Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism
News and Updates

Working Group and ASEAN to Work Together to Promote Human Rights

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 VAP.

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.