Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism
News and Updates

Roundtable on the Vientiane Action Programme

The Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism held a roundtable discussion following up the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) of ASEAN 2004- 2010. It was held from 19 to 20 December 2005 in Bali, Indonesia and co- organized with the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

Some highlights

The roundtable emphasized the continuing commitment to establishing an ASEAN human rights mechanism, and implementing and mobilizing resources for the VAP. It recommended sorting out specific activities to implement the programme points, the formation of a joint working committee of ASEAN and the Working Group to initiate specific activities, and for ASEAN to provide specific timeframes for implementation.

The roundtable also:

  • Emphasized the need to conduct an in-depth study on the status of human rights protection in each of the ASEAN states;
  • Recommended taking stock of initiatives on human rights education in ASEAN states and considering the possibility of setting up a Regional Training Center on Human Rights;
  • Recognized the need to take stock of the judicial systems and the national legal frameworks and policies of ASEAN states pertaining to the promotion and protection of the rights of women, children and migrant workers -- noting the importance of understanding how these relate to relevant international instruments and policies;
  • Considered the need to explore the feasibility and wisdom of proposing to ASEAN separate commissions for women and children;
  • Recognized the need to speed up and consolidate networking activities among existing national human rights institutions and other specialized human rights agencies-- towards strengthening their role on human rights in the region, especially on emerging critical issues of common concern; and,

Referring to the outcomes of the 11th ASEAN Summit held in December 2005, the roundtable also welcomed the Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Charter, and recognized the need to engage the members of the Eminent Persons Group for an ASEAN Charter-- including members of any drafting team that will be formed-- to ensure that human rights concerns are included in the Charter.

The roundtable was attended by representatives from governments, national human rights institutions, and the national working groups of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and a representative from the ASEAN Secretariat.

Observers came from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and funding organizations Southeast Asia Regional Cooperation in Human Development (SEARCH) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF).

Click here for more highlights and full summary of the roundtable proceedings.


Vientiane Action Programme