Monday, 2 June 2008

An ASEAN Human Rights body: A Milestone in the 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Talk and forum on the ASEAN human rights mechanism

Maruah Singapore and the Asia-Europe Foundation are pleased to jointly present a lecture on:

An ASEAN Human Rights body:

A Milestone in the 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Prof. Dr. Vitit Muntarbhorn
Co-Chair of the Civil Society Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism

Date and time:
Wed, 11 June 2008, 4:00 to 5:30 pm

Asia-Europe Foundation 31 Heng Mui Keng Terrace (Off Pasir Panjang Road). Free admission.

You are cordially invited to a reception after the lecture


This year is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a key UN declaration regarded as the bedrock for setting human rights standards worldwide. The year also coincides auspiciously with the possible establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights “body”, a mechanism referred to in Article 14 in the recently adopted ASEAN Charter and currently in the process of ratification. How will that body be established substantively and to what extent will it respond to the aspirations of the Universal Declaration? Will it bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality? Furthermore, what impact will the establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights body have on Asia-Europe dialogue? These are some of the issues the speaker will address during his presentation.

This lecture takes place on the sidelines of the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism meeting, on the 12 of June 2008 in Singapore.

Profile of Speaker

Vitit MuntarbhornVitit Muntarbhorn is a Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. He is currently UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the DPR Korea. He is also Co-Chair of the Civil Society Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism.

Professor Muntharbhorn is an eminent expert in human rights with more than 1000 publications and combines the qualities of a scholar, an educator, a policy-making adviser and a grass-root human rights activist. He has served in various capacities for the United Nations system. In 1990-1994, he was Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. He was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education in 2004.

About Maruah Singapore

Maruah Singapore is a group of individuals who have made a commitment to the process of facilitating for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. We believe that such a process will be good for the region and for Singapore. We come from all backgrounds professionals, students, homemakers, academics, activists, lawyers, doctors, writers united in our desire to make a difference on the ground and at policy-level.

Maruah means “Dignity” in Malay, Singapore’s national language. We are keen to impress that Human Rights is all about maintaining, restoring and reclaiming one’s dignity at the individual, regional and international level.

For further information, please visit

About the Asia-Europe Foundation

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) advances mutual understanding and collaboration between the people of Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges. These exchanges include conferences, lecture tours, workshops, seminars and the use of web-based platforms. The major achievement of ASEF is the establishment of permanent bi-regional networks focussed on areas and issues that help to strengthen Asia-Europe relations.

Established in February 1997 by the partners of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)[1], ASEF reports to a board of governors representing the ASEM partners. ASEF is the only permanent physical institution of the ASEM process. Since 1997, the Foundation has initiated projects engaging 14,000 individuals from Asia and Europe. ASEF works in partnership with other public institutions and civil society actors to ensure its work is broad-based and balanced among the partner countries.

This particular lecture is organised under ASEF’s governance pillar. ASEF reinforces the role of civil society in good governance with Asia-Europe exchanges that benefit the peoples of both regions.

Our programmes:

- Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights - engenders groundbreaking government-civil society dialogue on various dimensions of human rights.

-Democratisation and Justice Series - platform to explore differences, similarities and challenges of democratisation processes, particularly in countries undergoing political transition in Asia and Europe.

For further information, please visit

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