JAKARTA, Oct 8 (The Jakarta Post) – There were two meetings recently concerning two regional human rights mechanisms, which are important for Indonesia’s foreign policy. The first meeting was the 8th ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in Brunei Darussalam on Aug. 24-26, 2012. The second was the 2nd Independent and Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Ankara, Turkey on Aug. 27-31, 2012.
In this Sep.26 open letter, human rights activists argue that “serious flaws” in the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, set to be adopted by ASEAN later in the year, must be addressed. If not, they say, the declaration would “not bode well for the reputation and credibility” of the ASEAN human rights mechanism.
It has been five years since ASEAN adopted a declaration to protect and promote migrant workers’ rights, but it still has not managed to hammer out a legally binding instrument to implement this path-breaking declaration. Critics say ASEAN is much more friendly to business than to its own migrant workers, prompting one to call it “schizophrenic”. Vera Files’ Tess Bacalla reports on ASEAN’s uphill climb to come to terms with the migrants in its midst.
JAKARTA, Aug 25 (Jakarta Post) – Despite the absence of a joint communiqué from the 45th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), foreign ministers of the regional grouping have agreed to release its “key elements” to public as part of consultations before the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) at the 21st ASEAN Summit in November in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
SINGAPORE (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Say ‘ASEAN’ and South-east Asians are likely to know of their main regional organisation. But this good recall does not always mean they understand how ASEAN really works, its kind of regionalism, or how this relates to their governments’ policies or their daily lives.
GENEVA, Apr 30 2012 (IPS) – After almost a decade of major economic transformation, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is on the brink of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership. But the small country’s Herculean effort to join the exclusive trade club is a reminder to the ten other least developed countries (LDCs) now seeking membership of the cumbersome process involved.
Sixty-three human rights groups in South-east Asia have issued an open letter to the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, expressing their call that the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration “will not be lower than international human rights norms and standards”. The draft declaration, the subject of criticism by rights groups who say it is too weak, is set to be adopted at the ASEAN summit in November 2012. The text of the open letter follows.