April 20-21, 2009
HLP Meets with Regional Human Rights
Institutions of the Council of Europe
Front row (L-R): Mr. Kongsada Detvongsone (Lao PDR); Mr. Rizal
Risnaadhi Wirakara (Indonesia); H.E. Rachmat Budiman (Indonesia);
Mr. Mayerfas (Indonesia); Mr. Achsanul Habib (Indonesia);
Mr. Widya Rahmanto (Indonesia).
Back row (L-R): Mr. Iswayudha (Indonesia); Mr. Enrique Pingol
(Philippines); Mr. Netithorn Praditsarn (Thailand); Ms. Hoang
Thi Ha (ASEAN Sec); Ms. Kanita Sapphaisal (Thailand); Ms.
Maita Chan-Gonzaga (Working Group); Mr. Bounpheng Saykanya
(Lao PDR); Ms. Farida Hairani Hisham (Brunei); H.E. Amb. Rosario
Manalo (Philippines); Dato Misran Karmain (Malaysia); H.E.
Dato Shofry Abdul Ghafor (Brunei); Mr. Termsak Chalermpalanupap
(ASEAN Sec); Asst. Sec. Jesus Yabes (Philippines); Mr. Ray
Paolo Santiago (Working Group).
Following the High Level Panel on an ASEAN Human Rights Body (HLP)’s
meeting at the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations
in Geneva, Switzerland on 20-21 April 2009, the Working
Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism
(Working Group), with
the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, arranged
an optional information program for the HLP in Strasbourg, France
from 22 – 24 April 2009.
The program started with the group’s visit to the debating
chamber of the Council of Europe’s
Parliamentary Assembly. Here they were briefed on the Council’s
role in the European political landscape and its part in safeguarding
human rights, democracy and the rule of law. After this briefing,
Fabrice Kellens, deputy executive secretary of the European
Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, discussed the structures and aims
of the Committee and its methods of work. In the afternoon, the
participants were at the European
Court of Human Rights where they learned about the role and
workings of the Court.
Front row (L-R): H.E. Rachmat Budiman (Indonesia); H.E. Amb.
Rosario Manalo (Philippines); H.E. Dato Shofry Abdul Ghafor
(Brunei); Dato Misran Karmain (Malaysia); Mr. Termsak Chalermpalanupap
Second row (L-R): Mr. Rizal Risnaadhi Wirakara (Indonesia);
Mr. Widya Rahmanto (Indonesia); Mr. Mayerfas (Indonesia);
Mr. Bounpheng Saykanya (Lao PDR); Ms. Farida Hairani Hisham
(Brunei); Ms. Hoang Thi Ha (ASEAN Sec).
Participants saw the Council of Europe and its human
as relevant examples
of how a possible human rights system in ASEAN could evolve
The presentations made demonstrated how these have been catalysts
for improving the domestic human rights systems of its member-states.
These human rights institutions highlighted the complementarities
of national and regional
human rights frameworks, as
well as the corresponding relationships among
the regional mechanisms themselves, such as that between the Court
and the Committee. Of course, much of these were achieved due
to the political will
of the member-states to
improve the promotion and protection of human rights both domestically
and regionally. “The European experience shows that developing
a regional human rights system does not have as its objective,
the humiliation of governments for their human rights records;
rather, the priority
is to constructively
in improving domestic promotion
of human rights through regional
,” said Maita Chan-Gonzaga, program
officer of the Working Group.
The Strasbourg program was attended by the delegations of Brunei,
Indonesia, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand as well
as representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat.