ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was inaugurated in October 2009 as a consultative body of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The human rights commission exists to promote and protect human rights, and regional co-operation on human rights in the member states of (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam). The AICHR meets at least twice per year.
Human rights are referenced in the ASEAN Charter (Articles 1.7, 2.2.i and 14) and other key ASEAN documents. The commission operates through consultation and consensus—each of the 10 member states has veto power. The commission makes no provision for independent observers.
The AICHR is directed by a body of representatives, one per member state, each nominated by and answerable to their government and serving a three-year term, renewable once. The commission has 14 mandates, mainly around the promotion and protection of human rights, capacity building, advice and technical assistance, information gathering and engagement with national, regional, and international bodies. One of its mandates was "to develop an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration", but when this was adopted, in November 2012, it came under criticism from human rights groups for including wording that suggested that access to human rights was contingent on "the performance of corresponding duties as every person has responsibilities to all other individuals, the community and the society where one lives". NGOs in the region presented cases of alleged violations to it at its inaugural meeting in Jakarta.
The commission has been described as "toothless" by observers including the Wall Street Journal. The ASEAN chair at the time of AICHR's founding, Abhisit Vejjajiva, said that "...the commission's 'teeth' would be strengthened down the road", but six years after AICHR's founding, critics charge that "...since it was launched,...[AICHR] has yet to take any action to safeguard the most basic freedoms of citizens it supposedly represents."
AICHR Commission members
|Awang Abdul Hamid Bakal||Malaysia|
|Kyaw Tint Swe||Myanmar|
|Rosario G. Manalo||Philippines|
|Do Ngoc Son||Vietnam|
|Pehin Dato Dr. Awang Hj. Ahmad bin Hj. Jumat||Brunei|
|Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Muhammad Shafee Abdullah||Malaysia|
|U Kyaw Tint Swe||Myanmar|
|Rosario G. Manalo||Philippines|
|Chan Heng Chee||Singapore|
|Dr. Seree Nonthasoot||Thailand|
|Le Thi Thu||Vietnam|
- ASEAN Secretariat (2012) AICHR: What you need to know, ISBN 978-602-7643-18-5
- "Asean's Toothless Council". Wall Street Journal. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Terms of Reference of AICHR Archived October 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Archived December 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- United Nations comment on Declaration
- "NGOs to report rights abuse cases to AICHR". The Jakarta Post. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Ganjanakhundee, Supalak (2016-05-18). "Asean's shameful silence over Thai rights crisis". The Nation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Tan, Hsien-Li (2011), The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights: Institutionalising human rights in Southeast Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1-107-00449-8