Increased human rights cooperation between the EU and ASEAN
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, is set to explore and strengthen further cooperation with the European Union. The first ASEAN-EU policy dialogue on Human Rights was held in Brussels 19-20 October, as a result of an agreement between the EU and ASEAN ministers to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law through exchange of good practices, information, dialogues, seminars and capacity building initiatives.
The policy dialogue included an open and constructive inter-regional discussion on various human rights issues, such as the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons. The two regional bodies also welcomed the exchange of experiences with NGOs, especially in light of the recent adoption by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Right (AICHR) of guidelines on engagement with civil society.
As a contribution the policy dialogue, the APT recommended stronger EU support of AICHR’s efforts to promote and protect human rights in the region, through the sharing of resources and experiences. We also called for torture prevention to be included in AICHR’s long term agenda, something that was recommended by participants during an ASEAN regional workshop on "Preserving human dignity by preventing torture and ill-treatment”, held in Bali last August.