GENEVA (19 November) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay welcomed Monday the renewed commitment by ASEAN leaders to universal human rights norms, but expressed concern that the new ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), adopted on 18 November, retains language that is not consistent with international standards.
“The international human rights mechanisms will continue to hold ASEAN member states to their international obligations and encourage ASEAN to strengthen further its regional human rights framework,” Pillay said.
In the Phnom Penh Statement on the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, the ASEAN leaders committed “to ensure that the implementation of the AHRD be in accordance with our commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, and other international human rights instruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties…”
The High Commissioner has previously drawn attention to elements of the Declaration that fall below international standards, as well as expressing concern at the lack of inclusive and meaningful consultation with civil society in the region during the preparation of the Declaration.*
“Other regions have shown how regional human rights systems can evolve and improve over time, and I am confident this will be the same for ASEAN”, the High Commissioner said. “Looking ahead, it is essential that ASEAN ensures that any language inconsistent with international human rights standards does not become a part of any binding regional human rights convention.”
*See 8 November news release entitled “UN rights chief welcomes focus on human rights and democracy, calls for review of ASEAN draft human rights declaration” http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12753&LangID=E
See also a 15 November 2012 news release entitled ‘“ASEAN Human Rights Declaration should maintain international standards,” urges key UN expert group”
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