Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - AICHR holds 4th dialogue on human rights in Siem Reap

AICHR holds 4th dialogue on human rights in Siem Reap

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) at the 4th ASEAN Human Rights Dialogue held in Siem Reap province on November 19 as part of Cambodia’s duties as chair of ASEAN in 2022. CHRC

AICHR holds 4th dialogue on human rights in Siem Reap

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) says the organisation is committed to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region, and that it will be able to demonstrate progress in its mission before its next summit.

However, some civil society organisations (CSOs) claim that the AICHR has only made limited contributions to improving the human rights situation in ASEAN to date.

The ASEAN human rights mechanism has reached its 10th anniversary this year, which was marked at the 4th ASEAN Human Rights Dialogue held in Siem Reap province on November 19 as part of Cambodia’s duties as chair of ASEAN in 2022.

The AICHR human rights dialogue was attended by officials from ASEAN member states to share ideas, best practices and experiences to promote and protect human rights in the region.

“Human rights and fundamental freedoms are now even more important than before in solving current issues in ASEAN amid economic hardship caused by Covid-19, food and energy crises as well as changes in the political situation for each country in the region,” said Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro, director-general for ASEAN cooperation at Indonesia’s foreign ministry, who was in attendance at the meeting.

The 4th human rights dialogue had topics on its agenda such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, rights of migrant workers, women’s rights, women in politics,treatment of women detainees, prevention of forced labour, children’s rights, preventing human trafficking and the rights of people with disabilities.

Also on the agenda were discussions on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), businesses and their impact on human rights, measures to deal with Covid-19, poverty alleviation, death penalty elimination, human rights education and outreach, human rights in the judiciary and climate change.

Chin Malin, representing Cambodia as vice-president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC), said the dialogue was set up as a forum for discussion and exchanges on the experiences of ASEAN’s member states with the issues.

“This regional mechanism aims to increase cooperation, mutual support and dissemination of information about national and international laws related to human rights as well as outreach about human

rights to members of the public, governments officials and law enforcement officials, so that they better understand the available legal provisions related to human rights,” Malin said.

At the same time, some observers claimed that the situation of human rights in the region continues to worsen as ASEAN’s leaders have not done enough to solve any human rights-related issues.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director for rights group LICADHO, said he welcomed the fact that ASEAN through the AICHR has taken up a dialogue on human rights issues. However, he said AICHR’s contributions were a small factor in improving the human rights situation in the region due to the fact that ASEAN does not have clear standards requiring member states to respect human rights.

“ASEAN abides by the consensus principle, meaning that only when all of the 10 member states agree on a particular issue can they make a decision to take action. There was one year when AICHR could not issue any joint communique.

“In ASEAN, some of the countries walk the democratic path, while some others remain authoritarian and communist. Those countries’ standards for human rights are different and that is the issue,” he said.

Soeng Sen Karuna, spokesman for rights group ADHOC, said the recent “backsliding” in the human rights situation in the region came in part from the fact that AICHR members have not followed the human rights treaties and instruments which they are signatory to.

“As human rights defenders, we want the governments and AICHR to review their conventions and treaties they have signed. If they have not been properly implemented, they should take measures to do so to ensure that all member states fulfil their duties as stated in those instruments,” he said.


  • Tensions high ahead of historic Kun Khmer match up

    The long-awaited November 5 matchup between Kun Khmer legend Prum Samnang and Myanmar-Canadian boxer Dave Leduc has become the most anticipated fight of the year. The Wurkz Sena Kun Khmer promotion, which will be held at the Town Arena at Chip Mong 271 Megamall, will see six

  • Manet: Cambodia safe for travel

    Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged that Cambodia and China have cooperated to tackle internet scamming, fraud and other cross border crimes, but insisted that the “Kingdom of Wonders” is completely peaceful and safe. He welcomed tourists to come and explore its rich heritage. During a

  • UNESCO formally list Battambang gastronomy

    Battambang, renowned for its cultural heritage, has achieved a significant milestone as the first Cambodian municipality to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The UCCN unites nearly 300 cities prioritising creativity and cultural industries in local development plans and international cooperation. On World Cities Day,

  • Cambodia pivots to solar, wind energy

    Cambodia is planning a move towards solar and wind energy to meet its rising power demands, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rottanak. On the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week event held recently, Rottanak emphasised the urgency of diversifying Cambodia’s

  • Angkor causeway symbol of Cambodia-Japan ties

    In a historic moment marking another milestone in the 70-year-long diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan, King Norodom Sihamoni celebrated the formal inauguration of a causeway located to the west of the world-renowned Angkor Wat. While presiding over the November 4 ceremony, the King emphasised the

  • Manet calls for Cambodia’s railways to get back on track

    Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the relevant authorities to expedite studies into upgrades to the Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk railway line. He suggested that the maximum speed on the line should be increased to 80km/h, in order to expedite the transportation of