Last August 18 to 19, Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRD-Pilipinas), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and FORUM-ASIA held a National Training on ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism at the Fersal Hotel in Matalino, Quezon City. More than 30 human rights advocates gathered and learned together the relevance of engaging two of the newest regional mechanism available for human rights advocacy.
After the establishment of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on Women and Children (ACWC), their work in promoting and protecting human rights in ASEAN are still in slow pace. Institutional building issues remain to be the focus of work. Conversely, there is no institutional framework for human rights defender and the victims to engage with them. The attitude of ASEAN member-states is still distant to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
These situations happen partly because the demand from civil society to the AICHR, ACWC and ASEAN in general are still limited. The important role of the ASEAN human rights mechanism is still questioned by CSO. While on the other hand, the response of the human rights mechanism in ASEAN can only be strengthened when there is a strong demand from its people.
The limited initiatives from CSO to engage and push the human rights mechanism in ASEAN is rooted in the ground situation where there is limited knowledge and skill about ASEAN and its human rights mechanism.
For this reason, as one of the ways to enhance CSO participation and capacity in engaging with ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, FORUM-ASIA will work with national members and partners in organizing national trainings on ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. The trainings shall be conducted in the local languages and jointly conducted with local human rights trainers. We believe this would help spread the knowledge and enhance CSO’s skill in engaging with AICHR, ACWC and ASEAN as well as help build local trainers and resource persons at national level.
- To enhance the knowledge, skills and capacity of national and local civil society organizations, community organizations and people’s movements in engaging with the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism
- To enhance the capacity of local trainers and resource persons by providing opportunity for those who attended the regional training of trainers on ASEAN advocacy to implement the knowledge and skills on ASEAN advocacy that they learned through jointly conducting the national training with FORUM-ASIA’s trainers.
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