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ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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AICHR Forum on Access to Justice, 17-18 December 2018, Bangkok, Thailand

Posted on: 27 December, 2018

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) held the AICHR Forum on Access to Justice in Bangkok, Thailand on 17 – 18 December 2018. This is the first event of the AICHR that focuses on the broad theme of access to justice. It combines interrelated topics that have been the subject of three AICHR thematic studies on human rights.

Bringing together representatives and experts from the AICHR, ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), ASEAN Commission on The Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), high-level government officials from various agencies of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand, the academia, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations and the ASEAN Secretariat, the Forum provided a platform to launch and present key findings and recommendations of the AICHR thematic study on legal aid, and to hold a regional consultation for two thematic studies also on justice and human rights in ASEAN, namely the right to life that examines the treatment of persons who are convicted with the death penalty and juvenile justice that explores the interrogation practices of children in conflict with the law. On 16 December, prior to the Forum, a coordination meeting of regional and national researchers from ten Member States was convened to discuss and agree on the structure of the juvenile justice study whose completion and launch are due in 2019, anticipating the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which all ASEAN Member States are parties. The legal aid study will be available on the AICHR website once the formatting and graphic design are completed.

Applauding the Forum as an excellent opportunity to learn from one another from cross-country and inter sectoral perspectives among ASEAN stakeholders and to support the ongoing efforts for a people-centered ASEAN where no one is left behind, His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of the Royal Thai Government, in his keynote address, emphasised that multi-sectoral and cross-border collaboration is essential to ensuring access to justice for all. He also encouraged the AICHR and ASEAN bodies to undertake follow-up activities and further collaboration to strengthen regional partnership on access to justice. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Barry Desker, the AICHR Chair and Representative of Singapore, stated that the rule of law and human rights underpin citizens’ confidence in and ensure stability among ASEAN societies and access to justice that is realized through an inclusive and collaborative approach is at the core of ASEAN values. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, in his welcome remarks, underlined that development can only be sustained if human rights are upheld and respected, and a core component of which is to ensure access to justice to all, including children, women, persons with disabilities, the poor and marginalized groups.

The Forum demonstrated the role of the AICHR and its efforts to mainstream human rights in critical sectors within ASEAN, and as a convener on spearheading strategies for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly the SDG16 on peace, justice and strong institution.

The Forum was organised by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, with support of the ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT and in partnership with the Rights and Liberty Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand. It marks the conclusion of the year 2018 for the AICHR as well as the term of the third batch of the AICHR Representatives (2016-2018).

AICHR and CACJ hold ASEAN human rights dialogue on the rights of accused persons in criminal cases, 11 December 2018, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Posted on: 26 December, 2018

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ) co-hosted the “AICHR-CACJ High Level ASEAN Human Rights Dialogue: The Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases” on 11 December 2018 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Chief justices, senior judges and members of the CACJ; representatives of the AICHR and the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM); and regional human rights experts attended the dialogue. It was a follow up activity to the AICHR Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights Law held from 13 to 15 March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

The AICHR recognised that certain fair trial rights have been expressly stated in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), and the dialogue was important to learn about how the judiciaries played their role to interpret and apply laws on the subject matter of fair trial rights. As such, judges from ASEAN Member States shared their experiences and good practices on how the judiciaries implemented the legal protection afforded to accused persons. Challenges facing each legal system were also discussed. Possible gaps between national legal standards and international human rights standards were further identified.

The dialogue saw a robust exchange of views and as a result, numerous recommendations were made for further action, among others:

  1. To document each AMS’ country overview on the rights of accused persons in criminal cases.
  2. To publish the Summary Record of the Dialogue as a reference guide.
  3. To analyse the key points of commonality among the AMS, namely: the right to counsel, the right to be informed of the grounds of his/her arrest, the right to access documents, the right to a speedy trial, the right to bail, the right to a presumption of innocence, the right to cross-examine witnesses, the right to legal aid, the prohibition of double jeopardy and the right to non-retroactive punishment. The analysis could seek to improve legal frameworks or practices and to identify any gaps.
  4. To work with ASLOM on the possibility of developing a Model Law that outlines the common standards to be adopted in treating accused persons in criminal cases.
  5. To strengthen the AICHR’s role in monitoring the compliance of human rights obligations by AMS with regard to the protection of the rights of accused persons.
  6. To explore ways to cooperate and dialogue with the CACJ on matters of human rights including to convene capacity building and training programmes.

It is envisaged that the dialogue will become a useful platform to build on the nexus between human rights and judicial cooperation; and to sustain effective and impactful collaborative programming between the AICHR, the CACJ and other ASEAN Bodies towards upholding the Southeast Asian peoples’ rights guaranteed by the AHRD.

AICHR holds ASEAN Dialogue on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Related Instruments 25-26 October 2018, Manila

Posted on: 30 October, 2018

 

(Foreground from L to R): Ambassador Andrea Reichlin (Embassy of Switzerland in Manila), Prof. Dato’ Noor Aziah Mohd. Awal (Malaysia’s ACWC Representative on Children’s Rights); Dr. Shashi Jayakumar (alternate representative of AICHR-Singapore); and Philippine Representative to AICHR Leo M. Herrera-Lim

(Friday, October 26 2018) – ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)-Philippines and AICHR-Singapore, in collaboration with Child Rights Coalition Asia and with the support of the Switzerland Embassy in Manila, held the ASEAN Dialogue on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Its Related Instruments in Manila on 25-26 October 2018.

The Dialogue sought to raise awareness and increase understanding on the implementation of  the rights of the child by focusing on the three (3) CRC Optional Protocols of the UNCRC, namely the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC), the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography (OPSC), and the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure (OPIC).  Unlike the UNCRC, ASEAN member states are party to the UNCRC but have not ratified all of the Optional Protocols.  The discussions dealt with the possibilities and challenges of ratifying the Protocols.

The Dialogue also highlighted one of the twenty-three (23) UN CRC General Comments, specifically General Comment Number 20, which focuses on the implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence.

The Dialogue is a follow up to the AICHR and ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) Training Workshop on the UNCRC held in Singapore in July of 2017.

Participants to the Dialogue included AICHR Representatives, ACWC Representatives on Children’s Rights, the ASEAN Secretariat, Philippine foreign affairs officials, Senior Labour Officials Meeting (SLOM) and Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) officials.

Experts and practitioners gave presentations on the three (3) Optional Protocols and the UNCRC General Comment Number 20 during the 2-day Dialogue.  The presentors included Atty. Wanchai Roujanavong, Vice Chair and Thailand’s Representative on Children’s Rights to the ACWC; Atty. Yasmeen Muhammad Shariff, Former Member, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Mr. Ahmad Taufan Damanik, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (Komnas HAM); Atty. Dorine van Der Keur, Legal Consultant, ECPAT International; and Atty. Mikiko Otani, Member, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

(From L to R): Dr. Shashi Jayakumar (AICHR-Singapore); Ambassador Andrea Reichlin (Swiss Embassy); Amihan Abueva (CRC Asia); Mr. Koh Choon Hui (Singapore’s ACWC Representative on Children’s Rights); and Philippine Representative to AICHR, Leo M. Herrera-Lim

Participants at the close of the ASEAN Dialogue on the UNCRC and its Related Instruments

The ASEAN Dialogue on the UNCRC and its Related Instruments is in line with AICHR’s mandates to enhance public awareness of human rights; promote capacity building for the effective implementation of international human rights treaty obligations undertaken by ASEAN Member States; and encourage ASEAN Member States to consider acceding to and ratifying international human rights instruments.  END

CSOs WITH CONSULTATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AICHR

Posted on: 20 September, 2018

The AICHR is pleased to announce the following two (2) civil society organisations have been granted consultative relationship with the AICHR:

  1. Asylum Access Malaysia (AAM)
  2. Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

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/

 

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.

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/

ANNOUNCEMENT: Winners of the ASEAN Youth Video Competition: “ASEAN Against Trafficking: Humans are not for Sale”

Posted on: 9 November, 2017

We are pleased to announce the Regional Winner and People’s Choice Award Winner for the ASEAN Youth Video: “ASEAN Against Trafficking: Humans are not for Sale”.

  • Regional Winner:  Chhorn Soklin from Cambodia with a video entitled “Nightmare”

This video tells a story of Sophie, a girl who was a victim of human trafficking and became an agent who spread awareness of human trafficking to other people specially women and children. The link to the video, https://www.facebook.com/aseansecretariat/videos/10155791371753854/

  • People’s Choice Award Winner: Muhammad Asraf Bin Ab Aziz from Malaysia with a video entitled “Nasir” 

The video portrays the grief of a father whose child falls victim to trafficking. The link to the video, https://www.facebook.com/aseansecretariat/videos/vl.353920421698520/10155791390268854/?type=1

The winners are invited for the Award Ceremony on 27 November 2017 in Bohol, the Philippines.

We would like to thank all participants for their creative work to raise awareness of ASEAN youth on the inter-relatedness between human rights and trafficking in persons (TIP).

The ASEAN Youth Video Competition was co-organised by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR).