MARUAH has taken a step forward in its continuing effort to lend its voice to the formulation of an ASEAN-wide Human Rights Body.
MARUAH drafted a position paper on the proposed ASEAN Human Rights body, and submitted it on September 11th to the High-Level Panel (HLP) tasked with drafting the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the proposed Body.
To ensure that the position paper reflects the spirit and thoughts of Singaporeans, a public consultation was held on 6th September 2008. Attendees, mainly Singaporeans, provided useful suggestions and recommendations which were then incorporated into the final position paper. MARUAH was pleased with and thankful for the very helpful feedback received.
MARUAH will also continue its consultations on this matter with more groups. The primary research for the paper was done by the legal research team led by former Law Society President, Mr Peter Low.
MARUAH’s position as in its Position Paper is premised on the fact that the High Level Panel’s terms of reference must include setting up an ASEAN Human Rights System which would comprise:
ASEAN Human Rights Commission that would be responsible for promoting human rights, direct reporting and investigations on human rights violations and ensure compliance with accepted human rights norms.
ASEAN Human Rights Court that would be would be the forum for adjudicating on whether human rights norms have been contravened.
ASEAN Human Rights Convention which would enshrine a common basis of human rights norms applicable to the ASEAN member states that the commission and court would refer to.
MARUAH (Singapore) acknowledges that the High Level Panel’s work is challenging and suggests that whilst the draft proposal for the mechanism is crafted it is equally important to also create a road map for a full system to be put into place, in an evolutionary manner but with clear time frames.
Ms Braema Mathi, Coordinator, MARUAH and Singapore Focal Point for the The Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism who attended the High Level Panel- Civil Society dialogue in Manila, said:
“It was a good first round in discussions between the High Level Panel and the Civil Society Organisations. Everyone is keen to have a credible ASEAN Human Rights Body that addresses both the promotion and protection of rights. Having one function without the other would mean a hollow structure for the ASEAN Human Rights Body, in the long run. It is also important that the High Level Panel incorporate a road map with clear timelines for a whole human rights system to be put into place in ASEAN.
“MARUAH will continue to engage the High Level Panel and other CSOs to contribute to the process. This is a very important moment in ASEAN’s history and we all have a role to play to ensure that a rules-based approach in ASEAN shall help the people.”
Please click the links below for our position paper, and related annexes.
Position paper on the proposed ASEAN human rights body