The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) successfully convened the 20th Meeting of the AICHR on 4 and 5 February 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Phoukhong Sisoulath, the Chair of the AICHR and the Representative of Lao PDR to the AICHR. The Meeting was the first regular meeting under the Chairmanship of Lao PDR and the first for the AICHR Representatives during 2016-2018 term.
Prior to the 20th AICHR Meeting, the AICHR conducted a Workshop on Transition (“the Workshop”) between the AICHR Representatives 2013 – 2015 and the AICHR Representatives 2016 – 2018. The Workshop aimed to facilitate smooth transition of the work already undertaken and ensure good continuity of the institutional arrangements of the AICHR. The Workshop discussed the overview on key documents of AICHR, project achievements, as well as the status of implementation of AICHR Five Year Work Plan and Annual Priority Programmes. Further, this one-day workshop provided an excellent venue for dialogue and sharing of experiences between the outgoing and incoming Representatives on the challenges facing the AICHR, issues carried forward and the emerging issues. One of the highlight of the workshop was on how the AICHR should continue its endeavor to mainstream human rights across all pillars of ASEAN, especially in light of the establishment of the ASEAN Community.
The 20th Meeting of the AICHR commenced with the discussion of priority activities that will be undertaken in 2016. Several of the activities built on the projects already undertaken by the AICHR, such as the 2nd AICHR Regional Dialogue on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community, where this year the AICHR is focusing on the right to health, right to education and right to employment for persons with disabilities; the AICHR Seminar on Promoting CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN, which will work on the recommendations from the baseline study the AICHR conducted for its Thematic Study on CSR and Human Rights; and the Annual Consultation on Human Rights-based Approach in the Implementation of ACTIP and APA; the AICHR Regional Forum on Media and Human Rights; the AICHR Youth Debates on Human Rights, which will be the third Youth Debate to be conducted. These activities indicate the shift into a more consistent and programmatic approach of AICHR’s projects.
Following the recent placement of the dedicated unit for the AICHR under the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the Meeting was briefed on the recently convened Eighth Coordinating Conference for the ASEAN Political-Security Community which discussed on the implementation of action lines under the APSC Blueprint 2025 by ASEAN Sectoral Bodies under the Political-Security pillar.
The Meeting thanked the Representative of Lao PDR to the AICHR and the government of Lao PDR for the hospitality and excellent arrangements for the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta.