UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has highlighted the key developments made to date by national and regional human rights institutions, as she concluded her three-day visit to Bali, Indonesia, where she met with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The UN human rights chief also warned that the next couple of years will be vital for promoting human rights throughout the Southeast Asian region. But the civil society’s lack of involvement in regional rights issues is still a main concern, she added.
On the positive note, Ms. Pillay commended the country’s positive approach to human rights issues during its chairmanship of the regional organization.
She also warned that the overall success of the regional rights body would depend on its achievement and would also be measured by how its work compares with other organizations throughout the world.
The High Commissioner also noted several concerns raised by representatives of the 40 civil society organizations from nine member states of the ASEAN.
One concern is that as a body, AICHR is not communicating with the civil society, said Ms. Pillay. She stressed that no human rights discussion can be credible or complete without inputs from national human rights institutions and the civil society.
She encouraged the body to listen to the calls for more transparency, especially about the drafting of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, while is set for finalization by the end of the year.