The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) conducted a two-day Regional Consultation on the Thematic Study on Legal Aid on 11-12 October 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Regional Consultation brought national and regional researchers to share good practices and lessons-learned on legal aid within the ASEAN Member States’ jurisdiction to help refine the thematic study. This activity also allowed the researchers to gather inputs from the participants regarding the legal aid services for specific groups such as women, children, victims of trafficking and migrant workers. The implementation of legal aid for thematic areas, for example, cases related to natural resources as well as criminal cases, was also discussed.
In his keynote speech, Mr. Phil Matsheza, Head of Governance and Peacebuilding from UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, highlighted that legal aid is important to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Regionally, concerted efforts are, therefore, needed of the AICHR and other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies to promote legal aid in the ASEAN Member States as an integral part of the implementation of access to justice for the peoples of ASEAN.
This activity was attended by around 80 participants from the AICHR, the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW), the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD), Ministry of Justice the Kingdom of Thailand, relevant UN agencies, civil society organisations and the ASEAN Secretariat. The event was organised on behalf of the AICHR by Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, and was supported by the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument Human Rights Facility (READI HRF).