ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Launched by Leaders during the 15th ASEAN Summit
ASEAN Leaders launched the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in a ceremony in Cha-am Hua Hin, Thailand, on 23 October, thus signaling the top political blessing to this new ASEAN body to promote regional cooperation on promotion and protection of human rights.
They reiterated their support for cooperation on human rights in ASEAN and for the AICHR to become and to provide the overarching framework for human rights cooperation in ASEAN. See the Summit Declaration issued during the launch at http://www.aseansec.org/documents/Declaration-AICHR.pdf.
Ten national Representatives, one from each Member State, forming the AICHR come from rather diverse backgrounds. They are Mr. Pehin Dato Hamid Bakal (Brunei), Mr. Om Yentieng (Cambodia), Mr. Rafendi Djamin (Indonesia), Mr. Bounkeut Sangsomsak (Lao PDR), Mr. Dato’ Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (Malaysia), Mr. Kyaw Tint Swe (Myanmar), Mrs. Rosario G. Manalo (the Philippines), Mr. Richard Magnus (Singapore), Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree (Thailand), and Mr. Do Ngoc Son (Viet Nam).
The AICHR Representatives met for their introductory meeting on 24 October 2009. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree, the national Representative of Thailand.
The meeting agreed to convene an informal meeting in Bangkok from 18-19 December 2009 to discuss how to prepare the 5-year work plan for the AICHR, priorities in 2010 and funding modalities for the work of the AICHR, etc.
The Chair of the AICHR issued the following Press Statement on the Introductory Meeting of the AICHR:
“Representatives of ASEAN Member States to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened an informal introductory meeting on 24 October 2009 in Hua Hin, Thailand, after its inauguration by ASEAN Leaders a day earlier. The list of Representatives to the AICHR is attached.
During the meeting, we had a discussion with the High Level Panel on the ASEAN Human Rights Body (HLP), the drafters of the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the AICHR, on issues relevant to the implementation of the TOR with a view to ensuring that the AICHR will be able to function in an effective and evolutionary manner as envisaged by ASEAN Leaders.
We also had a preliminary discussion on our procedures of work and schedule of meetings this year and in 2010. We agreed to convene an informal meeting in mid-December this year in Bangkok to discuss our work plan and activities.
For the next year, apart from the two regular meetings as provided for in the TOR, we agreed to convene an additional meeting in the light of the substantial amount of work that lies ahead of us. In this connection, we appreciate the offer of Malaysia to host an additional meeting in the later half of 2010.
Our meeting was conducted in the traditional ASEAN spirit of cordiality and solidarity.”