Useful Information

OHCHR Human Rights
Programme for Asia-Pacific

Country Mandates Established
by the CHR/HRC

Standing invitations to Special Procedures

Regional Members of the Human Rights Council:

Bangladesh 2021

China 2023

Fiji 2021

India 2021

Indonesia 2022

Japan 2022

Marshall Islands 2022

Nepal 2023

Pakistan 2023

Philippines 2021

Republic of Korea 2022

Uzbekistan 2023

Voluntary Pledges and Commitments


UN Human Rights Report 2019 UN Human Rights Report 2019
OHCHR Management Plan 2018-2021 OHCHR Management Plan 2018-2021
Brochure: Human Rights in action Human Rights in Action (PDF)
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society A Handbook for Civil Society (PDF)

OHCHR - South East Asia Regional Office (2008-2009)

Human rights context

The Regional Office in Bangkok covers Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.

Southeast Asia faces diverse human rights challenges. For the next biennium, impunity will remain a serious concern. Some government and non-governmental institutions in the region suffer from structural weaknesses in addressing violations of human rights committed by State agents. Sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking are common regional problems. The lack of specific and human rights-based legislation on human trafficking and on the exploitation of women and children is a major obstacle to tackling these issues. Although Southeast Asia is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the world, protection mechanisms are not in place to promote and protect the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. The issue of statelessness and the lack of protection for internally displaced persons and refugees have not been adequately addressed, but an ASEAN framework on migrant labour is being developed. Internal armed conflict affects several countries in the region, and there are no mechanisms to respond to its consequences. ASEAN has made formal declarations of support for human rights education, but these need to be translated into national policies, programmes or projects.

Although national human rights commissions have been established in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, some of them lack political support from their respective governments and the strength to effectively monitor human rights violations. Existing civil society organizations find it difficult to win ASEAN’s recognition to become part of the decision-making process at the regional level; in some States, they face censorship and restrictions on their freedom of expression.

Asia is the only continent to have no regional human rights mechanism. The adoption of the new ASEAN Charter in November 2007 will open a new window of opportunity for the development of a dedicated ASEAN mechanism to promote and protect human rights.

A considerable number of international human rights instruments have yet to be ratified by ASEAN Member States; and the recommendations made by treaty bodies and special procedures are often not implemented.



The Regional Office in Bangkok worked in partnership with its counterparts in the region, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), UN agencies, the donor community, ASEAN Member States and civil society organizations, in several programmes and activities related to the protection of migrant workers, building the capacity of NGOs in monitoring and reporting, and analyzing the region’s human rights situation.

During 2006 and 2007, the Regional Office focused on establishing an ASEAN human rights mechanism. The first draft of the ASEAN Charter,which was approved at the 40th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 29 July 2007 in Manila, the Philippines, includes a provision relating to the establishment of an “ASEAN Human Rights Body”. The Charter was endorsed at the 13th ASEAN Summit in November 2007 in Singapore.

The Regional Office and the diplomatic communities of ASEAN countries discussed human rights protection and promotion activities in the concerned States and in the region as a whole. The Office works with each ASEAN Member State to tailor responses to that country’s particular human rights problem.


For the 2008-2009 biennium, the Regional Office will focus on implementing recommendations of international treaty body mechanisms and special procedures; establishing an ASEAN human rights mechanism; launching capacity-building programmes in the administration of justice, legislative reform and human rights education in Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam; preparing for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the region; and building the capacity of the UN system to promote and protect human rights in Myanmar.

Activities will include preparing tools to be made available to governments, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations to overcome obstacles in implementing treaty body recommendations in Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam; providing support to civil society organizations to increase their contributions to the implementation of treaty body recommendations; developing advocacy tools to encourage follow-up to the recommendations and communications from special procedures; providing expert advice to increase compliance with international human rights instruments through the domestic legislation of ASEAN Member States; building the capacities of national human rights institutions in the region; providing technical support to establish a regional human rights mechanism within the ASEAN Charter; and providing support to the UN system in order to achieve a structured, consistent and human rights-based approach to the promotion and protection of human rights in Myanmar.

Contact Information


Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD)
Contact is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Asia Pacific Section
Tel. +41 22 928 9650

Regional Offices/Centres

Officer in charge
Tel: 679 3310 46565
Fax: 679 3310 485
Address: Level 5, Kadavu House, Victoria Parade, Suva, Fiji

South-East Asia
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Regional Office for South East Asia
6th Floor, United Nations Buidling, Rachadamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200,
Tel. +66 2 288 1235,
Fax: +66 2 288 1039


UNDG-HRM Regional Human Rights Adviser
UNDG Asia and the Pacific
UN Service Building, 3rd Floor, Room 326
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200 Thailand
Office: +66-2-304-9100 Ext. 5222
Skype: h.alefsen

Other OHCHR Offices

Sri Lanka
Timor Leste

Feature stories

Human rights meeting in the Asia-Pacific region

External links

International Criminal Court

Geneva Conventions

ILO Conventions

Refugee Conventions

National Institutions

Note: OHCHR is not responsible for the content of external links.