Led by Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Mr. Rafendi Djamin, the AICHR hosted the first ever Dialogue between the AICHR and the ASEAN Community Councils on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD. The Dialogue was held on 25 – 26 May 2015 at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Indonesia, which was also supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
The Dialogue was opened by Mr. Rafendi Djamin and H.E. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs of the ASEAN Secretariat who delivered his Welcome Remarks on behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN.
The AICHR Dialogue with ASEAN Community Councils was convened as part of the AICHR’s priority programmes/activities for 2015. The objectives of the Dialogue among others, to identify and consult on how human rights norms and values as stipulated in the AHRD could be mainstreamed in the three pillars of ASEAN Community. The Dialogue also aimed at discussing and formulating human rights-based approach to be infused into the ASEAN Community Vision-2025. The activity is in line with the AICHR’s mandate as stipulated in its Terms of Reference (TOR) – particularly to develop strategies for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms to complement the building of the ASEAN Community (4.1), as well to engage in dialogue and consultation with other ASEAN bodies (4.8).
The Dialogue was attended by some Representatives of the AICHR, representatives from the ASEAN Community Councils, various ASEAN Sectoral Bodies under the three ASEAN community pillars, and the ASEAN Secretariat. Among Sectoral Bodies who participated in the Meeting were the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crimes (SOM-TC), Senior Officials Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF), ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Minerals (ASOMM), ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) and ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). Some Representatives from the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) also joined the Dialogue.
During the Dialogue, participants discussed about the AHRD and the Phnom Penh Statements as the main reference and the most comprehensive ASEAN document pertaining to human rights that cut across all pillars of ASEAN Community. Specifically, the Dialogue discussed about the progress, achievements, and challenges in the implementation of the three ASEAN Community Blueprints (2009 – 2015), and elaborated on how to strengthen human rights-based approach in the development of each Community-2025 Attendant Document.
In his presentation preceding the sessions on the ASEAN Community pillars, Mr Rafendi Djamin took to the Dialogue to explain about the application of rights-based approach as a tool to achieve a set of norms enshrined in the AHRD for the ASEAN Community Vision-2025 and its Attendant Documents. He also talked about the notion of rights-based approach to development that sets the achievement of human rights as an objective of development – with the elements of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, and empowerment.
The Dialogue was informed that some follow-up action to build collaboration/cooperation in addressing cross-pillar human rights issues are already in the process of preparation – such as a joint Regional Workshop between the AICHR and SOM-TC to address issues of trafficking in persons and human rights that will be conducted in the second-half of 2015.
The participants also discussed and came up with some of recommendations of the Dialogue. The recommendations emphasised, among others, that ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and Organs should mainstream human rights and use human rights-based approach in their work. The Dialogue also acknowledges that there should be better communication and coordination between the AICHR and the various Sectoral Bodies found in each ASEAN Community Council, as well as a better appreciation and consideration by the ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and entities on the application of the various provisions of the AHRD. In addition, the Dialogue sees that the AICHR and Sectoral Bodies should cooperate to address emerging regional human rights challenges such as irregular migration in a timely and effective manner.
The two-day Dialogue was closed with closing remarks by H.E. Amb. Dato’ Hasnudin Hamzah, Chair of the PR and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to ASEAN.