1. What does intergovernmental mean?
A. Intergovernmental means that the organisation is established by the agreement among the nation-states. Members of the organisation are composed of sovereign states (referred to as Member States).
2. Why are the AICHR members referred to as Representatives and not Commissioners?
A. The members of the AICHR are Representatives of the Member States of ASEAN, accountable to their respective Governments, appointed with full mandate, with due respect to the principles of the ASEAN Charter, their Terms of Reference, international human rights standards and bear the responsibility to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of ASEAN.
3. What are the duties of the AICHR?
A. The Term of Reference (TOR) of the AICHR stipulates the 14 mandate of AICHR. The AICHR is a principal organ of ASEAN and the overarching institution on human rights with overall responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN.
The AICHR as the overarching institution in ASEAN on human right shall work with other ASEAN Bodies dealing with human rights to align with the AICHR as well as other ASEAN Bodies on common area of interest. Through its cooperation with other ASEAN Bodies and with external partners, the AICHR will develop a regional cooperation on human rights.
4. The AICHR often uses the term “overarching” when describing their mandate. What does it means?
A. Although there are other ASEAN Bodies dealing with human rights, such as those specializing on the issue of the rights of women and children or of migrant workers, the AICHR has the overall responsibility in ASEAN to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The AICHR also deals with all categories of human rights such as political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights including rights of different groups.
5. How will the AICHR work with other entities, such as the civil society organisations, non-government organisations, the national human rights institutions, other human rights organisations, and UN, regional sectorial bodies as well as private sector?
A. As a consultative body, the AICHR shall consult and cooperate with other entities as deemed appropriate. The AICHR needs to subscribe a method for engagement with the different types of organisation or entity.
6. If my rights are violated, can I submit my grievances to the AICHR or to the AICHR Representative of my country? How does the public communicate with the AICHR?
A. As an intergovernmental body, the AICHR focuses its work on the regional cooperation of the promotion and protection of human rights. In its current TOR, endorsed in July 2009 by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, the AICHR does not have the mandate to handle individual cases.
Organisations or individuals may send letters for the attention of the ICHR through the AICHR Chair, and copying all the other AICHR Representatives and the ASEAN Secretariat.
7. To what extent does the work of the AICHR contribute or create an impact on human rights in the region and the human rights of the people in the Southeast Asian region?
A. The impact on human rights can be derived by creating awareness in the peoples of ASEAN on their rights. In addition, the systematic approach of thematic studies with deliverable results to the public will surely create an impact on human rights. The annual report of the AICHR, presented to the Foreign Minister, opinions given by The AICHR, public information on the work of the AICHR could certainly create an impact on human rights.
8. The AICHR seems to focus more on the promotion side rather than the protection of human rights, is it true?
A. The AICHR works under the spirit of consultation and consensus. However, it is not an obstacle to the promotion and protection of human rights, especially on educating and raising awareness on human rights to the people of ASEAN.
The promotion of human rights should be done in parallel with other developments, to ensure that strong protection mechanisms are created.
9. What is the role of the Secretary–General of ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC)?
A. The Secretary-General of ASEAN may bring relevant issues to the attention of the AICHR with regards to carrying out his/her duties and responsibilities in accordance with the provisions of the ASEAN Charter. The Secretary- General can also raise attention to the issues related to the implementation of the ASEAN agreements and decisions.
B. The ASEAN Secretariat currently serves as the regional secretariat of the AICHR. The ASEAN Secretariat maintains effective lines of communication between the AICHR with other ASEAN Bodies, external parties and other relevant stakeholders, as well as disseminates information on the latest developments of ASEAN and the AICHR to those concerned. The ASEAN Secretariat is the custodian of the AICHR Fund and the institutional memory of ASEAN and of the AICHR. The ASEAN Secretariat supports the implementation of the AICHR’s priority programmes and activities, as well as propose, assess, and assist in project formulation and implementation of the AICHR’s Work Plan.
10. Where can I find more information about the AICHR?
A. General information and the latest news updates about ASEAN, including the press releases of the AICHR, can be accessed through the ASEANWEB (www.asean.org). The AICHR also has its own regional website (www.aichr.org).