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Panel will start work on a rights declaration

Originally appeared in Bangkok Post

June 24, 2011

The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights is taking shape as a panel will start discussions on drafting a declaration on human rights for the Southeast Asian region during a meeting in Vientiane next Monday.

The Thai representative of the commission, Sriprapha Petcharamesree, introduced a declaration draft to Thai stakeholders during a meeting early this week with relevant government agencies and civil society organisations at the Foreign Ministry.

Ms Sriprapha said the team would have two months to come up with a draft Declaration on Human Rights in Asean that would outline a set principles that would be proposed to Asean ministers.

Most of the declaration drafters are officials from different member nations working on Asean affairs. Thailand named international law expert Seree Nonthasoot for the task. Ms Sriprapha said that the declaration would indicate a general vision about rights and responsibilities.

Mr Seree said he would be willing to meet with Thai stakeholders and hear their views during the drafting process.

The AICHR will scrutinise the Declaration on Human Rights and hoped to adopt the Declaration before they finish their term later next year.

The human rights commission itself has gradually made progress since it was established in October 2009. Since February of this year, the body has adopted guidelines for operations and agreed to study two issues: corporate social responsibility and migration in the Southeast Asian region.

Thailand’s representative has pledged to study the Blueprints for Asean Political-Security, Economic and Socio-Cultural Community.

Ms Sriprapha said she disagreed with senior health officials in Asean nations who have sought the commissions opinions on requiring mandatory HIV/Aids testing for migrant workers. She said it would go against international human rights principles.

In the past year, Ms Sriprapha has been conducting road shows to all regions in Thailand introducing and explaining the commission’s role and how it will differ from the National Human Rights Commission.

She also said she had received information from NGOs about the Xayaburi dam in Laos and the Hatgyi dam in Burma, as well as the impact of Thai investments in Cambodia.

Ms Sriprapha also told Thai civil society members that a number of commission members regarded working with human rights organisations in the region important and that they were considering an accreditation system for NGOs.

Thai NGOs are interested in how accreditation would work and have been engaged with the Thai representative on the commission to introduce their recommendations for implementing such a system. But Ms Sriprapha said the accreditation idea may not be on the agenda for the meeting in Vientiane.

View the original article here.

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This post is in: ASEAN

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