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ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

Graphic: Young boy and girl outside in Thailand


Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations officially inaugurated the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in October 2009.

The AICHR will initially focus on human rights promotion and will not receive or investigate complaints of human rights violations.

One of its primary tasks is to "enhance public awareness of human rights among the peoples of ASEAN through education, research and dissemination of Information."

It is also required to develop an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration "with a view to establishing a framework for human rights cooperation through various ASEAN conventions and other instruments dealing with human rights."

The AICHR will comprise one representative appointed by each member country to serve a three-year term. When appointing representatives, either drawn from civil society or government, member countries are required to consider "gender equality, integrity and competence in the field of human rights."

ASEAN says its human rights body will be reviewed and strengthened over time.

While national human rights institutions, civil society groups and others in the region have welcomed the establishment of the AICHR, concerns have been expressed that the body will fall short of international standards and that it lacks the powers to effectively protect ASEAN's 500 million citizens.


Image credits

  1. Young boy and girl outside in Thailand - APF/Pip Dargan