Representative Dialogues with CSOs on the ASEAN Human
the recent developments on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
(AHRD), the Philippine Working Group for an ASEAN Human
Rights Mechanism saw it relevant and timely to organize
a workshop and consultation with Ambassador Rosario G.
Manalo, Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental
Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), to engage civil society
in a transparent and open discussion on the provisions
and principles that should be reflected in the AHRD.
“I appreciate your inputs and the work you’ve
put in today’s workshop,” said Ambassador
Manalo to an audience of human rights advocates representing
different sectors of society. She went on to highlight
important points raised by the participants during the
plenary presentations on civil and political rights, economic
and socio-cultural rights. “I am happy that you
have reminded me to include Persons with Disabilities
(PWDs) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs). I will insist that
[these] go in[to the Declaration], and we will also include
the elderly,” she noted.
Ambassador Manalo also emphasized the common viewpoint
of the participants, saying that human rights are cross-cutting
and each right is relevant to all sectors. “When
you say human rights are non-negotiable, you are right.
Either you have them or you don’t have them. But
when you practice your rights, make sure you don’t
harm your neighbor. That is what you mean by duties and
responsibilities. It is not about negotiable or non-negotiable.
You don’t negotiate your rights.”
the open forum, Ambassador Manalo addressed questions
on the drafting process and presented a timeline of the
activities relating to such process. She also reported
on recent developments on human rights in ASEAN and the
work plan of the AICHR. Following this, a question was
raised on how CSOs should proceed with submitting communications
to the AICHR, the appropriate process and corresponding
“You submit it to me. There is no definite process
as of yet. You can send it to the ASEAN National Secretariats
but you should send me a copy. There has to be a system
on your part so that issues will not be repetitive,”
Ambassador Manalo explained.
In the end, she encouraged civil society to continue
organizing substantive discussions parallel to developments
on human rights in ASEAN. She assured everyone that she
will do her best to advance the concerns and points raised
during the consultation.
The recommendations and inputs of the various civil
society organizations collected from the workshop and
consultation on the AHRD will be submitted to the official
delegation of the Philippines to the Drafting Group. The
said consultation has been the only one of its kind since
the Drafting Group was convened in July 2011 in Vientiane,
Lao PDR. The Drafting Group will be submitting its draft
Declaration to representatives of the AICHR in December
2011, who will be conducting further deliberations and