AICHR holds regional Forum on Right to Health
JAKARTA, 8 July 2021– The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) held the AICHR Forum on the Right to Health in Jakarta on 29 June, virtually. The forum focused on the issues related to the realisation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and UHC for groups at risk or infected by COVID-19, particularly for migrant workers in ASEAN.
In her welcoming remarks, H.E. Hjh Nor Hashimah Hj Mohammed Taib, Chair and the Representative of Brunei Darussalam to the AICHR, emphasised the importance of integrating the implementation of the AICHR Five-Year Work Plan 2021-2025 with other existing work plans.
On her part, Indonesia’s representative to the AICHR, H.E. Wahyuningrum highlighted the character of the right to health that is related and dependent upon the realisation of other human rights, including; the rights to food, housing, work, education, human dignity, life, non-discrimination, equality, the prohibition against torture, privacy, access to information, and the freedoms of association, assembly, and movement.
She further said that health was centrally placed in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, as one of its focuses is on UHC. She also hoped that the forum would contribute to current ASEAN Sectoral Bodies’ discussions regarding the portable social security for migrant workers as stated in the 2020 ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.
Meanwhile, Faizal Chery Sidharta, Director for the ASEAN Political-Security Cooperation of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, underscored the state’s progressive obligation to realise the principles of UHC to include: availability, accessibility, quality, and acceptability. He emphasised the need to secure a strong political commitment of each ASEAN Member State (AMS) to safeguard health budgets and strengthen the ASEAN sectoral body collaboration particularly between stakeholders of human rights, health, and migrant workers
Around 111 participants from AMS, ASEAN Sectoral bodies, ASEAN entities, civil society organisations, civitas academia, researchers, UN bodies, and the representatives from foreign embassies to ASEAN, attended the one-day forum.
They discussed best practices, gaps, and challenges in realising UHC during the COVID-19 pandemic, and lessons learnt toward building back better in the post-pandemic context. The forum also discussed experiences in realising the right to health for migrant workers through portable social security in the AMS and in European Union.
Participants came up with the following recommendations to realise UHC for groups at risk, or infected by COVID-19, particularly migrant workers:
- While supporting ASEAN’s efforts on the establishment of ASEAN Centre for Disease Control, human rights should be at the heart of approaches, to address public health crisis;
- To include mental healthcare into the package of UHC;
- To maximise the use of digital technology to accelerate and improve UHC for all;
- To strengthen partnership, cooperation, networking, and multi-sectoral engagement in realising UHC in the ASEAN region;
AICHR appreciated the support from the Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the realisation of the forum.