Regional Office for Southeast Asia (Bangkok, Thailand)

Meeting to mark the 20th anniversary of the ICPR

Meeting organized by the Regional Office for South-East Asia to mark the 20th anniversary of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Background

The OHCHR Regional Office for Asia-Pacific was established in Bangkok in 2002 in order to strengthen OHCHR’s presence and partnerships in the region. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) hosts the Regional Office under a Memorandum of Intent signed with the High Commissioner for Human Rights in February 2001.

At regional level, the newly established regional human rights mechanism – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights – focused on its initial internal institution-building phase in 2010. Key events with human rights implications took place in several countries, including the first national elections in more than 20 years in Myanmar and political unrest in Thailand. The protection of the rights of trafficked persons and the rights of migrant workers and their families, combating inequalities, poverty and discrimination, combating impunity and preventing torture, and ensuring freedom of expression, thought and religion were among the main challenges for the region.

The Regional Office for South-East Asia plays a catalytic role with a range of partners at regional and national levels, including governments, ASEAN, civil society and UN agencies. It advocates for the increased engagement of Member States and civil society organizations (CSOs) with the international human rights system, the increased ratification of international human rights instruments, and follow-up to treaty body, special procedures and UPR recommendations. The Office acts as a resource of expert advice on human rights for partners in the United Nations, governments and CSOs and it strives to bring international human rights standards and mechanisms as well as a human rights-based approach to discussions on political, social, humanitarian, economic and development issues.