News : Article

NGO coalition discuss threats facing human rights defenders

Graphic: Speakers at the ANNI regional consultation

A regional meeting of NGO representatives from across the Asia Pacific has highlighted the growing range of challenges facing human rights defenders.

Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

A regional meeting of NGO representatives from across the Asia Pacific has highlighted the growing range of challenges and threats facing human rights defenders in the region.

The Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) meets each year to exchange updates on pressing human rights issues, as well as developments in relation to the national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in their respective countries.

ANNI held its 10th Regional Consultation in Seoul, Korea, on 7-8 March 2017, drawing together approximately 25 participants from NGOs in North, South and South East Asia.

A key area of discussion at this year's meeting was the shrinking democratic space in the Asia Pacific region and the situation facing individual human rights defenders, civil society organisations and, in some countries, national human rights institutions.

The APF was represented at the meeting by Fasoha Aishath, who highlighted the challenges currently facing the Philippines Commission on Human Rights and its former Chairperson, Senator Leila de Lima.


Graphic: Leila de Lima at the 2009 APF Annual Meeting in 2009

APF expresses deep concern for Senator Leila de Lima

Philippines

The APF has called for Senator Leila de Lima’s fundamental human rights to be fully respected as she contests drug-related charges brought against her


"There is an important role for civil society organisations to monitor the performance of NHRIs," Ms Aishath said.

"Civil society can also help galvanise international attention and support when NHRIs come under attack for delivering on their mandate to promote and protect human rights."

Each year ANNI produces an annual report that evaluates the performance of Asian NHRIs.

Participants discussed the role and impact of these reports, with the APF noting that they provide a forthright assessment that encourages NHRIs to reflect honestly on what they are doing well and areas where they can improve.

The Regional Consultation also included a visit to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and a discussion of its current work program.

The APF welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the discussions and to strengthen its ties with ANNI and its member institutions.

Date: 20 March 2017


Image credits

  1. Speakers at the ANNI regional consultation - APF