Assessing an ASEAN Human Rights Regime - A New Dawn for Human Rights in Southeast Asia
Abstract: This thesis is devoted to examining the recently established human rights regime within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), consisting of the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Women and Children (ACWC). The overall purpose is study if the regime will ensure better adherence of human rights amongst Southeast Asian nations. Can this human rights regime have any effective impact on state behaviour? In an attempt to assess this issue, the thesis looks at: (1) the history and approaches to human rights in the Southeast Asian region with ASEAN as the framework for human rights cooperation; (2) international standards for human right regimes in general and how they can be assessed; (3) and, against this framework, the ASEAN Charter and the ToRs to the AICHR and ACWC. It is through the legalised and institutionalised framework of the Charter that the AICHR and ACWC will operate with more specific mandates provided in their respective Terms of Reference (ToRs). What institutional framework does the ASEAN Charter create and what potential measures can the commissions adopt to enhance the protection of human rights? The thesis concludes by examining and analyzing the main challenges at the initial stages and what steps the ASEAN human rights regime needs to take to engender a framework for human rights protection in the region.
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