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State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012 - Case study: Asia's Commission on Human Rights

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 28 June 2012
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012 - Case study: Asia's Commission on Human Rights, 28 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fedb3e528.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The establishment of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on 23 October 2009 marked a momentous achievement for human rights in the region. But there is no explicit mention of the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities in its mandate and civil society organizations continued to push to include these rights in the draft ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights.

The AICHR has been criticized for getting tied up in procedural issues, failing to consult with civil society and for being unable to receive information officially from civil society groups about severe human rights violations. There is also concern about the independence of the commissioners, inadequate resources and an unclear protection mandate.

There is no specific mechanism for the protection and promotion of minority or indigenous peoples' rights within the AICHR. Civil society groups created an Indigenous Peoples Task Force in order to lobby and inform ASEAN and its relevant bodies, particularly to establish a focal person for indigenous issues and to establish an ASEAN Working Group on indigenous issues.

The team drafting the Declaration on Human Rights was formed by the AICHR and was expected to present its first draft in January 2012. The drafting process has been held largely behind closed doors and the terms of reference have not been made public.

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