Ph.D. researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague
Ten years ago, the ASEAN Charter came into force. Its Article 14 on the establishment of its human rights body was said to be the most difficult section to bring all member states to consensus.
The Making of the ASEAN Charter provides an interesting account on its debates among members of the high-level task force, comprising eminent individuals appointed by the 10 ASEAN governments. The topic itself was considered sensitive, let alone creating the mechanism to monitor human rights in member countries.
Singapore’s member Tommy Koh wrote in the book, published in 2009, that ASEAN countries were fragmented into three camps: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam opposed the creation of an ASEAN human rights commission, while Indonesia and Thailand were in favor, and Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore occupied the middle ground. Those...
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