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ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 4-6 August 2017, Manila, the Philippines

Posted on: 6 August, 2017

The Special Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was convened on 4 – 6 August 2017 in Manila, the Philippines.

The AICHR had its annual interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers at the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), during which the AICHR submitted its Annual Report of 2017 to the AMM. The AMM reaffirmed their continued support to the work of the AICHR in the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN and encouraged the AICHR to continue its engagement with relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and civil society organisations (CSOs) in mainstreaming human rights across the three pillars of the ASEAN Community.

During the three-day Meeting, the AICHR discussed updates on the implementation of several activities under its Priority Programmes/Activities that cover issues such as the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, access to education for children with disabilities, right to health and right to life, among others. The AICHR also granted consultative relationship status to six (6) CSOs.

The Meeting was briefed on the report on the AICHR Thematic Study on Women Affected by Natural Disasters. The Meeting also highlighted the successful convening of its first joint activity with the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) to further promote the implementation and reporting of the UN CRC in the region.

As part of the commemorative activities of the golden anniversary of ASEAN and to increase awareness, the AICHR welcomed the production of the AICHR: What You Need to Know – ASEAN 50th Anniversary Edition, A Compendium and its corresponding video. The AICHR participated in the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN in Manila, the Philippines.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of the Philippines for the gracious hospitality and excellent arrangements of the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place at the last week of November in the Philippines.

Press Release: AICHR-ACWC Training Workshop on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 13-14 July 2017, Singapore

Posted on: 14 July, 2017

The AICHR-ACWC Training Workshop on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 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 13 to 14 July 2017 in Singapore.  It was supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Singapore and the Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore.

The UNCRC, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history, including by all ASEAN Member States.

The workshop brought together AICHR and ACWC Representatives, representatives from ASEAN Member States and civil society organisations working on implementation and reporting for the CRC to share experiences, learn from international and regional experts, and discuss current developments and emerging trends in children’s rights.

The workshop featured sessions with regional and international experts on the UNCRC.  Ms Wivina Belmonte, Deputy Regional Director of the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, Ms Yasmeen Shariff, former Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Ms Laurence Andre from the Treaty Body Capacity Building Programme of the UN OHCHR Regional Office for Southeast Asia gave participants insight into the implementation, challenges, and monitoring and reporting processes for the UNCRC.

All ten ASEAN Member States also shared their respective experiences and challenges in implementing and reporting for the UNCRC.  Participants agreed on the importance of integrating children’s rights into the policy-making process, capacity-building, monitoring and data collection, strengthening inter-agency coordination at the national level and inclusive participation of stakeholders, including children.

This is the first joint collaborative project between the AICHR and ACWC to promote and protect the rights of children in the region, and is a demonstration of the growing positive synergy between the two bodies.

Press Release: 3rd Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community

Posted on: 24 June, 2017

Members of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community met for its third meeting on 22 to 23 June 2017 in Phuket, Thailand

The Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community has concluded its third meeting on 22-23 June 2017 in Phuket, Thailand. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Leo Herrera-Lim, Chair of the AICHR and Representative of the Philippines to the AICHR and H.E. Dr. Mu’man Nuryana, Chair of SOMSWD and SOMSWD Focal Point of Indonesia.

The Meeting extensively discussed the outline of the Regional Action Plan on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in ASEAN, taking into consideration the priority areas indicated in the Mobilisation Framework of ASEAN Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2011-2020.

The Meeting was briefed by the Statistics Division of the ASEAN Secretariat on the existing data collection mechanism in ASEAN, taking into consideration the crucial role of disability disaggregated data for the promotion and protection of disability rights and the formulation of the regional action plan. The Task Force also met with a representative from ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) who emphasised the need for comprehensive representation of disabled peoples’ organisations (DPOs) and the importance of monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the regional action plan.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to AICHR Thailand for the excellent arrangements of the meeting.

Press Release: 3rd Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 19-21 June 2017, Phuket, Thailand

Posted on: 22 June, 2017

The 3rd AICHR Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community was held on 19-21 June 2017 in Phuket, Thailand. This Dialogue built on the previous two regional dialogues the AICHR convened in 2015 and 2016. The 2017 Dialogue focused on the issues pertaining to access to justice, persons with disabilities as entrepreneurs and disability perspective in disaster risk management. The event gathered participation of the AICHR and various relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies, including ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC); National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), and experts from regional and international organisations.

The Dialogue participants actively contributed in sharing their experiences and challenges relevant to the three focus areas. They provided their views to the proposed regional action plan, which is currently being drafted by the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community. In the context of access to justice, it was highlighted that there is a need to empower persons with disabilities to ensure that they are aware of their rights.

Mr. Monthian Bunthan, a member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities highlighted the importance of having accessibility impact assessment for businesses in ASEAN to ensure inclusivity of persons with disabilities. The participants highlighted that the rights of persons of disabilities to work, employment and to start a business is guaranteed under article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the latest international human rights instrument to be ratified by all ASEAN Member States. However, social stigma surrounding persons with disabilities adds barriers to the realisation of their right. Moreover, the lack of access to infrastructure, information and transportation hinders persons with disabilities from becoming contributing members of the economy through entrepreneurship.

It was highlighted that the lack of data on persons with disabilities hinders the first responder to assist them. Therefore, it was emphasised that knowledge on disaster preparedness should be adequately shared to persons with disabilities including to children with disabilities.

Participation of persons with disabilities in policy-making processes was highlighted as the key point in ensuring the mainstreaming and full implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The 3rd Regional Dialogue was organised by the Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR in collaboration with various agencies in Thailand, including the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, the Administrative Court, the Social Security Office, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), as well as the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) and the Asia-Pacific Development Centre on Disability (APCD). The event was supported by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and Australian Aid.

Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 17-18 June 2017, Phuket, Thailand

Posted on: 19 June, 2017

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its Special Meeting from 17 to 18 June 2017 in Phuket, Thailand. It was chaired by H.E. Leo Herrera-Lim, Representative of the Philippines to the AICHR.

As part of the preparations to meet with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in August 2017, the Special Meeting discussed the AICHR Annual Report 2017 and the Statement of the Chair of the AICHR to the AMM.

The Meeting reviewed the status of implementation of the AICHR Priority Programmes/Activities for 2017. The Meeting was also updated on the ongoing preparations of AICHR commemorative activities, namely the publishing of ASEAN 50th Anniversary Edition of the AICHR: What You Need to Know booklet and the development of its video.

The Meeting conducted the first interface between the AICHR and ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), where both bodies exchanged information on their work and discussed potential cooperation.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Thailand for the excellent arrangements of the meeting. The AICHR will convene its next meeting in August 2017 in the Philippines.

Press Release: 24th Meeting of the AICHR, 15-19 May 2017, ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia

Posted on: 19 May, 2017

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its 24th Meeting from 15 to 19 May 2017 at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta. It was chaired by H.E. Leo Herrera-Lim, Representative of the Philippines to the AICHR.

The Meeting focused on preparation for the AICHR’s interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers during their 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (50th AMM), which included adoption of its Priority Programmes/Activities for 2018, discussion on the draft AICHR Annual Report 2017 and the Statement of the AICHR to the AMM.

The Meeting was also updated on the ongoing AICHR priority activities to be implemented this year namely: on trafficking in persons, safe drinking water and sanitation, children, health, persons with disabilities; as well as on the proposed 2nd ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights.

The AICHR held its annual dialogue with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and with the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN, where the AICHR shared its activities to commemorate the golden anniversary of ASEAN. Both the Secretary-General and the CPR commended the AICHR on its expanded priority areas, and extended their support to the AICHR’s forthcoming activities.

Further, the AICHR and CPR agreed on the launch date of its joint activity, the ASEAN Youth Video Competition: “ASEAN Against Trafficking: Humans are not for Sale” to start at the beginning of June 2017, and for the winner of the regional competition to be announced during the ASEAN Summit in November 2017. These substantive discussions were greatly appreciated by the AICHR.

On day three, the AICHR held an interface with the Senior Officials Meeting Responsible for Information (SOMRI) where both bodies shared information on their respective mandates and functions, and exchanged views on ways to collaborate to increase the public’s awareness on human rights and deliver AICHR’s message to a wider audience.

During this five-day meeting the AICHR met with various Dialogue Partners of ASEAN, namely the United States, Australia, and Canada and discussed potential areas for future cooperation on human rights issues of mutual interest.

It also met with CSO with Consultative Relationship with the AICHR, and other organisations with an interest in AICHR’s work.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the ASEAN Secretariat for the excellent arrangements of the meeting. The AICHR will convene its next meeting in June 2017 in Thailand.

Cross-pillar collaboration on mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the ASEAN Community

Posted on: 19 April, 2017

JAKARTA, 19 April 2017 – ASEAN officials in-charge of human rights and social welfare, together with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) met at the ASEAN Secretariat from 18 to 19 April 2017 for the second meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community. ASEAN is building on the momentum from the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and the ratification by all ASEAN Member States of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to realise a more inclusive and resilient ASEAN Community and robust cooperation and partnership between ASEAN sectoral bodies and stakeholders.

The Task Force is a joint undertaking of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Senior Officials Meetings on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). This marks the first cross-pillar collaboration on disability rights between the ASEAN Political-Security Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

It aims to develop a regional action plan which takes its foundation from existing ASEAN documents, namely the Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of the Persons with Disabilities in ASEAN Community and the Mobilisation Framework of the ASEAN Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2011-2020.

The Task Force agreed to learn from the experiences of ASEAN Member States by exchanging national action plans on persons with disabilities. The Task Force also agreed that there is a critical need to enhance collective efforts.

The ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) shared with the Task Force the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in reinforcing the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, Representative of Thailand to the AICHR and Dr. Mu’man Nuryana, SOMSWD Focal Point of Indonesia and the 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 May 2017.