The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its 21st Meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta from 5 to 9 April 2016.
The annual meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat is one of the two main meetings of the AICHR. This is the first time the AICHR Representatives 2016 – 2018 gathered, and the meeting was dynamic and positive. Over the course of five days, the meeting had extensive discussions over many topics, including the adoption of several Concept Papers for activities under Priority Programmes/Activities of the AICHR 2016.
In its endeavor to pragmatically promote and protect human rights in line with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and to fulfill the measures of the ASEAN Political Security Community Blueprint 2025, all 10 Member States will take initiatives in leading activities in 2017 when ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary.
In 2016, the AICHR will embark on activities on the following themes: trafficking in persons; rights of persons with disabilities; human rights, environment and climate change, as part of the programmatic approach that has been adopted by the AICHR. The AICHR will also commence on a new thematic study, which focuses on the legal aid systems in all ASEAN Member States.
As part of the preparation for the AICHR’s interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, the Meeting deliberated on the AICHR Annual Report 2016 and the Priority Programmes/Activities of the AICHR 2017.
The Meeting conducted its annual interface with the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN where the current AICHR Representatives were introduced to the CPR. As the new Representatives come from various backgrounds, the Meeting was briefed on the role and function of the CPR, particularly in relation to ASEAN Dialogue Partners and cross-pillar coordination. The launch of the ASEAN Community calls for further promotion and protection of human rights to benefit the peoples of ASEAN. The AICHR and the CPR look forward to closer coordination and enhanced working relationship through regular interaction, sharing of information and jointly organized activities.
The Meeting also conducted its annual dialogue with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh where the AICHR expressed its appreciation towards his support for the establishment of the Human Rights Division under the ASEAN Political – Security Community Department. The Meeting also discussed the strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat’s support to the work of the AICHR in realising the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The AICHR met with H.E. Nina Hachigian, the U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN. Her Excellency expressed the U.S.’ continued support towards the building of a people-oriented, people-centered, and rules-based ASEAN Community, through the ASEAN-U.S. PROGRESS programme.
The AICHR received H.E. Fransisco Fontan Pardo, the EU Ambassador to ASEAN, and expressed its appreciation for the continued support of the EU to the work of the ASEAN human rights mechanisms.
The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the ASEAN Secretariat for the excellent arrangements of the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place on 2 to 3 July 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.