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ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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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.

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.

PRESS RELEASE: 26th Meeting of the AICHR, 24-26 January 2018, Singapore

Posted on: 27 January, 2018

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its first meeting under the Chairmanship of Singapore from 24 to 26 January 2018. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Barry Desker, the Representative of Singapore to the AICHR.

During this three-day meeting, the AICHR was briefed on the implementation of the AICHR Priority Programmes/Activities. The Meeting adopted the AICHR Thematic Study on Women in Natural Disasters which was led by AICHR Philippines.

On cross-pillar cross-sectoral cooperation, the Meeting was updated on the progress of the development of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community by 2025. The Meeting also noted the report of the AICHR Cross-Sectoral Consultation on the Human Rights based Instruments related to the Implementation of ACTIP.

On the second day, the delegates visited Enabling Village, an integrated community in an all-accessible space, an initiative by Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development and SG Enable Ltd. The Village comprises individuals and organisations that serve – and are supported by – people with diverse abilities. It showcased, among others, several social businesses that balance commercial success with the social imperative of inclusivity to demonstrate that people with disabilities can make lively, vital contributions to society.

The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Singapore for the gracious hospitality and excellent arrangements of the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place in May 2018 at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta.

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.