Open Letter to the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting on the Review of the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

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    We, the undersigned civil society organizations across ASEAN region and beyond, recognise the role of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in shaping the future of the AICHR in the course of the review of its ToR.

    To: The 47th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Myanmar (8-10 August 2014)


    At the outset, pursuant to article 9.6 of the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the ToR shall be reviewed five years after its entry into force.

    We, the undersigned civil society organizations across ASEAN region and beyond, recognise the role of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in shaping the future of the AICHR in the course of the review of its ToR.

    We reiterate the spirit as prescribed in article 9.6 of the ToR of the AICHR that the review aims to further enhancing the protection and promotion of human rights within ASEAN.

    We appreciate the initiative by the AICHR to hold two regional consultations in Jakarta and Bangkok, which allowed civil society organisations (CSOs) to submit and share their views on the performance of the AICHR and ways to enhance this human rights body in promoting and protecting human rights.

    We, however, observe that all CSOs’ submissions have called for a substantial review of the ToR that could provide grounds for significant improvements in the ToR in the future which:

    • will equip the AICHR with stronger protection mandates and support to address human rights situations in the region;
    • will provide the AICHR with stronger secretariat support;
    • will give more independency to the AICHR;
    • will enhance AICHR’s relationship with, but not limited to, other ASEAN bodies – particularly the ACWC, the NHRIs, and civil society.

    We note the call from CSOs for a participatory and transparent review process of the ToR at all stages at national regional levels.

    We believe that the AICHR has collected all submissions and aspirations from CSOs to be considered in their internal assessment which will be submitted to the AMM at the 47th AMM.

    In relation thereto, we call the AMM:

    1. To conduct the review process on the ToR of the AICHR through a transparent, accountable, and participatory process, which is opened to wider stakeholders at national and regional levels.
    2. To ensure a substantial review which would provide stronger mandates and support to the AICHR as will be stipulated in the future ToR.
    3. To invite broader contribution from human rights experts, NHRIs and CSOs with regard to their expertise and experience in the field of human rights, notably in the set-up of any task force for the review of the ToR.

    Finally, we reiterate our commitment to further engage with the AICHR and other ASEAN bodies, including the three pillars of ASEAN – the political-security, the economic and the socio-cultural – so as to present all matters related to human rights to and ensure that AICHR will be developed into a comprehensive, effective and independent human rights body, particularly in the upcoming ASEAN Community in 2015. Thank you.

    Target Institution

    ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting

    Organisation/s Involved

    1. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    2. Asia Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP)
    3. Altsean Burma
    4. Action Committee for Democracy Development (ACDD) – Myanmar
    5. Arakan Rivers Network (ARN) – Myanmar
    6. Arakan Students’ & Youths’ Congress (AASYC) – Myanmar
    7. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters(HRDP) – Myanmar
    8. Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) – Bangladesh
    9. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
    10. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and Indonesia for Human’s – Indonesia
    11. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Myanmar
    12. Boat People SOS
    13. Burma Partnership
    14. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
    15. CamASEAN Youth’s Future (CamASEAN) – Cambodia
    16. Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) – Cambodia
    17. Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP)
    18. Child Rights Coalition Asia
    19. Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia
    20. Coalition to Abolish Torture in Vietnam
    21. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – Indonesia
    22. Diakonia Asia
    23. Dignity International
    24. Equality Myanmar – Myanmar
    25. Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB) – Myanmar
    26. Globe International – Mongolia
    27. Hawaii Center for Human Rights Research & Action – Hawaii, US
    28. IGLHRC Asia Pacific
    29. INDIGENOUS – Hawaii, US
    30. Indonesian Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy – Indonesia
    31. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre – Srilanka
    32. International NGO Forum on Indonesia Development (INFID) – Indonesia
    33. Kabataan Consortium – Philippines
    34. Karen Human Rights Group – Myanmar
    35. Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children – Philippines
    36. Mandaripur Legal Aid Association – Bangladesh
    37. Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights and Protection (MAGCRP) – Philippines
    38. Network for Democracy and Development (NDD)
    39. Pax Romana – ICMICA
    40. Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) – Philippines
    41. People’s Empowerment Foundation – Thailand
    42. People’s Watch – India
    43. Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association – Myanmar
    44. Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) – Malaysia
    45. School of Acting Justly. Loving Tenderly, Treading Humbly (SALT) – Malaysia
    46. Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacies (SAPA) Working Group on ASEAN
    47. Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacies (SAPA) Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights
    48. South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA)
    49. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) – Malaysia
    50. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) – Philippines
    51. Taiwan Association for Human Rights – Taiwan
    52. The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) – Cambodia
    53. The Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation/ Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia  (YLBHI) – Indonesia
    54. The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
    55. Think Centre – Singapore
    56. Woman Health Philippines – Philippines
    57. Yayasan Mandiri Kreatif Indonesia (Yamakindo) – Indonesia
    58. Yayasan Transformasi Lepra Indonesia (YTLI) – Indonesia

    How to Support The Campaign

    For further information please contact [email protected]