The Special Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was convened on 23 – 24 July 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The Meeting conducted its annual interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers at the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM). At this fifth interface, the AICHR submitted its Annual Report 2016 to the AMM which sets out the programmes and activities undertaken over the past year, and provided its observations and the challenges. The AMM endorsed the Priority Programmes/Activities of the AICHR 2017.
During this two-day meeting, the AICHR deliberated on upcoming activities to be undertaken this year. As part of its endeavor to strengthen interaction with other ASEAN Organs and Bodies, the AICHR in collaboration with the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN will co-organise a Panel Discussion on the Socialisation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) which aims to highlight the good work that ASEAN is doing to protect its people by its all-inclusive approach to address trafficking. As a follow-up to one of the recommendations from the previous Workshop, the Meeting agreed to organise the 3rd AICHR workshop relating human rights, environment and climate change, the AICHR Workshop on the Rights Based Approach to Regional Management Strategy for an Effective Environmental Assessment.
In its effort to contribute to the building of a rules-based, people-centered and people oriented ASEAN Community, the Meeting agreed to organise the AICHR Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices regarding International Human Rights Law and Human Rights Cases in Domestic Courts. One of the objectives of this activity is to encourage greater peer-to-peer interaction between relevant stakeholders such as judges, AICHR representatives, and other ASEAN relevant sectorial bodies such as ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM) and ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM).
The Meeting took note of the reports of several activities the AICHR has been conducting this year, and extensively discussed on the new thematic study the AICHR is embarking upon, the Thematic Study on the Right to Education, as well as one of its new initiatives to be undertaken in 2017 which pertains to the right to safe drinking water & sanitation. The Meeting was also briefed on the progress on the establishment of Task Force on the Mainstreaming of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community.
The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Lao PDR for the gracious hospitality and excellent arrangements of the meeting. The next meeting of the AICHR will take place at the last week of October in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.