Saturday, 15 August 2009

Consultation Workshop (22 Aug): “Engaging the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) – The People’s Views”: 22 August 2009

Disclosure: I am part of MARUAH.

When the ASEAN Charter was signed 2 years ago, it contained a clause requiring the establishment of an ASEAN human rights body. This clause was deliberately kept short and vague, so as to get all the ASEAN countries to agree to it. There was no definition to the body, nothing on its scope, powers, and composition.

Well, the Terms of Reference for the body (now called the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights) have been agreed. The next phase in this process is for the governments to appoint their representatives to the Commission.

MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism) is therefore holding a public Consultation Workshop on the Commission and the selection of Singapore's representative to the Commission, on 22 August, 8.30am to 3.45pm. All are invited and it is free. Online registration can be completed here. Please attend if you have any interest in human rights.


Chee Wai Lee said...

Keep up the good work!

I am a little confused, however, over the selection of representatives.

Was the invitation for representatives for NGOs like MARUAH only? Is MFA somehow involved in the process or will they send their own representatives? How is MARUAH associated with the MFA?

Siew Kum Hong said...

To Chee Wai: I assume that your question on "representatives" is a reference to the representatives to the Commission. The Commission is an inter-governmental body, so each ASEAN member-state will have one representative on the Commission. That representative is selected by that Government.

So NGOs do not have representation on the Commission, although the TOR does require the Commission to consult with all stakeholders.

As for your final question re MARUAH's association with MFA, MARUAH is a NGO and has no association or affiliation with MFA. We do dialogue and work with MFA, as in this case where a MFA representative (Amb Ong Keng Yong) will be speaking at the workshop. Hope this clarifies.

Chee Wai Lee said...

Thanks for the reply! Certainly helped make it clearer for me.

So, the MARUAH event really is a feedback event to help (or at least provide hints to) the MFA to establish the qualities that Singaporeans would like to see in the official representative for human rights in ASEAN?