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ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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AICHR Regional Workshop on Strengthening National Plans of Action on Trafficking in Persons to Ensure Effective Implementation of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (APA), Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 1 & 2 December 2016

Posted on: 4 December, 2016

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) conducted a Regional Workshop on Strengthening National Plans of Action on Trafficking in Persons to Ensure Effective Implementation of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and ASEAN Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (APA) on 1 – 2 December 2016 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The Workshop was organized and led by the AICHR-Cambodia, with the support from the Republic of Korea (ROK) through ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund.

H.E. Keo Remy, the President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee was the Keynote Speaker of the Workshop. As the first country to ratify the ACTIP, H.E. Remy highlighted Cambodia’s commitments and efforts to counter trafficking in persons (TIP) covering various key strategies, notably the strengthening of laws and policies by enactment of various national anti-trafficking laws. In their remarks, the Chair of the AICHR, H.E. Mr Phoukhong Sisoulath and the Representative of Cambodia to the AICHR, H.E. Ms. Polyne Hean highlighted that this Workshop is part of the AICHR’s continued commitment to facilitate the mainstreaming of human rights-based approach in the implementation of the ACTIP and APA.

The Workshop was attended by relevant ASEAN Organs and Sectoral Bodies, international agencies as well as relevant Cambodian line ministries responsible for counter-trafficking. It examined the good practices and challenges of the national plans of action on TIP both inside and outside the ASEAN region. Some of the good practices highlighted include bilateral arrangements among the sending and receiving countries, the use of technology and social media to enhance anti-TIP efforts as well as the establishment of specialist units within the national agencies of the AMS to better address the issues of TIP. In terms of challenges, common issues faced by ASEAN Member States (AMS) include the limitation of resources and proper victims identification system.

The Workshop deliberated the recommendations to strengthen the national plans of action on TIP and looked into ways and means to integrate the provisions of the ACTIP and APA into the national plans of action, policies and legislation of the AMS. The relevant AMS were encouraged to ratify the ACTIP, integrate its provisions into their national plans of action and undertake mid-term stock-taking of their national plans of action to ensure their coherence with the ACTIP and APA.

 

Press Release of the 22nd Meeting of the AICHR, 23-25 November 2016, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

Posted on: 29 November, 2016

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) successfully convened its 22nd Meeting from 23 to 25 November 2016 in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath, the Representative of Lao PDR to the AICHR.

As part of its efforts to promote human rights in ASEAN, the Meeting was briefed on the outcomes of recently held AICHR activities, the AICHR-SOMTC Consultation on Human Rights-Based Approach in the Implementation of ACTIP and APA in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the AICHR Seminar on Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility on Human Rights in ASEAN in Singapore. For its efforts to realize a more inclusive ASEAN society, the Meeting also took note of the two AICHR activities pertaining to disabilities, namely the 2nd Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community and the AICHR Training Programme on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

During this three-day meeting, the Representatives of AICHR extensively discussed programmes and activities that the AICHR will undertake in 2017 to further regional cooperation on promoting human rights in ASEAN which will cover issues such as the right to education, sustainable development goals, and sharing good practices regarding international human rights law; as well as the continuation of several AICHR programmes, including the AICHR youth debate, regional dialogue on disability, workshop on human rights, environment and climate change, and the AICHR-SOMTC second consultation. Further, the first AICHR Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights Law is scheduled to be held on 6 – 8 March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur. The Colloquium seeks to encourage greater peer-to-peer interaction between senior apex court judges of ASEAN Member States in line with Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Marking the end of Lao PDR’s Chairmanship to the AICHR, the Meeting concluded with the handover of the AICHR Chairmanship from the Representative of Lao PDR to the Temporary Representative of the Philippines, Ambassador Belinda M. Ante. The Representatives expressed their high appreciation to H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath for his hard work and excellent Chairmanship over the past year.

The Meeting also thanked the Government of Lao PDR for the hospitality and excellent arrangements of the Meeting. The 23rd Meeting of the AICHR will be held in February in the Philippines.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with Consultative Relationship with the AICHR

Posted on: 18 November, 2016

The AICHR is pleased to announced the following list of  CSOs whose applications for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR are successful:

1. Human Rights Resource Center

2. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

3. Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore

4. Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

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.

AICHR Seminar on Promoting CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN, 3-4 November 2016, Singapore

Posted on: 4 November, 2016

Singapore Senior Minister of State Dr Amy Khor with EU Ambassador to ASEAN Ambassador Francisco Fontan Pardo, Ambassador of Sweden to Singapore Ambassador Håkan Jevrell, Regional Cluster Leader of the United Nations Development Programme Phil Matsheza, CEO of ASEAN CSR Network Thomas Thomas, Chair of ASEAN CSR Network Yanti Triwadiantini, and AICHR Representatives

Singapore Senior Minister of State Dr Amy Khor with EU Ambassador to ASEAN Ambassador Francisco Fontan Pardo, Ambassador of Sweden to Singapore Ambassador Håkan Jevrell, Regional Cluster Leader of the United Nations Development Programme Phil Matsheza, CEO of ASEAN CSR Network Thomas Thomas, Chair of ASEAN CSR Network Yanti Triwadiantini, and AICHR Representatives

The AICHR Seminar on Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Human Rights in ASEAN was successfully held from 3 to 4 November 2016 in Singapore.  The Seminar, a follow-up from the AICHR Baseline Study on CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN, was co-organised by AICHR-Singapore and the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN), and received the kind support of the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI) Human Rights Facility and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).   

In line with a multi-stakeholder approach to CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN, the Seminar drew many participants from across ASEAN and outside the region from various sectors, including government officials, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), businesses, civil society, trade unions, and academia.
 
Singapore Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of Health, Dr Amy Khor was the Guest-of-Honour for the Seminar.  Dr Khor spoke on “The Nexus between CSR and Human Rights”, and explained how economic growth and a clean environment could be pursued hand-in-hand to achieve sustainable development. 
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong kicks off the discussion on CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong kicks off the discussion on CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN

Former ASEAN Secretary-General and Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Ambassador Ong Keng Yong delivered a keynote address on The Way Forward for CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN.  The Seminar also saw the sharing of best practices and experiences from international and regional speakers including Swedish Ambassador for CSR Diana Madunic and member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights Dante Pesce.
 
The Seminar explored the role of governments, businesses, trade unions and civil society organisations (CSOs) in promoting CSR, as well as possible elements of a regional strategy on CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN, a recommendation of the Baseline Study.  Such a regional strategy would support the fulfilment of the aspirations of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, which calls for the building upon and deepening of the integration process to realise a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community.

Press Release: Special Meeting of the AICHR, 27 – 28 October 2016, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Posted on: 29 October, 2016

The Special Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was convened on 27 – 28 October 2016 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. During the two-day Meeting, the AICHR discussed the progress of implementation of its Priority Programmes/Activities for the years 2015 – 2017 and adopted several new projects. The Meeting was also briefed on the outcomes of several AICHR Programmes/Activities which were recently concluded. The AICHR intends to enhance the mainstreaming of human rights into the three pillars of the ASEAN Community based on ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

As part of its contribution towards the commemorative activities for the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN in 2017, the AICHR agreed to convene the fourth AICHR Youth Debate on Human Rights with a special theme of “Forging Ahead Together towards a Sustainable Community” and to undertake human rights related activities during the celebration.

The AICHR met with the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism and agreed to explore possible areas of cooperation.  They also met with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) and identified common areas for future cooperation.

The Meeting deliberated applications of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) seeking for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR. The list of successful applications will be announced in due course.

The Meeting thanked the Government of Viet Nam for the gracious hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the Meeting. The 22nd Meeting of the AICHR under Lao PDR’s chairmanship will be held on 23 – 25 November 2016, in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.

Press Release: AICHR Training Programme on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 11-14 October 2016, Bangkok, Thailand

Posted on: 17 October, 2016

The AICHR successfully conducted another human rights training programme on 11-14 October 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. The training programme is a continuation of the 1st and 2nd regional dialogues on the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities, which were held in December 2015 and June 2016, respectively.  The human rights training programme has become an annual activity of the AICHR since the first one was organized in 2010.

The 2016 Training aims at creating a better understanding on the rights of persons with disabilities and introducing a regional platform among relevant stakeholders in ASEAN with a view of sharing experiences and practices on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the region. More than 50 participants from all ten ASEAN Member States were nominated from amongst persons with no disabilities to learn about disability rights in various modules and from different perspectives. The Representative of Lao PDR and Chair of the AICHR (H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath) opened the Training and the Chairperson of the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability Foundation and former Foreign Minister of Thailand (H.E. Dr. Tej Bunnag) also gave an opening speech.

Supported by the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and U.S. Progress, the 2016 Training is the 4th human rights training that the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR (H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot) has organized for the AICHR. Thailand is also the focal point for human rights education.

The training combined interactive and participatory lectures, and discussions to promote experience sharing.  It covered pertinent topics which included conceptual and regional frameworks on disability, friendly design for persons with disabilities, role of journalists, and the role of government officers and policy makers on the rights of persons with disabilities. It also held three sessions on sharing good practices, challenges, and opportunities on education, health and employment policies.

The sessions were facilitated by experts from the ASEAN Member States and Japan which included Mr. Monthian Buntan, Member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and representatives from the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Viet Nam’s Center for Research and Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CED), Malaysian Foundation for the Blind (MFB), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS), Bizlink Centre Singapore Limited, and the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA). The training was participated by representatives of the AICHR, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) and media journalists.

The training also incorporated study visits to two sites: Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Institute, and the APCD. At the Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Institute, the participants were exposed to the various services it provides to people with disabilities such as assistive technologies, hydro therapy, and prosthetic and orthotic. At APCD, the participants toured a bakery, “60 Plus+ Bakery” run by Yamazaki Bakery and APCD, which is managed by and provides training to persons with disabilities.

On the last day of the training, participants learned about the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and stood to observe a moment of silence in tribute of King Bhumibol who is internationally recognized as a role model in sustainable development.

Moving forward, the AICHR will convene a task force on the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities that it has established to draft a regional action plan, and in 2017, it plans to conduct the 3rd regional dialogue on the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities.

Press Release: AICHR – SOMTC Consultation on Human Rights-Based Approach in the Implementation of ACTIP and APA, 29 – 30 September 2016, Jakarta, Indonesia

Posted on: 4 October, 2016

Consultation for the Implementation of the ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (ACTIP): Agreement to Continued Cross-border Cooperation between ASEAN Law Enforcement and ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) for a Human Rights-based Approach to Combating Trafficking in Persons

“In combating trafficking in persons, cross-border cooperation at the regional and international levels are necessary and inevitable,” this was stated by Indonesian representative to  AICHR, Dr. Dinna Wisnu at the conclusion of the Consultation between AICHR and the Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) on a Human Rights-based Approach to the Implementation of the ASEAN Convention and Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (ACTIP & APA) in Jakarta (30/9)

“This consultation was attended by all the senior officials of ASEAN law enforcement in SOMTC and the representatives of ASEAN regional cooperation mechanisms involved in combating trafficking in persons (TIP). The extraordinary energy and enthusiasm will motivate us in moving forward together in combating the crime with its ever-evolving modus operandi,” said Dr. Dinna Wisnu.

Dinna stated that ASEAN has received appreciation and acknowledgement by the international community for placing efforts to combat TIP as the main priority of its cross-sectoral cooperation.  “ASEAN has received the appreciation and acknowledgement of the international community. We have achieved much progress even before the ratification of ACTIP by all countries. There is even an agreement that the enforcement of laws and immigration rules needs to provide justice for victims and deliver more comprehensive preventive measures,” she added.

Police Brigadier General M. Naufal Yahya, representing the Indonesian SOMTC in his closing speech conveyed that the consultation meeting was very useful in exchanging information, ideas, experiences, and lessons in combating TIP. During the discussion session, the participants studied the plans and steps taken by countries that have ratified ACTIP to implement the Human Rights-based Approach to Combating TIP.

“We took the best practices from ASEAN member states related to prevention of TIP and protection, assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims and practices related to regional cooperation for advancing a human rights based approach in combating Trafficking In Persons,” he said.

In the discussions that have taken place for two days, Dinna stated that there needs to be further steps to identify and delineate victims from perpetrators, as well as to identify a common regional response to fulfill the needs and rights of the victims at every stage of combating TIP. In addition, the need for further consultations on the views and needs of specific groups such as the disabled and fishing industry workers was emphasized. The participants appreciated the in-depth discussion on the varieties and modus operandi of TIP, forms of cross-sectoral cooperation that can be followed up and ways of meeting the needs of victims which ASEAN can cooperate on.

As the outcome of the consultation, the participants recommended to provide tailored support for the specific needs of individual ASEAN member-states towards ratifying and strengthening ACTIP implementation.

In the future, a number of delegates in the forum proposed that this AICHR consultation meeting can act as the institutionalized consultation among ASEAN bodies relatedto combating TIP. In addition, the SOMTC Action Plan will be studied so that there is no overlap. Furthermore, there are a number of ways to prevent TIP that need to be further explored by ASEAN sectoral bodies outside of law enforcement, including by expanding the roles of community members, parents, and survivors of TIP.