Activities and Results
- The Regional Office advocated for ratification of Conventions and provided advice on their legal implications. A high-level commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on Migrant Workers put the spotlight on the need for countries in the region to take steps towards ratification. During the year, Indonesia signed the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Lao People's Democratic Republic signed the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
State engagement with human rights mechanisms (EA6)
- As a result of the Regional Office’s advocacy, technical advice and capacity-building work, several countries in the region increased their engagement with UN human rights mechanisms. More reports were submitted to treaty bodies, including Indonesia’s reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). There was a rise in special procedures mandates that visited the region, like the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that visited Malaysia and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism who visited Singapore. Through regional and bilateral programmes, the Regional Office assisted Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand with UPR preparations.
- A database to assist governments, CSOs, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and the ASEAN human rights mechanisms to follow-up on the recommendations received from special rapporteurs and treaty bodies, and to increase their interaction with these bodies, was prepared and launched by the Regional Office.
Civil society engagement with human rights mechanisms (EA7)
- The Regional Office helped to improve understanding among the region’s NHRIs and CSOs of the work of UN human rights bodies. The Office provided technical advice and organized a number of training sessions and events on these issues. It also facilitated consultations between CSOs and the regional UN thematic working groups and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking. This increased the number of interventions made by special procedures and contributions from civil society actors, especially on migration and trafficking issues.
International and regional laws and institutions (EA8)
- The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights took further steps towards its consolidation with the holding of its first formal meetings and the agreement of its five-year work plan. The ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children was also launched. The Regional Office, together with other UN agencies, engaged in consultations with these bodies and began implementing a programme of support. The Office also assisted CSOs with their advocacy for the development of a credible and effective ASEAN human rights system that is fully engaged with all sections of society.
Human rights mainstreaming within the United Nations (EA11)
- The thematic working groups of the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism are increasingly integrating human rights standards and principles. The Thematic Working Group on International Migration including Human Trafficking and the Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women are prime examples in this respect. The Regional Office plays an active role in these two thematic working groups and leads in the organization of key events such as the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and a special open session with the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
- In Thailand, an OHCHR-chaired Inter-agency Working Group for the drafting of the UN submission to the UPR was established. In addition, the Regional Office supported the UNCTs in Laos and Myanmar in the preparation of their reports.
- The UNCTs in the Philippines and Laos used a human rights-based approach in the elaboration of their respective United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) documents. The Regional Office trained members of the UNCTs on the concepts and suitable approaches for their implementation.