Cambodia is hosting the second Special Meeting 2022 of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and related meetings to discuss several issues, including environmental challenges and human rights in ASEAN.
The in-person meetings are being held in Siem Reap from November 15-19, during which a number of documents are expected to be reviewed.
Keo Remy, president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) and rotating chair of the AICHR, is leading the meetings, with representatives of all ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat in attendance.
The meeting will discuss and review concept documents related to the AICHAR Priority Plan of Action 2014-2022 and report on newly implemented activities, and the progress of upcoming programmes.
According to a November 15 press release by AICHR Cambodia, chairman Remy led an AICHR delegation in a separate meeting with the UN on November 16 to discuss cooperation on the protection and promotion of human rights in the region.
It added that on November 18, AICHR Cambodia will host a ceremony celebrating the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the Phnom Penh Declaration on the adoption of the declaration. This is a core tool in the protection and promotion of human rights within the bloc. It was adopted in 2012, under Cambodia’s previous chairmanship.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group Licadho, said there was a widely perceived view that human rights were declining in ASEAN, largely due to human rights abuses in Myanmar and some other ASEAN countries.
Sam Ath said the fact that ASEAN had adopted a human rights charter was a good step, but the provision of those rights remained low. In light of this, he believed that a joint statement was not enough.
“However, ASEAN is a diverse region, meaning that its members’ systems of government – and their human rights mechanisms – are different. This makes it challenging to find unanimous consent. As Cambodia is chair of ASEAN, it should set a good example in terms of human rights issues and controversies, and improve on its own issues,” he added.
CHRC spokesman Chin Malin told The Post that further statements would be issued upon the conclusion of the meetings.