The ICJ welcomed the opportunity to contribute to a review of the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), saying some of the current TOR provisions were problematic.
In a legal memorandum, the ICJ said it hoped the AICHR will use this opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and integrity by undertaking consultations with a wide variety of stakeholders as it reviews and revises its TOR.
The memorandum contains very practical and pragmatic recommendations to strengthen the AICHR’s Terms of Reference.
“It is a given that the Terms of Reference should include strong protection competencies since these are missing in the AICHR’s mandate,” said Emerlynne Gil, the ICJ’s International legal adviser for Southeast Asia. “It is also important that the Terms of Reference include provisions that ensure the quality and independence of representatives, and establish a strong and well-resourced Secretariat to assist the AICHR in fulfilling its mandate.”
The ICJ supports the idea of a regional human rights mechanism that effectively promotes and protects human rights in a manner that is particularly adaptive to the distinctive conditions of the region, provided that it abides by principles that reinforce and do not fall below international human rights law and standards.
In this memorandum, the ICJ identifies and discusses problematic provisions in the TOR that may prevent the AICHR from fully functioning as a body tasked “to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of the ASEAN” and makes recommendations on the amendment of these provisions.
It also discusses additional functions and institutional improvements that may be undertaken to strengthen the AICHR as a regional human rights mechanism, in line with the commitments made by ASEAN member States in Vienna in 1993 and in the ASEAN Charter.
To see the full text of the memorandum please click on the following PDF link:
Emerlynne Gil, ICJ International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, t +66 2 619 8477; email: emerlynne.gil(a)icj.org
Craig Knowles, ICJ Media Consultant, t +66 81 9077653; email: craig.knowles(a)icj.org