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Jakarta Post

Pledges to improve ASEAN rights system rings hollow

  • Yuyun Wahyuningrum
    Yuyun Wahyuningrum

    Ph.D. researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague

The Hague   /   Wed, February 7, 2018   /  08:29 am
Pledges to improve ASEAN rights system rings hollow Marching in: People take part in the ASEAN 50 Parade on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta. The parade displayed national and traditional cultures from ASEAN member countries. (JP/Ibrahim Irsyad)

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...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.