Jakarta, 26 April 2011

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The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is now charting the next landmark on Human Rights, for the regional grouping.

Intensive discussions are in progress, as ASEAN’s overarching Human Rights body, works out the terms of reference for the Drafting Group of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Among the items on the AICHR’s heavy agenda are the Five Year Work Plan; a terms of reference for the thematic studies; and the interface with the Committee of the Permanent Representatives.

The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, welcomed the AICHR at their meeting. He noted that the drafting of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration have generated a lot of interest. The Declaration will be a roadmap, an agenda for the region that ASEAN will strive together to achieve within its own framework, reflecting its own experience, but making sure that the region is moving forward on human rights and democracy. Both the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Five Year Work Plan will be complementary and the basis of for the 600 million people of ASEAN to monitor the progress of human rights, human freedom and the principles of democracy that ASEAN has pledged to respect and engage as mentioned in the ASEAN Charter.

On the part of the ASEAN Secretariat, it is planning to work on the promotion and building awareness of Human Rights of its staff through training and workshops including interacting with various bodies and cooperating with other entities in Jakarta, international institutions and Dialogue Partners.

Internationally, ASEAN has also gained recognition as the Human Rights Council sends its communications to the ASEAN Secretariat informing ASEAN of the developments in the international fora and seeks the input of ASEAN on issues of human rights globally and regionally.

During the week, AICHR delegates will also call on the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. Indonesia is the presiding chair of ASEAN.