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Civil society to ASEAN – Involve us in peaceful solutions and effective redress mechanisms!

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joint statement was issued by participating NGOs at the 15th Annual
Workshop on the Framework of Regional Cooperation for Human Rights
Promotion and Protection in the Asia-Pacific Region in Bangkok on 21
April 2010.

joint statement was issued by participating NGOs at the 15th Annual
Workshop on the Framework of Regional Cooperation for Human Rights
Promotion and Protection in the Asia-Pacific Region in Bangkok on 21
April 2010.

the civil society organizations present at the occasion of the 15th
Workshop, would like to take this opportunity to issue this statement
on the regional cooperation for the promotion and protection of human
rights in Southeast Asia.

welcome the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on
Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and
Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). We look forward
to meaningful cooperation and partnership between the AICHR and ACWC
with non-governmental organizations and national human rights
institutions in the future, in particularly, regular consultation at
national and regional level.

note the limitations of the AICHR's current mandates and functions and
strongly urge that the review of the Terms of Reference of AICHR
include the strengthening of the independence and the protection
mandates of the commission.

further urge the AICHR to be more inclusive and to undertake
consultation with all stakeholders, especially civil society
organizations and national human rights institutions, in the
preparation of their rules of procedure.

recommend that the AICHR engage civil society in the identification of
relevant and urgent issues, which ought to be the subject of thematic
urge the AICHR to consider the appointment of an indigenous expert
within the commission or the establishment of a working group on
indigenous peoples.

note the increasing trends of issues that are cross border and required
cooperation of different states at the regional level in order to find
a regional solution, such as refugees and migrant workers. In this
regards, we call on the AICHR to take up these issues proactively and
assist governments in finding a regional solution.

the issues of the protection and promotion of migrant workers required
cooperation between sending countries and receiving countries in the
region. Considering the current limitations of AICHR's protection
mandate, we believe that the ongoing ASEAN process dealing with the
rights of migrant workers should proceed on a parallel priority track.
We further urge the ASEAN governments to expedite the negotiation of
the regional instrument on the protection and promotion of the rights
of migrant workers. We recommend that the regional instrument to cover
undocumented migrants and family members of migrants in line with
international human rights principles.

urge AICHR, ACWC and all ASEAN member-states, in dealing with human
rights promotion and protection, to recognize the need to include and
cover all people regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race, religion,
sexual orientation, etc.

are concerned that the current contribution of ASEAN member states may
not be adequate for the effective operation of AICHR and recommend that
the ASEAN member states increase their budgetary contributions.

acknowledging that only the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW) are the subject of common ratification by ASEAN
member-states, this fact should not be a pretext for individual states
to disregard human rights obligations under international law and other
human rights conventions already ratified.

acknowledge that the impact, scope and interface of security issues and
human rights go beyond individual states and beyond ASEAN; therefore
the search for peaceful solutions and effective redress mechanisms
should involve other stakeholders such as civil society.