The failure of ASEAN rights body to evolve

Yuyn Wahyuningrum

Article by PhD researcher Yuyun Wahyuningrum on the failure of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) to evolve into an organization that can promote and protect fundamental freedoms.

Yuyun Wahyuningrum argues that AICHR has proved itself unable to tackle the deteriorating human rights situation in Southeast Asia since its inception almost 10 years ago. To combat this, the organization needs to develop an 'evolutionary approach that would contribute to the development of human rights norms and standards in ASEAN'. The first concern is to determine what this 'evolutionary approach' actually entails, or what sort of evolution is sought for.

She argues that AICHR's evolution is obstructed by its own limits and state controls, as well as the sheer lack of political will and interest of the AICHR itself. She concludes that civil society is crucial in exposing the work of AICHR and to push evolution toward an independent protective human rights commission. For the evolution to be successful, it should be open, inclusive and participatory.

Doctoral student

Yuyun Wahyuningrum

International Institute of Social Studies