This is to provide you some updates with regard to ASEAN. As you may
know, the first High Level Panel (HLP) meeting on the establishment of
an ASEAN human rights body was held during the 41st ASEAN Ministerial
Meeting Singapore, 21 July 2008. The HLP is currently being chaired by
Thailand. Please see attached for the list of HLP members.
The HLP agreed to hold monthly meetings in order to meet their goal of
reporting to the Foreign Ministers at the next ASEAN Summit in
December. The HLP members agreed to engage ASEAN civil society in their
work. Below are the schedule of HLP meetings:
o 21 July – 1st HLP in Singapore
o 14 August – 2nd HLP in Chiang Mai
o 12-14 September- 3rd HLP in Manila
o 3-5 November- 4th HLP in Singapore
o 13-15 November- 5th HLP in Bali, Indonesia
o 11-12 December- 6th HLP in Bangkok,Thailand.
o 12-15 January 2009- 7th Brunei Darussalam
o 17-20 February 2009 – Laos
o 16-19 March 2009 – Malaysia
o 1-4 April 2009 – Cambodia
o 5-8 May 2009 – Vietnam
o 3-6 June 2009 – Myanmar
o 13-14 July 2009
On 12-14 September 2008, the SAPA TF AHR was invited to the 3rd HLP
meeting in Manila. During the meeting, it was found out that the HLP
members identified 15 elements to be discussed in relation to the TOR
on the establishment of the ASEAN human rights body.
On 13-14 October, a meeting was held among HLP assistants to further
the detail of the elements of the TOR in Bangkok, Thailand. On October
16, the HLP member from Malaysia informed the Kuala Lumpur based CSOs
on the 15 elements and requested CSOs to submit their inputs on the
following 15 elements:
o Purpose and Principles
o Evolutionary process
o Nature and status
o Mandate and function
o Organization structure
o Composition and modalities
o Role of ASEAN secretariat
o Relationship with Other Relevant Human Rights Instruments and Bodies
o Relationship with Regional and International Human Rights Entities
o Rules of procedure, budget
o Road map
o General provisions
See attached proposed TOR prepared by the SAPA TF AHR.
Further, it was learnt that the HLP considers: a) one ASEAN human
rights body to oversee human rights , including women’s rights, child’s
rights, and migrant’s rights issues, b) this body will report and
submit an annual report to the ASEAN Coordinating Council, c) the ASEAN
human rights body will be an inter-government body, and d) the ASEAN
human rights body may refer to UDHR, VAP, CEDAW, CRC unless there is an
ASEAN human rights declaration or convention.
There had been a resistance from civil society groups during the 2nd
Regional Consultation on ASEAN and human rights in Jakarta from 4-7
August 2008 on having ASEAN human rights declaration/convention as it
may compromise the international human rights standards with the so
called “Asian values”. Hence, the strategy meeting was held on 28-29 to
be able to come up with another CSO submission on the 15 elements. This
meeting resulted to: a) CSO submission on the 15 elements of the TOR
for AHRB: b) CSO minimum demand to the HLP and; c) refined and revised
strategic plan of the SAPA TF AHR.
On October 30, the SAPA TF AHR was also able to meet with Ibu Wiwiek,
HLP Indonesia. Among the matters shared by the HLP Indonesia were:
o With regard to the ASEAN convention, she suggested that the ASEAN
convention should follow the minimum standard. The international human
rights standards are the minimum standards
o The objective of the TOR is to provide the description of the
establishment of the AHRB to be adopted by the ASEAN Leaders in
December 2009. The first draft will be submitted to the 14th ASEAN
Summit on 14 December 2008.
o The body will be established in December 2009 and will be announced
in the 15th ASEAN Summit. On 2010, there will be a process of
appointment of the commissioner (s). After that, the Commission will
be able to receive complaints.
o The minimum acceptance that had been secured by all ASEAN countries
on the AHRB is basically three aspects: a) the establishment of a body;
b) the appointment of the commissioner (s), and; the creation of ASEAN
o The 5th HLP meeting in Bali, HLP will not invite CSOs and therefore
there will be no interface meeting with CSO. HLP will meet with AIPA
only. However, HLP Indonesia, as a host, agreed to receive Regional
o The first draft of the TOR will be shared to the CSOs before it goes
to the ASEAN leaders in December 2008.
The TF has already submitted its inputs on the 15 elements to H.E.
Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Chair of the HLP, on 7 November which we hope
will be shared with the rest of the HLP on its 5th meeting slated on
13-15 November in Bali. See attached draft. SAPA TF ARH will have an
interface with HLP Indonesia on 12 November.
Courage, Power in a life full of meaning.
Migrant Forum in Asia