Thailand has stressed the need for ASEAN and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to focus on combating human trafficking and transnational issues, including foreign migrant labor, as the realization of the ASEAN Community is approaching.
In his discussion with representatives of civil society organizations on the work of AICHR and the review of AICHR’s Terms of Reference, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow reiterated the importance of AICHR as the key mechanism of ASEAN in the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN.
He reminded that Thailand had played a significant role in establishing AICHR in 2008. It has also fully supported the work of Thailand’s representative to AICHR, such as the “AICHR Advanced Training on Human Rights: Training of the Trainers,” held in November 2013, and the AICHR workshop on sharing best practices on implementation of the treaties on human rights in which all ASEAN member states are parties.
In 2014, the Terms of Reference of AICHR is due to be reviewed. This review is to ensure that AICHR remains a balanced and practical human rights mechanism for promoting and protecting human rights in the region.
The Permanent Secretary underscored the Thai government’s support for the constructive and close engagement between Thailand’s representative to AICHR and civil society organizations. Such engagement is aimed to enhance transparency of AICHR and to ensure that ASEAN will be a people-centered community. AICHR is scheduled to meet the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on 8 August 2014 to discuss the revision of its Terms of Reference.
Thailand also initiated the Interfaith Dialogue between ASEAN’s leaders and civil society organizations during its ASEAN’s chairmanship in 2009. The forum provided an opportunity for civil society organizations to engage with ASEAN leaders on ASEAN community-building.