Civil society organizations push for autonomous ASEAN human rights court

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Jelen Paclarin

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 29) — Civil society organizations from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pushed for the establishment of an autonomous court to independently adjudicate human rights issues within the region.

"We thought it might be a good idea for us to start the conversation on having a regional human rights court within this region," said Malaysian representative Lee Shook Fong.

In an hour-long dialogue with ASEAN foreign ministers, the civil society representatives raised their demands to ASEAN leaders.

"We want similar to the [United Nations]. We want expert people who have been working on human rights who should handle the independent human rights mechanism," said Regional Steering Committee Chair Jelen Paclarin, who also represents Philwomen on ASEAN.

This comes amid the Philippine government's war on drugs, along with the series of alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK).

"We want the host country led by the chair Rodrigo Duterte who has seen thousands of his people being victim of EJK condoned by the current admin," Paclarin added.

The civil society organizations said ASEAN governments should uphold just and lasting peace and human security, asserting people's rights toward sustainable development, decent work, and social protection for all.

This protection then include the migrants' rights abroad and the promotion of human rights.

They recommended drug policies based on the respect of human rights and scientific pieces of evidence that shows the need to replace the ongoing drug war.

However, as there was no clear response from the other ASEAN ministers present, the group wants to hold regular substantive dialogues with the ASEAN government to discuss human rights concerns in the region.