ASEAN inaugurates human rights body


The leaders announced "Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Inauguration of the AICHR" to pledge full support to this new ASEAN body and emphasise their commitment to further develop cooperation to promote and protect human rights in the region, according to a press release issued Friday.

They also pledged to provide $200,000 for a 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 its introductory meeting Saturday.
"The commission will link 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 ASEAN chairmanship.

ASEAN foreign ministers adopted Terms of Reference (ToR) of AICHR in July, clearing the way for the body's formal establishment in the summit.
"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 while the six dialogue partners are China, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

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