Situation Analysis: One-third of the world's population, and two-thirds of those living on less than US$1 per day live in a region that experiences natural disasters, health epidemics, and, often, serious human rights violations. The human rights challenges in the Asia-Pacific region include inequality, discrimination, impunity, armed conflict and violence, democratic deficits, and weak institutions. Cooperation with international human rights mechanisms is mixed. The Asia-Pacific region has a low level of ratifications. While there are some encouraging signs that this situation may be changing, reporting to treaty bodies and compliance with their recommendations remains inadequate. Country and thematic special procedures are actively engaged, but cooperation with governments is uneven. While the Asia-Pacific region has a well-developed network of intergovernmental organizations, it remains the only region in the world without a comprehensive regional human rights instrument or an institutionalized regional human rights mechanism. National institutions and civil society organizations are growing and active but are still weak.
Regional Priorities and Strategies: The common goal of OHCHR country-engagement efforts in the Asia-Pacific region is to ensure that national actors, including government institutions, national institutions, and NGOs, provide redress to those rights-holders whose human rights are violated.
OHCHR’s strategy in the region during 2006-2007 will involve: strengthening country focus from Headquarters; increasing the human rights capacity of and support within United Nations peace missions, primarily in Afghanistan; supporting the country offices in Cambodia and Nepal; and supporting the human rights officer in the United Nations Country Team in Sri Lanka. OHCHR also intends to strengthen its existing regional office in Bangkok.
In case the mandate of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) is not extended beyond May 2006, OHCHR intends to deploy a human rights officer to work with the United Nations Country Team.
OHCHR will continue to work within the Asia-Pacific Regional Framework, in cooperation with Member States and Country Teams, focusing on the justiciability of economic, social, and cultural rights and establishing and strengthening national institutions. These activities will be carried out at a more focused regional level in the next biennium in keeping with OHCHR’s new regional structures.
Thematic issues, such as discrimination against minorities, including indigenous peoples, trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, migrant workers’s rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and the rule of law, will also received focused attention.
In the Asia-Pacific Region, OHCHR’s field deployment is projected as follows: