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Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to commence


Meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to commence

Photo: US Mission to ASEAN

The 32nd meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) will today be virtually convened under Brunei’s chairmanship with the participation of AICHR representatives and the ASEAN Secretariat.

The AICHR, established in 2009 to promote the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, specifies its priorities based on its five-year work plan and in response to emerging human rights issues in the region.

Expect the AICHR to continue the prior year’s discussion on mitigating the effects of COVID-19, particularly business-related human rights issues. The pandemic has caused a global demand downturn, creating an excuse for many governments and businesses to lower human rights standards. Examples are seen in the Cambodian garment workers’ protest against unpaid wages and the Indonesian government prioritising of business interests over labour and environmental rights. Nevertheless, though the AICHR provides training on promoting human rights in business, its effect is mainly limited by governments’ hesitance to take concrete actions.

To address these limitations, the AICHR may look to facilitating cooperation between regional and local businesses with external partners that emphasise ethical business practices. Exchanging experiences on integrating human rights values into business activities would create incentives for regional member states to adopt similar practices.

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