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Taking action to defend dignity

Graphic: Participants at the APF-CESR workshop

NHRIs in South East Asia will explore opportunities to advance economic, social and cultural rights, drawing on new skills they have developed.


National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from across South East Asia will look to explore new opportunities to advance economic, social and cultural rights in their countries, building on action plans developed as part of an APF training program.

These action plans covered a wide range of activities and issues, including initiatives to monitor:

  • Government allocation of resources to persons with disabilities
  • The impact of indigenous persons' rights on a national food production project
  • The realisation of migrant workers' rights in the tourism industry.

The projects were initially conceived by participants during four weeks of online learning and discussions (November-December 2016) on monitoring socio-economic policies and development plans from a human rights perspective.

They were further refined at a week-long workshop held in Manila from 23-27 January 2017, which was generously hosted by the Philippines Commission on Human Rights in partnership with their newly-established Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Center.

Seventeen participants from the NHRIs of Indonesia, Timor Leste, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand took part in the training program, organised by the APF and facilitated by the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR).

"The workshop was a valuable opportunity for them to discuss their projects with others, develop new ideas and test their methodologies against the OPERA framework pioneered by CESR," said Kate Turner-Mann, APF Regional Training Manager.

"We are looking forward to seeing these excellent project proposals be implemented into concrete actions when they return to their national human rights institutions," she said.


A participant presents at the APF-CESR workshop

Discussions and activities for the course were based on the APF-CESR manual, Defending Dignity: A Manual for NHRIs on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


NHRIs across the Asia Pacific have recognised the need for a human rights-based approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, for such an approach to be meaningfully implemented, governments must be held to account when their development plans or socio-economic policies cause, or fail to address, inequalities and human rights deprivations.

The workshop therefore explored the key features of a human rights-based approach to implementing the SDGs, analysing socio-economic policies and development plans from a human rights perspective and the value of collaborating with peers from across the region.

Content and lessons learned from this blended learning training program will feed into a global course on monitoring economic, social and cultural rights, which is currently being coordinated by the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Date: 9 February 2017


EU logo

This blended learning was delivered as part of an ongoing partnership with the Danish Institute of Human Rights, funded by the European Union, to strengthen NHRIs and their capacity to protect and promote human rights.


Image credits

  1. Participants at the APF-CESR workshop - APF/Kate Turner-Mann
  2. A participant presents at the APF-CESR workshop - APF/Kate Turner-Mann
  3. EU logo - EU