ASEAN rights body sets out priority areas

23 February 2010

The Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions highlights developments to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

ASEAN rights body sets out priority areas
The ASEAN secretariat and newly-appointed members of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights are currently in the process of developing the rules of procedure for the new body and determining its strategic priorities.

An initial draft of the commission’s regulations will be ready for its first official meeting in Jakarta next month, while a five-year working plan will be completed by July.

Thailand’s nominee to AICHR, Commissioner Sriprapha Petcharamesree last week met with representatives of Thai civil society groups and advised them that the AICHR’s priorities for the coming year include:
* raising awareness of AICHR
* starting the process of drafting an ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights, and
* undertaking two studies, one on corporate social responsibility and one on migration.

Ms Sriprapha has told the Bangkok Post that public meetings – held in Bangkok and four other regions – would be organised to outline what the regional human rights body will do and to gather information for the AICHR as it further determines its strategic priorities.

The regional rights body was launched at an ASEAN regional summit in Hua Hin last October.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva opened the summit by defending the rights body against criticism that it was powerless to rein in members that breached its rules, such as army-ruled Burma and communist Vietnam and Laos.

Mr Abhisit said the creation of the commission was a significant milestone in the evolution of ASEAN.

However, the human rights body has been widely criticised for focusing on promotion, rather than protection, of human rights. The UN has urged leaders to make the commission credible.

ASEAN says it will review the body’s powers in five years.


Human rights issues step into the regional spotlight

23 February 2010

The Bangkok Post reports on updates to the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights.

Human rights issues step into the regional spotlight
* Published: 22/02/2010 at 12:00 AM
* Newspaper section: News

Five open seminars focusing on human rights issues will be held to gather information for the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Rules and procedures for the region’s new human rights body _ which critics say already focuses too much on promotion, rather than protection, of people’s rights _ are being drafted by the ASEAN Secretariat.

Commissioner Sriprapha Petcharamesree last week met representatives of civil society groups at the Foreign Ministry.

Ms Sriprapha said she was organising the five roadshows in Bangkok and four other regions to tell the public what the regional human rights body will do.

An initial draft of the regulations would be ready for the commission’s first official meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, next month. A five-year working plan would be completed by July.

The commission (known as AICHR) has several priorities for this year, she said. They include raising awareness of AICHR, starting the process of drafting an ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights, and undertaking two studies, on corporate social responsibility and migration.

The human rights body was launched at an ASEAN regional summit in Hua Hin last October.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva opened the summit by defending the rights body against criticism that it was powerless to rein in members that breached its rules, such as army-ruled Burma and communist Vietnam and Laos.

Mr Abhisit said the creation of the commission was a significant milestone in the evolution of ASEAN, launched while Thailand was ASEAN’s chair.

However, the human rights body has been widely criticised for focusing on promotion, rather than protection, of human rights. The UN has urged leaders to make the commission credible. ASEAN says it will review the body’s powers in five years.

About the author
Writer: Achara Ashayagachat
Position: Reporter


Nominations for Singapore’s representatives to ACWC

1 February 2010

Two representatives from MARUAH attended a briefing session organised by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) last week. At the briefing, MCYS announced that it is currently seeking nominations for Singapore’s representatives to the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC).

The Terms of Reference of the ACWC were released in November 2009. The TOR of the ACWC requires each ASEAN member state to appoint two representatives to the ACWC, one on women’s rights and the other on children’s rights.

MCYS asked the groups present at the briefing to consult with their stakeholders on, and/or to nominate, suitable candidates for nomination to these positions, based on certain criteria that were shared at the briefing. The deadline for submission of nominations to MCYS is 9 February 2010.

MARUAH would be happy to share further details on this process with any interested parties, and/or to provide any required assistance in submitting their nominations. Please send an email to maruahsg@gmail.com if you wish to learn more about this.

In the interests of transparency, MARUAH hereby discloses that it is currently also considering whether to nominate candidate(s) to the ACWC. MARUAH will work with any interested parties who contact it, to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place to preserve confidentiality and to prevent any conflict of interests.


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