ASEAN inaugurates human rights body
Leaders of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) inaugurated ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in the Summit held here Friday.
The leaders announced "Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Inauguration of the AICHR" to pledge full support to this new ASEAN body and emphasize their commitment to further develop cooperation to promote and protect human rights in the region, according to a press release issued on Friday, Xinhua reported.
They also pledged to provide 200,000 U.S. dollars start up fund to support activities of the AICHR during its first year of operation, which will be topped up later by annual contribution from Member States as well as contribution from external sources.
The body will hold Introductory Meeting on Saturday.
"The Commission will link up the ASEAN country members closer," ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan told reporters Wednesday.
The body, now composed of nine representatives, will be chaired by the Representative of the Member State holding the Chairmanship of ASEAN.
ASEAN foreign ministers adopted Terms of Reference (ToR) of AICHR in July, clearing way for the body's formal establishment in the summit.
The ToR has been drafted as part of the implementation of Article 14 of the ASEAN Charter which came into effect in December 2008.
"In conforming with the purposes and principles of the ASEAN Charter relating to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, ASEAN shall establish an ASEAN human rights body," reads the ASEAN Charter.
The ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.