Working Group and ASEAN to Work Together to Promote Human
The Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights
Mechanism (Working Group) engaged the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) Senior Officials on the implementation
of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) at a meeting in
Vientiane, Laos on July 25, 2005. The Working Group regards
the adoption of the six-year action programme as a strong
indication of ASEAN’s commitment to the eventual creation
of a Regional Human Rights Mechanism.
During the meeting, the Working Group inquired about the
progress of the implementation of the VAP as well as the
timeline for its implementation, especially of its provision
on human rights.
ASEAN gave the Working Group the opportunity to provide
its expertise and services towards the implementation of
the VAP’s human rights provisions, in particular,
the establishment of an ASEAN Commission Promoting and Protecting
the Rights of Women and Children, elaboration of an instrument
that promotes the rights of migrant workers, the promotion
of education and public awareness on human rights, and networking
among existing national human rights institutions.
Marzuki Darusman, Co-Chair of the Working Group, said that
the Working Group is pleased to work with ASEAN in the implementation
of the VAP’s human rights provisions. “We welcome
the challenge of finding ways of advancing human rights
in the region.”
The VAP was adopted by the ASEAN in November 2004. It seeks
to increase the region’s political advancement through,
among others, the promotion of human rights. The establishment
of a Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights
of Women and Children, an agenda that the Working Group
has been advocating since 2001, was identified under the
The Working Group also sought ways to improve relations
with the ASEAN and raised the possibility of establishing
a Joint Working Group on human rights matters between the
ASEAN and the Working Group, and a proposal for the creation
of an Eminent Persons Group on Human Rights.
In a separate meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of Malaysia have agreed to co-host, together with the Working
Group, the 5th Workshop for an ASEAN Regional Mechanism
on Human Rights in Kuala Lumpur sometime in April 2006.