Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism
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Calls for Human Rights Protection in Southeast Asia Renewed in Roundtable Discussion

Calls for Human Rights Protection in Southeast Asia Renewed in Roundtable Discussion

(December 18, 2006/ Jakarta) Just a few weeks shy of the upcoming 12th ASEAN Summit, government officials and civil society leaders are calling for the inclusion of human rights in the ASEAN Charter and the establishment of a regional human rights mechanism. “The goal of the ASEAN Community cannot be achieved until and unless the promotion and protection of human rights is pervasive in the region,” Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirajuda said in his keynote address to the participants of the Second Roundtable Discussion on Human Rights in ASEAN. He emphasized that ASEAN needed to catch up with other regional groupings with human rights mechanisms. The Roundtable Discussion, entitled “Challenges and Opportunities for Human Rights in a Caring and Sharing Community” was organized by the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism (Regional Working Group) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.

Participants see the imminent signing of a Declaration of Cooperation among national human rights institutions of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand as a positive step towards regional cooperation. It is also seen as a likely precursor to the establishment of an ASEAN human rights mechanism.

Secretary General Imron Cotan of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the Roundtable Discussion as a timely forum which tackles what an ASEAN Community implies for its members. In his closing speech, he stated that a caring and sharing ASEAN Community can only be realized if ASEAN remains faithful to its human rights commitments and that this can be effectively achieved by establishing an ASEAN human rights mechanism.

Read the summary of proceedings of “Challenges and Opportunities for Human Rights in a Caring and Sharing Community” here.