The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its 18th Meeting in Jakarta from 6 to 9 May 2015. The Meeting had extensive discussions on many issues including the drafting of AICHR’s Five Year Work Plan for the period 2016 – 2020 and AICHR’s Priority Programmes for 2016, as well as the implementation of activities to be conducted this year, such as the AICHR Workshop on Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Environment and Climate Change, the Regional Workshop on the Role of Youth in Promoting Human Rights in ASEAN, and the First ASEAN Symposium & Dialogue on the Role of the Judiciary in the Promotion & Protection of Human Rights in ASEAN.
The Meeting conducted its annual dialogue with the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN. Both parties expressed their commitment to enhance cooperation, especially with the establishment of the ASEAN Community by end 2015. AICHR and the CPR also agreed to strengthen coordination processes through the enhancement of information sharing. The Meeting also discussed the strengthening of ASEAN Secretariat’s support to the AICHR in light of the Recommendations of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) on Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and Reviewing the ASEAN Organs.
The meeting also conducted its annual dialogue with the Secretary-General of ASEAN. During its annual dialogue with the CPR as well as with the ASEAN Secretary-General, the AICHR stressed the importance of the appropriate placement of the Human Rights Division in the organizational structure of the ASEAN Secretariat, reiterating its unanimous view that the division should be placed under the ASEAN Political Security Community Pillar, considering the reporting line of AICHR and the cross-cutting nature of human rights.
AICHR met with H.E. Koichi Aiboshi, the Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, to follow up on the visit of the AICHR to Japan last year. The meeting identified the three areas of potential cooperation between AICHR and Japan i.e. empowerment of women, trafficking in persons, and rights of persons with disabilities. The Meeting also explored other areas of human rights for cooperation and discussed the modalities of cooperation, such as through Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).
The Meeting also received the delegation from the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and exchanged views in the area of protection and implementation of children’s rights, as well as explored other possible cooperation in the future.
The Meeting expressed appreciation to the ASEAN Secretariat for the excellent arrangements for the meeting. The next special meeting of the AICHR will take place from 13 to 15 June 2015 in Brunei Darussalam.