3 – 4 July 2014, Hanoi, Viet Nam
As part of the implementation of its Five Year Work Plans, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) conducted a Regional Workshop on the Reporting Obligations, which was hosted by Viet Nam in Ha Noi on 3 – 4 July 2014. The Workshop was opened by welcome remarks from H.E. Mr. Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam.
The Workshop was attended by the AICHR Representatives, representatives from relevant government agencies from ASEAN Member States involved in the reporting process, experts from UN Agencies and Members of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, ASEAN Secretariat as well as international and local non-governmental organisations. The Workshop reflected the increasing commitment and contribution of ASEAN in the various United Nations (UN) Human Rights Mechanisms in which ASEAN Member States have subscribed to. This was also an opportunity for AICHR to learn from the experience and best practices with a view to enhancing the implementation of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), as such further contributing to the ASEAN community building.
The Workshop provided a platform to learn about the reporting procedures both to the Human Rights Treaty Bodies as well as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). A country report on the implementation of a UN Human Rights Treaty has to highlight the developments of promotion and protection of rights as well as identify challenges and priorities of each government to ensure the better enjoyment of rights in the field of the treaty for its people. Similarly, under the UPR, each UN member state has to submit a national report on its overall human rights records once every four years and a half. This process is also conducted through an interactive dialogue between the state under review and other UN member states.
The Workshop was enriched by the presentations from Members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Committee, the UN Committee on Economic Social Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the UN Human Rights Committee. In addition, the workshop has also provided opportunities for both government agencies and other stakeholders to share best practices of in the preparation of national reports, as well as their implementation and monitoring of recommendations in their respective country.
The participants of the workshop discussed practical procedures and made some positive recommendations to address the current challenges faced by ASEAN Member States in drafting and presenting national reports and in the follow-up phase. The Workshop also called upon the AICHR to play a more robust role in line with their mandate as the overarching human rights institution in ASEAN and to assist where possible in the process such as conducting capacity development initiatives in ASEAN Member States.