High Level Dialogue on Human Rights in ASEAN – Assessing the 10 Years Evolution of AICHR
25 June 2019 12:05 pm
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was established in 2009 as an overarching institution mandated to promote and protect human rights in the ASEAN region. During the first decade of its existence, the region has witnessed widespread and systemic human rights violations perpetrated by state authorities, as well as abuses by non-state actors.
On 8 May 2019, 33 representatives from national, regional, and international civil society organisations (CSOs) convened in Jakarta, Indonesia to assess the evolution of AICHR in a dialogue organised by FORUM-ASIA, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). They took stock on progress made, identified challenges, pinpointed opportunities and produced recommendations for AICHR to fully function for the promotion and protection of human rights in Southeast Asia.
It was concluded that AICHR has not been very effective to provide protection and serve as a regional recourse for victims of human rights violations, people whose own states have failed to protect them. CSOs have observed that there has been a consistent and total silence from AICHR as an institution when it comes to addressing human rights violations in the ASEAN member states. The regional mechanism has failed to act meaningfully – or to act at all, for that matter – on emerging reports of egregious violations of human rights in the ASEAN region.
Participants agreed that it is critical for both the AICHR and ASEAN Member States to step up to the task. It is high time that AICHR devotes itself to the task of protecting human rights in the region while maintaining and strengthening its ongoing promotion activities.
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