AICHR Judicial Colloquium On The Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights Law


        The first AICHR Judicial Colloquium On The Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights Law was held from 13th to 15th March 2017 at Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. This event was jointly organized by AICHR Malaysia, AICHR Laos, AICHR Thailand, in collaboration with the Malaysian Judiciary, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and various international partners. Furthermore, this colloquium is an initiative by H.E Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Representative of Malaysia to AICHR and supported by Phoukhong Sisoulath, Representative of Lao PDR to AICHR, Seree Nonthasoot, Representative of Thailand to AICHR, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR, Thailand and Malaysia.

     Among the main objectives of this colloquium were to encourage greater peer-to-peer interaction, share good practices and challenges in the implementation of international human rights laws and to strengthen judicial co-operation between relevant stakeholders.

      The event was graced by the Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tun Arifin Zakaria. Also present were Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi bin Dato Paduka Haji Kifli (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Brunei Darussalam), Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Md Raus bin Sharif (President of the Court of Appeal, Malaysia), Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Zulkefli bin Ahmad Makinudin (Chief Judge of Malaya, Malaysia), Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Haji Mohamed Apandi bin Ali (Attorney General of Malaysia), Dato’ Ramlan Ibrahim (Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia) and Leo M.Herrera-Lim (Chairperson of AICHR & Representative of the Philippines to AICHR). It was participated by over 200 participants including 20 senior judges from the highest judicial branches of ASEAN member states, representatives of the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ), International judges, representatives of AICHR

      It is important to note that this event was also participated by a total of sixteen civil society organisations (CSOs) who have successfully gained consultative relationship with AICHR including ASETUC. Sister Nithiyah Sinnathamby, Project Coordinator of ASETUC represented ASETUC on behalf of Brother Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal, General Secretary of ASETUC. The other CSOs that took part in the colloquium were as follows :

1.  Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) - Thailand

2. Center for Reintegration of Ex-prisoners into Society - Canada

3. Child Rights Coalition Asia - Philippines

4. Human Rights and Development Foundation - Thailand

5. Human Rights Resource Centre (HRRC) - Indonesia

6. Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, Inc. - Phillipines


7. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific - Malaysia

8. MARUAH (Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, Singapore)

9. Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS)

10. Persatuan Penyandang Disabilitas Indonesia (Indonesia Disabled Association)

11. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS) - Malaysia

12. Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law - Sweden

13. Save the Children Philippines

14. The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation

15. The Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation

        Discussions were held based on four main components during the colloquium using sustainable development goal 16 under UN (United Nations) Initiatives as baseline. The sustainable development goal highlights the importance to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The set of questions for discussion were as follows :

1. How could ASEAN Member States (AMS) strengthen the role of the judiciary and the rule of law?

2. How could ASEAN judiciaries promote and apply Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and ASEAN instruments?

3. How could AMS achieve SDG 16 – Effective access to justice & remedies?

4. What are ASEAN institutional mechanisms that could be established to support judicial cooperation on human rights protection?

The outcome document of the colloquium contains :

Commending the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Judiciaries for the successful convening of the inaugural Judicial Colloquium on the Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights Law

Noting that the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration 2012 (AHRD) has established a framework for human rights cooperation in the region and contributed to the ASEAN community building process

Reaffirming ASEAN’s commitment to respect, promote and protect human rights, and to the full implementation of the AHRD

Reaffirming the ASEAN principle of adherence to the rule of law and good governance, and that human rights are upheld through the rule of law;

Noting the contemporary challenges to the rule of law and human rights and the need to strengthen the rule of law and human rights including enhancing effective access to justice and legal remedies;

Noting the mandate and functions of the AICHR which are, among others, to promote capacity building for the effective implementation of international human rights treaty obligations undertaken by ASEAN Member States

Recommendations for AICHR’s consideration from the colloquium are listed below :

To conduct capacity building programmes (such as trainings and workshops) with the view to providing technical support, obtaining information, developing common approaches and positions, and sharing good practices.

To conduct greater peer-to-peer interaction between relevant stakeholders by engaging in consultations, dialogues, and reviews

To compile a regional reference guide in respect of the AHRD, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the rule of judiciary in the promotion and protection of the rule of law and human rights. The guide should contain good practices, guidelines or explanatory notes, relevant jurisprudence and laws, and the applicable baseline standards

To enhance effective access to justice and legal remedies by strengthening the provision of legal aid in the region

Where appropriate or necessary to realise the above, and within the framework of ASEAN judicial and legal cooperation, to consult and/or collaborate with other ASEAN bodies and entities associated with ASEAN such as the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ), the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) and the ASEAN Law Association (ALA), and including civil society organisations, national, regional and international institutions.


      This colloquium has proven that with consultative relationship with AICHR, it signifies the acknowledgement from AICHR that trade union is instrumental in the fulfilment of fundamental rights in the South East Asia region. AICHR has recognised that trade unions are always ready to contribute towards realization of a people-centered ASEAN, where decent work and fundamental rights of workers are respected.