, regional experts and other relevant stakeholders.

This Workshop was part of the AICHR’s continued effort to promote a comprehensive regional approach to combat TIP, particularly focused on TIP prevention strategies. The Workshop provided an avenue for participants to discuss on the international and regional legal and policy frameworks on anti-TIP, especially women and children, the human rights-based, people-centered and multi-stakeholder approach in the development and implementation of TIP prevention strategies as well as challenges and the ways forward to enhance regional cooperation on the agenda.

Amb Pham Sanh Chau, Assistant Minister of Foreign affairs of Viet Nam delivered his opening remarks

H.E. Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau, Assistant Minister of Foreign affairs of Viet Nam, in his opening remarks highlighted Viet Nam’s commitment to the fight against TIP and called on States to build on the momentum achieved to mobilize greater actions and resources to concertedly fight against this crime, with a view to making significant contribution to the realization of the ASEAN Community and the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals.

Amb Nguyen Thi Nha, Representative of Viet Nam to the AICHR

Over the course of the two-day workshop, the resource persons and participants have highlighted: (i) the proper use of ICTs and social media to share information, identify victims, educate and raise awareness on TIP; (ii) the role of community-based systems in identifying and providing supports to TIP victims; (iii) the need for information campaigns that target specific audiences and respond to particular needs of each local community (iv) the need to address root causes of TIP and (v) the importance of regional/international cooperation as well as the engagement of all relevant stakeholders in society as a driving-force to move forward the agenda.

This Workshop was organized by AICHR-Viet Nam, with supports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, the AICHR, the ASEAN-U.S. PROGRESS, the Australian Government, and the Embassy of Turkey in Hanoi.

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.