to Institutionalize an ASEAN Human Rights Commission
(July 16-17, 2006/ Manila) Representatives of national
human rights institutions (NHRIs), ministries of foreign
affairs, non-governmental organizations, and the academe
from all ten ASEAN-member states affirmed the need to
institutionalize a human rights commission for the region.
From these sectors, nearly a hundred are participating
in the Sixth Workshop on the ASEAN Regional Mechanism
on Human Rights. The activity is co-organized by the Working
Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism (Working Group),
the Department of Foreign
Affairs of the Philippines (DFA) and the Commission
on Human Rights of the Philippines.
Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Franklin Ebdalin of the
Philippines delivers the keynote speech on behalf of Hon.
Alberto Romulo. Working Group Co-Chair Marzuki Darusman
shares the stage after welcoming the participants.
In his keynote speech, Hon.
Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the
Republic of the Philippines, declared that a human rights
commission is important in building an ASEAN community.
One of the pillars of the so-called ASEAN Community is
the security community, under which the promotion of human
rights falls under. Romulo also pointed out that the creation
of a regional human rights commission is especially pertinent
at this time when ASEAN is in the process of drafting
a legally-binding Chapter. The keynote was delivered by
Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Franklin Ebdalin in behalf
Members of the Working Group presented current updates
on the implementation of the human rights program areas
of the Vientiane Action Program (VAP). The VAP maps out
goals for each ASEAN community pillar which has to be
achieved by 2010. It can be recalled that on the occasion
of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos in
2005, ASEAN tasked the Working Group to provide its expertise
and services towards the implementation of the VAP, particularly
the on the establishment of an ASEAN commission on the
protection and promotion of the rights of women and children,
the elaboration of an ASEAN instrument on the protection
and promotion of the rights migrant workers, the education
and public awareness on human rights, and the networking
of national human rights institutions.
Participants of the 6th Workshop.
Dr. Sripapha Petcharamesree, head of the Thai Working
Group, and Dr. Varaporn Chamsit of Mahidol University
presented the partial results of a study which analyzed
ASEAN’s readiness for a regional commission on women
and children’s rights. Separate updates were also
given on national human rights institutions (NHRIs) cooperation,
human rights education, and migrant workers.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the 6th Workshop,”
said Working Group Co-Chair Marzuki Darusman, “we
appreciate the fresh views offered by participants and
observers who joined the discussions. Participation from
all stakeholders, especially those from civil society,
is important in the efforts to build an intergovernmental
human rights commission”.
The Working Group organizes workshops annually to create
a platform for dialogue on the establishment a human rights
commission for Southeast Asia. It's first
workshop took place in Kuala Lumpur in June 1997,
which led to a seminal initiative to establish an ASEAN
human rights mechanism. The workshops were hailed by an
representative as one of the success stories of ASEAN
government and civil society interaction.
the Summary of Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on an
ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism.
See Photo Gallery.