The Work of the OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia to Support the Establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights System

It is one of the priorities of the OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia to support the establishment and development of an effective human rights system within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Office seeks to do this by providing access to experiences and lessons learned from Africa, the Americas and Europe regarding the establishment and development of credible regional human rights systems. This may be done through workshops for government officials, civil society organisations (CSOs) or national human rights institutions (NHRIs). For instance, in May 2009 the Office helped to organise a workshop which brought to Jakarta experts from Africa, the Americas and Europe to share their experiences with CSOs and NHRIs from the region on the establishment and development of credible human rights mechanisms.

The Office aims to provide technical assistance on the establishment of regional human rights mechanisms and instruments. For example, the Office helped to put together a non-paper which specifies some of the main principles for regional human rights mechanisms, which has been a useful resource for government officials and civil society organisations alike in the region.

The Office also engages in other promotional activities, such as issuing press releases in response to important developments, as with the endorsement in July 2009 by ASEAN’s foreign ministers of the terms of reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and providing speeches and presentations for meetings organised in the region.