KUALA LUMPUR, 20 March 2017 – The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) organised the first-ever AICHR Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices regarding International Human Rights Law on 13-15 March in Kuala Lumpur. The colloquium aims to encourage greater peer-to-peer interaction, share good practices and challenges in the implementation of international human rights laws and to strengthen judicial co-operation between relevant stakeholders, among others.
In his keynote address, His Excellency Dato’ Sri Anifah Haji Aman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, highlighted that AICHR should actively devise methods and strategies to be the human rights standard-setting institution of ASEAN. He also underscored the necessity for the region to have a common baseline on how the rights in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) are to be defined and implemented, as this will accelerate ASEAN’s political, economic and socio-cultural development.
The Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tun Arifin bin Zakaria, shared the history of the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ) as he highlighted the opportunities for judicial cooperation between the CACJ and AICHR in terms of sharing technical expertise and good practices on human rights matters which are of interest to both; in particular, on the rights of children, women and persons with disabilities.
In his opening remarks, Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s representative to AICHR, highlighted that AICHR’s Terms of Reference provides sufficient mandate to establish institutional links with ASEAN Sectoral Bodies to mainstream human rights across the three pillars of ASEAN Community – namely the Political-Security, Economic and Socio-Cultural.
The event concluded with the adoption of the Colloquium’s Conclusions and Recommendations for the consideration of AICHR. Among the key recommendations were the need to conduct capacity building programmes for the judiciary and to provide technical support, obtain information, develop common approaches and sharing of good practices on human rights. The colloquium also emphasized the need to compile a regional reference guide in respect of the AHRD and relevant international human rights instruments. Where appropriate, it was also suggested for AICHR to further consult and collaborate with relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, and other entities including the CACJ, ASEAN Law Association (ALA), members of CSOs as well as other international and national organizations.
The colloquium was jointly organized by AICHR-Malaysia, AICHR-Lao PDR and AICHR-Thailand, with support from the ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development Security, Regional Europe-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument, Human Rights Facility, Heinrich Boell Stiftung Southeast Asia, Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.