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2012 | ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 19 November 2012

This declaration was adopted by the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN") on the occasion of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 19 November 2012 and is Southeast Asia’s first regional instrument on human rights norms and principles.  This ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) supplements the 2007 ASEAN Charter that, through its Article 14, determined to set up a Human Rights Body. Implementing this commitment, the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was established in 2009.

The AHRD is considered the framework for human rights cooperation in ASEAN. While addressing their adherence to, respect for and promotion of human rights as enshrined inter alia in the ASEAN charter, the Member States declare that, as a general principle, every person has the right to an effective and enforceable remedy, to be determined by a court or other competent authorities, for acts violating the rights granted to that person by the constitution or by law (Article 5). However, critics point at the fact that the AHRD and the Asean Charter lack mechanisms for enforcement, supervision and adjudication of individual complaints. Although arguably the AICHR has features of a human rights monitoring mechanism, in essence it is a consultative body lacking enforcement powers and it is not a judicial body either.