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Item 8 General Debate: Follow-up to and Implementation of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA)

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Oral Statement Delivered by R. Iniyan Ilango on behalf of

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Thank you Mr. Vice President, Article 76 of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) encourages states to avail international support, in strengthening regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights. In this regard, FORUM-ASIA draws the attention of the Council to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Although five years have passed since its establishment in 2009, the AICHR has not substantively addressed even a single incident of human rights violation in the region. Even though a number of civil society organisations and victim groups have submitted several communications to the AICHR since 2010, the body is yet to effectively respond to any of these. AICHR’s silence particularly stems from its Terms of Reference (ToR) which falls short of providing the body a specific protection mandate that requires it to address human rights violations.

This year the AICHR’s ToR will be reviewed. The AICHR has started an assessment process for the review that includes consulting with different actors, including civil society. AICHR cannot work in isolation from other human rights mechanisms including international, regional and national mechanisms. FORUM-ASIA calls on AICHR to consult substantively with the international human rights community including other regional human rights mechanisms and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). FORUM-ASIA emphasises that broad consultations with different stakeholders, including civil society and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are essential in the review process.

Mr. President, FORUM-ASIA calls on the international human rights community to widely input into the review of the AICHR’s ToR. Such inputs should meet the objectives of the VDPA and enable the AICHR to perform in keeping with universal human rights standards as contained in international human rights instruments.

Thank you Mr. Vice President.


Click here to download the oral statement (PDF)