ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

  • Press Release: Special Meeting 02/2018 of the AICHR, 27-29 November 2018, Singapore
  • AICHR holds ASEAN Dialogue on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Related Instruments 25-26 October 2018, Manila
  • Press Release: AICHR CSO Symposium, 13 – 15 October 2018, Chiang Rai, Thailand
  • Press Release: 8th Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 14-15 September 2018, Bangkok, Thailand
  • PRESS RELEASE: AICHR Youth Debate on Human Rights 2018, 8-10 September 2018, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


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 Annual Report 2018

Posted on: 10 August, 2018

This Annual Report covers the period between July 2017 and June 2018.

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened four AICHR Meetings, and organised a series of activities in line with its annual Priority Programmes/Activities 2017/2018 for the period under review.

On cross-pillar and cross-sectoral cooperation, the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community initiated by the AICHR and held in collaboration with the 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) has continued its deliberation for an ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The AICHR Cross-Sectoral Consultation on the Human Rights-based Instruments related to the Implementation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Person, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) was organised as a follow-up to the AICHR-SOMTC consultation held in November 2015 on similar theme.

The fourth youth debate on human rights and a roundtable on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration were organised in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN.

Some notable progress in the work of the AICHR include the completion of the second AICHR Thematic Study, namely on Women Affected by Natural Disasters, and conferment of twelve CSOs with Consultative Relationship with the AICHR.

On the external relations front, the AICHR hosted the 2nd ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights together with the ACWC, the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), and the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) in November 2017. In December 2017, the AICHR conducted a study visit to Australia at the invitation of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The full report is available for download:

  AICHR Annual Report 2018 (664.5 KiB, 941 hits)

AICHR Calls for Application for a Consultative Relationship with the AICHR

Posted on: 6 August, 2018

To further its engagement with CSOs, the AICHR is receiving new applications for CSOs/Institutions wish to have a Consultative Relationship with the AICHR.

Submission of applications are welcomed until 12 October 2018. Completed applications (Application Form and all supporting documents) will be deliberated at the next AICHR Meeting.

Please be advised that the documents submitted to should not exceed 5 MB.

Application Form appears as below.

  Application Form for Consultative Relationship with the AICHR (20.6 KiB, 2,227 hits)

For more details on eligibility and procedures of applying, please refer to:

  Guidelines on the AICHR’s Relations with Civil Society Organisations (525.6 KiB, 5,976 hits)



Press Release: Special Meeting (1/2018) of the AICHR, 31 July – 3 August 2018, Singapore

Posted on: 4 August, 2018

Special Meeting (1/2018) of the AICHR in SingaporeThe ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its first Special Meeting in 2018 from 31 July to 3 August in Singapore.  The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Barry Desker, Representative of Singapore to the AICHR.

The Meeting discussed the progress of the implementation of the Priority Programmes/Activities of the AICHR 2018, which covers areas including right to health, children’s rights, and rights of persons with disabilities, ICT and gender equality towards the sustainable development goals.

The AICHR also discussed the upcoming Workshop on Article 14 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, ASEAN Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment, and the 5th AICHR Youth Debate on Human Rights. The Meeting was also briefed on several ongoing AICHR thematic studies, including on the right to education, right to peace, access to justice, and migration and human rights.

AICHR Representatives at the AMM Interface with AICHR during 51st AMM and Related Meetings

On August 1 2018, the AICHR held its annual interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) during the 51st AMM and Related Meetings. The Interface saw candid exchanges between the Ministers and the AICHR on human rights in the region, taking into account the diversity among ASEAN Member States. Recognising the important role of the AICHR and its significant contribution to ASEAN Community-building, the AMM reaffirmed its support to AICHR’s endeavours in the promotion and protection of human rights. The AICHR also delivered its Statement and submitted its Annual Report 2018 to the AMM at the Interface. The AICHR Annual Report 2018 will be uploaded on the AICHR website.

The Meeting was also briefed on the ongoing work of ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) with Myanmar to deliver humanitarian assistance and aid to all displaced persons.

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 from 26 to 29 November in Singapore.

Press Release – 7th Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, 6th July 2018, Jakarta, Indonesia

Posted on: 9 July, 2018

ASEAN Disability Forum with the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN 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 7th meeting on the 6th July 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

At this meeting, the Task Force continued its deliberation on the draft ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which focuses on the finalisation of the draft Enabling Masterplan, including ways to ensure that the Enabling Masterplan is implementable, effectively monitored and reported.

Furthermore, the Meeting also highlighted the importance of the involvement and commitment of all ASEAN Community Pillars, respective sectoral bodies and other stakeholders for the effective implementation of the Enabling Masterplan.

Representatives of ASEAN Disability Forum at the 7th Meeting of the Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community

The Task Force also met with representatives from the ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF). The Meeting discussed the ADF’s recommendations to the draft Enabling Masterplan which underscored meaningful participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities and ensuring that the Enabling Masterplan is in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) framework.

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community, Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, through a letter conveyed his congratulation and support to the Task Force on the regional endeavor in promoting the inclusion and mainstreaming of the rights and perspectives 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).

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, 1,139 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.