Joint Press Release – 4th ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights
Jakarta, 26 October 2022: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms at their 4th Policy Dialogue on Human Rights.
ASEAN and EU held their 4th Policy Dialogue on Human Rights in the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia, from 24 to 26 October 2022.
The dialogue covered a broad range of human rights issues including how to better ensure protection of children’s rights, rights of migrant workers and trafficking in persons, freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of religion or belief, the rights of persons with disabilities, environment and climate change, women’s rights and gender equality and social inclusion, as well as the protection of human rights while countering violent extremism.
While recognising that many challenges persist, the dialogue was an opportunity to take stock of key milestones of progress, for instance in the area of business and human rights in ASEAN. It was also an opportunity to discuss crisis situations worldwide and their human rights ramifications, including in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Myanmar, for which the EU raised particular concern.
As strong advocates of multilateralism, the EU and ASEAN both stressed that multilateral and regional cooperation underpinned by the principles of the UN Charter, ASEAN Charter, ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD, EU treaties, and international human rights law are essential to overcome the current global challenges.
The EU and ASEAN identified concrete steps to advance the promotion and protection of human rights, in line with their existing strategic partnership. Notably, the parties planned formalising cooperation in early 2023, in order to further strengthen the capacity of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), and explore collaboration in the areas of, among others, child’s rights, children’s access to justice, enhanced youth participation, migrant worker’s social protection, business and human rights, freedom of expression, strengthened gender mainstreaming, Women, Peace and Security, human rights approach in countering violent extremism, which are identified as regional priorities by ASEAN.
The Dialogue was preceded by a consultation with the representatives of civil society, youth and academia from Southeast Asia and Europe in the 2nd ASEAN EU Civil Society Forum which provided pertinent recommendations to the dialogue.
The 4th ASEAN EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights also engaged National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from ASEAN and the EU and shared best practices on ensuring access to justice as well as the prospects for human rights cooperation between regional and national human rights mechanisms.
While in Jakarta, bilateral meetings were also conducted between the EU delegation and some representatives of AICHR, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) and the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW).
The Dialogue was co-hosted by Ms. Wahyuningrum, Representative of Indonesia to AICHR and Mr. Chin Malin, Alternate Representative of Cambodia to AICHR who co-chaired the dialogue with Mr. Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights.