Road Map I.Introduction Human rights on the ASEAN Agenda Establishment of the AICHR II. Mandate and functions of the AICHR III. Challenges of the AICHR IIIIII
Establishment of the AICHR IIIIII the World Conference on Human Rights; the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) 2004 Adoption of Vientiane Action Programme 1997 Adoption of the Hanoi Plan of Action (HPA) 2008 Adoption of ASEAN Charter 2009 Adoption of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2015 and the 3 ASEAN Community Blueprints 2009 Establishment of the AICHR at the 15th ASEAN Summit in Cha- Am Hua Hin, Thailand 2009 ToR of the AICHR 1993 the Joint Communiqué of the 26 th AMM
Human rights on the ASEAN Agenda 1993 the ASEAN Member states (6 ASEAN Countries) participated in the World Conference on Human Rights, which was organized by the United Nations, in Vienna, Austria. The Conference resulted in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA). In the Joint Communiqué of the 26 th AMM in 1993, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers (AMM) welcomed the international consensus achieved during the World Conference on Human Rights and reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as referred in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA). This basically led to AMM’s consideration on having an appropriate regional mechanism on human rights. Introduction IIIIII
Human rights on the ASEAN Agenda The 1997 Hanoi Plan of Action (HPA) and the 2004 Vientiane Action Programme emphasized realization of human rights among ASEAN member states, including states’ obligations on promotion and protection of human rights. In 2009 the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2015 and the three ASEAN Community Blueprints were adopted by the member states, with a view to expediting the establishment of an ASEAN Community by Introduction IIIIII
Establishment of the AICHR Due to all commitments that ASEAN member states have made in regard to human rights since 1993, the establishment of a regional mechanism on human rights was included in the ASEAN Charter (Article 14) and also the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint (section A.1.5 Promotion and protection of Human Right). “In conformity with the purposes and principles of the ASEAN Charter relating to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, ASEAN shall establish an ASEAN human rights body” The ASEAN Charter (Article 14) “Establishing an ASEAN human rights body through the completion of its Terms of Reference (ToR) by 2009 and encourage cooperation between it and existing human rights mechanism….” The APSC Blueprint (section A.1.5) Introduction IIIIII
In 2009 the High Level Panel on an ASEAN Human Rights Body drafted the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and was adopted by the ASEAN Foreign Minister Meeting. The AICHR was formally inaugurated at the 15 th ASEAN Summit in Cha-Am Hua Hin, Thailand in 2009 and the 10 AICHR representatives, 1 from each member state, were appointed. The first-term of the AICHR representatives had served their term from Establishment of the AICHR IIIIII The first-term of the AICHR representatives
The first Thailand representative and the first chairperson of the AICHR was Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree from Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University. Establishment of the AICHR IIIIII
The second-term of the AICHR representatives were appointed to serve a term during of the AICHR representatives from the first-term were reappointed; the AICHR representatives from Brunei, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines and Malaysia. The current chairperson of the AICHR is H.E. Pehin Dato Dr. Awang Hj. Ahmad bin Hj. Jumat from Brunei. IIIIII The second-term of the AICHR representatives
IIIIII The AICHR is considered as intergovernmental and consultative body. It is also the integral part of the ASEAN organizational structure under Political-Security Pillar. (Article 3 of ToR) The AICHR has the ASEAN Secretariat, at Jakarta, Indonesia to serve as its main secretariat and also Ministry of Foreign Affairs of each member state to serve as its national secretariat. The ASEAN Secretariat, at Jakarta, Indonesia
The AICHR has been working as a human rights mechanism of ASEAN for almost 5 years since ASEAN Human Right Declaration (AHRD) One of its achievements is a completion of ASEAN Human Right Declaration (AHRD), which was adopted in AHRD booklet
IIIIII The working principles of the AICHR; Principle of consensus (as a decision-making modality (Article 6.1)) Principle of non-interference in internal affairs of every Member States. (Article 2.1 (b))
Selection of AICHR representatives According to Article 5 on Composition in the AICHR’s ToR, Member States are allowed to use their internal procedure to select the AICHR representatives based on appropriate qualifications and consultation with stakeholders. Each Representative serves a term of 3 years and can be reappointed once (Article 5.5).
IIIIII According to Article 6.8 of the AICHR’s ToR, “ the AICHR is the overarching human rights institution in ASEAN with overall responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN”. However, we can divided the AICHR’s mandates into 2 main mandates; Promotion of human rights Protection of human rights
IIIIII Protection Promotion Develop AHRD Public Awareness Capacity building Thematic studies on human right Obtain information Encourage ratification However, there is an imbalance of the AICHR’s mandates between protection and promotion of human rights. The AICHR’s mandates of promotion of human rights are stipulated in Article 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 and 4.12., while there is only one mandate of protection of human rights as referred in Article 4.10 of ToR.
IIIIII The AICHR’s Five Year Work Plan ( ) The AICHR is currently following its Five Year Work Plan, which is a roadmap of programmes and activities for the AICHR from AICHR’s Thailand’s activities Drafting Guidelines on the AICHR’s relations with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Drafting ASEAN Convention on the Elimination of Violence again Women The AICHR Advance Training on Human Rights: Training of the trainers (16-20 November 2013) The revision of the AICHR’s ToR (next year) The Regional Best Practices Training (next year)
III. Challenges IIIIII I. Lack of common understanding among Member States Lack of recognition on significance of human rights Lack of ‘Commonalities’ among AMS [at the moment only CEDAW (women) and CRC (Children)] Misunderstanding of a concept of human rights Violation of human rights is often viewed as an issue between Member States and their citizens. This leads to a debatable issue when human rights issue in particular country is being discussed in the regional level, whether this will contradict to the principle of non-interference of Member States’ internal affairs or not.
IIIIII III. Challenges II. Selection process and status of the AICHR’s representatives Practically, there are 2 ways of selection of the AICHR representatives; opening process and direct appointment by the government. Only Thailand and Indonesia used the first way of selection of the AICHR representatives. Different standard of the selection contributes to dissimilarity among the AICHR representatives in terms of understanding and attitude toward human rights. Different interpretation of responsibilities in ToR is also another critical issue; ‘to be accountable to the appointing government (Article 5.2)’ VS. ‘to act impartially (Article 5.7)’.
IIIIII III. Challenges III. Decision-making The AICHR has a decision-making process based on consultation and consensus (Article 6.1). Practically, it is difficult to get a positive agreement from all AICHR representatives.
IIIIII III. Challenges IV. Engagement with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) The AICHR has been criticized as a ‘Secretive organization’. The Working Group for an ASEAN human rights mechanism (WGHRM) has been an only one CSO, who is able to participate in the work of the AICHR. The AICHR has not yet adopted its own Guidelines of CSO engagement, while ASEAN already has ‘the Guidelines on Accreditation of CSOs’, which was adopted by the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN in This has led to difficulties of collaboration between the AICHR and CSOs.
IIIIII III. Challenges V. Collaboration with other ASEAN human rights bodies The AICHR is working under Political-Security Pillar. However, its work is actually relevant to all pillars (Economic, Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Pillar), since human rights are a cross-cutting issue. This structure has led to difficulties in collaborating with other human rights bodies, for example, ASEAN Commission on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) and the ASEAN Committee on the Protection and Promotion of the Right of Migrant Workers (ACMW).
IIIIII III. Challenges VI. Lack of Dedicated Secretariat