Finally the TOR for the Asean Human Rights Body has been adopted!!! Its now called the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).
As civil society expected and despite our advocacy, the protection mandate of this body is very weak. The compromise is that the exact nature of the protection mandate (country visits, peer reviews and investigations) will be included in the 'political declaration' as an area to be prioritised for review in the next 5 years. The political declaration on the AICHR is to be drafted by Oct 2009.
In addition, the TOR envisions some level of integration of all 3 human rights mechanisms of the ASEAN , ie (the Commission, ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) as well as the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Migrant Workers (ACMW) under the overarching framework of the AICHR.
While the TOR is not as good as we hoped, we will still continue to work with this process, and share more of our thoughts and analysis in the next few days on what still needs to be done to ensure these bodies fulfill their objective as human rights promotion and protection mechanisms and incorporate gender perspectives into their work.
IWRAW Asia Pacific
Women's Caucus on AHRB