The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has failed to bring any discernible improvement to or provide any protection for the basic rights of the people of Southeast Asia since its inception in 2009, lawmakers said today.
This must be radically changed in ways that strengthen its independence and mandate if the Asean Community is to have any real meaning or impact.
"AICHR is holding consultations with civil society groups and other stakeholders regarding the review of its terms of reference. A lot of worthwhile and fundamental suggestions have been made, but it's unclear which, if any, of these opinions will be taken on board and implemented," said Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) President Eva Kusuma Sundari.
The Regional Consultation on Contribution to the Review of the AICHR's TOR is taking place in Bangkok during June 27-28.
"We are still very, very far from a properly functioning regional human rights mechanism, but if AICHR is to bring us any closer to the concept of collective responsibility and collective prosperity, then it has to be given the mandate to act, and be independent from national governmental interference: its representatives must represent the people of Southeast Asia, not the governments."
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