UN Human Rights Chief welcomes important step towards establishment of ASEAN Commission on Human Rights

23 July 2009

UN Human Rights Chief welcomes important step towards establishment of ASEAN Commission on Human Rights

GENEVA — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday welcomed the endorsement by ASEAN Foreign Ministers of the terms of reference for the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, which she called “an important step forward” in the establishment of a new mechanism to protect and promote the human rights of people living in the ASEAN region.
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The human rights balancing act

22 July 2009

The human rights balancing act
by Braema Mathiaparanam

THE ASEAN Human Rights Body is finally on its way to realisation now that all the foreign ministers of the Association of South-east Asian Nations have endorsed the Terms of Reference (TOR) at their meeting in Phuket.

Named the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Human Rights Commission, the body is slated to be officially established at the ASEAN summit in October.
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NO to Rape. Petition now.

22 July 2009

MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism) would like to extend its fullest support to the ongoing petition to protect spouses against marital rape.

Raping one’s spouse is an act of violence that is in gross violation of his or her human rights. Marriage should not grant one the ability to abuse one’s spouse through non-consensual sexual activity.

Please click here now to sign the petition to end marital rape immunity in Singapore.

“Rape is rape is rape. An extreme form of violence and violation. Rape of a woman by her husband should be treated just like any other kind of rape. Abolish marital rape immunity. There can be no exceptions.”


ASEAN: Creation of a Human Rights Body

17 July 2009

The Bangkok Post recently commented on the proposed ASEAN Human Rights Body, see below.

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Toothless in infancy, but the victory is in being born

How will you see the situation in Burma, where the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is facing the possibility of a five-year prison term? That will be the first litmus test for the new human rights body.
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8th Workshop on the ASEAN Regional Mechanism on Human Rights – Day 2

17 July 2009

The Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism (MARUAH) attended the 8th Workshop on the ASEAN Regional Mechanism on Human Rights in Bangkok, Thailand, 14-15 July 2009.

See Day 1 proceedings here.

In Day 2 of the workshop, speakers and participants discussed the following issues

  • Government ministries should provide logistical support to the country representatives in the proposed ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB)
  • Selection process for the country representatives to the AHRB should be transparent (Paris Principles)
  • Existing National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) can provide training & capacity building
  • Civil society will continue to adopt a watchdog role to monitor the performance of the AHRB
  • Civil society will be the link between governments and the public
  • Human rights issues should not merely be regarded as internal affairs, as there may be spillover effects on regional peace & security
  • Regional standards should not be used to lower standards
  • Role for AHRB beyond the regional – other regional bodies address national issues too, especially if national bodies are insufficient, or local remedies exhausted

8th Workshop on the ASEAN Regional Mechanism on Human Rights – Day 1

16 July 2009

The Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism (MARUAH) is attending the 8th Workshop on the ASEAN Regional Mechanism on Human Rights in Bangkok, Thailand, 14-15 July 2009.

In Day 1 of the workshop, speakers and participants discussed the following issues

  • ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB) should not be a standalone, but part of a regime, including a set of norms
  • Human rights should be mainstreamed across the 3 ASEAN pillars
  • Concept of non-interference remains, but should be viewed objectively under international law, and not subjectively
  • CSOs should engage the entire ASEAN structure, and not just the AHRB
  • A thematic approach may be more acceptable to member states
  • Rules of procedures will be drafted to guide the AHRB
  • CSOs need to move quickly to engage states on the AHRB representatives selection process
  • ASEAN Committee for Migrant Workers (ACMW) has not made a decision on how to deal with undocumented migrant workers
  • Existing UN standards should be utilised to guide ASEAN (no need to reinvent the wheel)
  • As all 10 ASEAN countries have ratified CEDAW and CRC, the ASEAN commission on the protection and promotion of the rights of women and children (ACWC) should have standards in-line with those UN conventions

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