Press Release: Follow-up to the AMM's Statement on the Review of the TOR of the AICHR to Strengthen the AICHR’s Protection Mandate and the ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights Preparation

Special AICHR Meeting Manila 2015

Following-up to the recent Interface with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened a Special Meeting in Manila, Philippines on 16-17 September 2015. The main objective for the Special Meeting was to follow-up the AICHR-AMM Interface, as well as to complete the implementation of activities under the AICHR’s Priority Programmes for 2015.

Rafendi Djamin, Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, led the Indonesian Delegation throughout the Special Meeting. Following-up discussions of the AICHR-AMM Interface, Indonesia supported the common understanding to advise the AMM, in regards to the measures that must be undertaken by the AICHR on the review of its Terms of Reference (TOR).  

During discussions on the AICHR’s Thematic Studies, Indonesia proposed two new activities to be undertaken within the AICHR Priority Programmes for 2015/2016. Such activities are (1) “Thematic Study on the Right to Life” – with a focus on moratorium of the death penalty; and, (2) “Thematic Study on Juvenile Justice System in ASEAN” – with a focus on looking at alternative measures (i.e. diversion) on juvenile detention, with a view to develop Guidelines for Juvenile Justice in ASEAN. The above-mentioned proposals generated various views and inputs from Member States – namely the Concept Paper on the Thematic Study on the Right to Life. To that regard, the Representatives of Malaysia and Thailand reiterated their interest to be co-lead countries for the Thematic Study. The AICHR were supported the idea for the two Thematic Studies in principle. Based on the AICHR’s views and inputs, the Thematic Study on the Right to Life will focus on the human rights' protection of death row inmates. Moreover, the Thematic Study on Juvenile Justice System will be focused on diversion policy and alternative detention.

The AICHR also discussed the ways to move forward and expedite the completion of two on-going Thematic Studies. The “Thematic Study on Migration and Human Rights”, in which Indonesia is taking lead, is expected to conclude by end of this year. On the other hand, the “Thematic Study on the Right to Peace” which is being led by Lao PDR, is expected to be completed next year, under their Chairmanship of ASEAN and AICHR.

As per Indonesia’s initiative, the AICHR held a bilateral meeting with representatives from the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Philippines, as SOMTC's Lead Shepherd for the issue of trafficking in persons. The meeting was aimed to reach common understanding on the preparation of the “AICHR-SOMTC Joint Workshop on Human Rights-based Approach to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children” – led by the Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, and scheduled for early November 2015 in Yogyakarta, prior to the 27th ASEAN Summit.

Finally, the AICHR also underwent through final stages of preparation for the ASEAN-EU Human Rights Policy Dialogue, where the AICHR and other ASEAN organs and/or sectoral bodies related to human rights (i.e. ACWC, ACMW and the ASEAN Secretariat) will be visiting the European Union headquarter in Brussels, Belgium. Human rights issues that are of concerns to both regions – such as migration and human rights, rights of persons with disabilities, rights of women and children, business and human rights and corporate social responsibility are included in the Dialogue’s programme. The Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR, together with the Chair of ACMW, will be leading discussions on issues of migration and human rights in the two regions. Additionally, the AICHR is also scheduled to meet the European Parliament, representatives from European NGOs, representatives of persons with disabilities, as well as the European Business Community.

The AICHR will be holding its last Meeting under the Chairmanship of Malaysia at the end of November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur. It is expected that activities initiated and being led by Indonesia could be adopted by the AICHR at the said Meeting, for immediate implementation.

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