3 - Self-determination and democracy: the human rights experiences of five ASEAN states  pp. 72-138

Self-determination and democracy: the human rights experiences of five ASEAN states

By Hsien-Li Tan

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Introduction

Despite any latent misgivings Southeast Asia may have against international human rights, as seen in Chapter 2, we find that human rights have nevertheless made significant inroads into the regional consciousness. This is especially so if we scrutinise the internal structure of the states and recognise the long way they have come from their initial taste of human rights in the decolonisation process, which was subsequently stymied by authoritarian leadership. Of course, serious impediment to the institutionalisation of human rights still remains at both the domestic and regional levels. Endemic corruption, lack of resources and funding, poor civil infrastructure, and human resource training, together with low public awareness and lack of knowledge of how to use the human rights mechanism, are among the major obstacles to human rights empowerment. Nonetheless, there are positive signs that the states are taking human rights more seriously. This is not merely limited to their readiness to discuss the exact operational parameters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Perhaps in an even more profound and substantive way, there is evidence that governments are slowly permitting the implicit and explicit application of human rights within the domestic sphere through bodies such as civil society organisations, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), and the courts.

Given that AICHR would severely lack strength unless coupled with a concomitant resolve to improve domestic human rights standards, this chapter will therefore analyse how the five Southeast Asian states of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand have dealt with human rights.

3

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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) , Human Development Report 2003: Millennium Development Goals: A Compact among Nations to End Human Poverty (New York: UNDP, 2003).
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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) , Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2006: Trade on Human Terms: Transforming Trade for Human Development in Asia and the Pacific (Colombo: UNDP, 2006).
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UNESCAP, UNDP, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) , Millennium Development Goals [MDGs]: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2006 (Bangkok: UN, 2006).
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United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) , Responsibility to Protect, GA Res. 63/308, UN Doc. A/Res/63/308 (2009).
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Reference Title: Treaties and other international agreements

Reference Type: reference-list

Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field , 22 August 1864.
Charter of the United Nations , 24 October 1945, 1 UNTS XVI.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights , GA Res. 217A (III), UN Doc. A/810 at 71 (1948).
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field , 12 August 1949 (entry into force 21 October 1950), 75 UNTS 31.
Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea , 12 August 1949 (entry into force 21 October 1950), 75 UNTS 85.
Convention (III) Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War , 12 August 1949 (entry into force 21 October 1950), 75 UNTS 135.
Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War , 12 August 1949 (entry into force 21 October 1950), 75 UNTS 287.
European Convention on Human Rights , 4 November 1950 (entry into force 3 September 1953), 213 UNTS 221.
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees , 28 July 1951(entry into force 22 April 1954), 189 UNTS 150.
Convention on the Political Rights of Women , GA Res. 640(VII), 20 December 1952 (entry into force 7 July 1954), 193 UNTS 135.
Declaration on Social Progress and Development , 11 December 1969, GA Res. 2542 (XXIV), UN Doc. A/7630 (1969).
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples , GA Res. 1514 (XV), UN Doc. A/4684 (1961), 14 December 1960.
European Social Charter , 18 October 1961 (entry into force 26 February 1965), ETS 35.
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination , 21 December 1965 (entry into force 4 January 1969), GA Res. 2106 (XX), Annex, UN Doc. A/6014 (1966).
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) , 16 December 1966 (entry into force 23 March 1976), GA Res. 2200A (XXI), UN Doc. A/6316 (1966).
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , 16 December 1966 (entry into force 23 March 1976), GA Res. 2200A (XXI), UN Doc. A/6316 (1966).
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) , 16 December 1966 (entry into force 3 January 1976), GA Res. 2200A (XXI), UN Doc. A/6316 (1966).
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid , 30 November 1973 (entry into force 18 July 1976), GA Res. 3068 (XXVIII), UN Doc.A/9233/Add.1 (1973).
Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) , 24 February 1976.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977 (entry into force 7 December 1978), 1125 UNTS 3.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977 (entry into force 7 December 1978), 1125 UNTS 609.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), GA Res. 34/180, UN Doc. A/34/46 (1979), 18 December 1979 (entry into force 3 September 1981).
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), GA Res. 39/46, UN Doc. A/39/51 (1984), 10 December 1984 (entry into force 26 June 1987).
Declaration on the Right to Development , 4 December 1986, A/RES/41/128 (1986).
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), GA Res. 44/25, Annex, UN Doc. A/44/49 (1989), 20 November 1989 (entry into force 2 September 1990).
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW), GA Res. 45/158, Annex, UN Doc. A/45/49 (1990), 18 December 1990 (entry into force 1 July 2003).
Treaty of Maastricht (Provisions Amending the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community with a View to Establishing the European Community), 7 February 1992 (entry into force 1 November 1993).
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action , 12 July 1993, UN Doc. A/CONF.157/23 (1993), World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14–25 June 1993.
Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) , 15 December 1995.
Treaty of Amsterdam (Amending the Treaty on the European Union, the Treaties Establishing the European Communities and Certain Related Acts), 2 October 1997 (entry into force 1 May 1999).
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court , 17 July 1998 (entry into force 1 July 2002), UN Doc. A/CONF. 183/9.
United Nations Millennium Declaration , 18 September 2000, UN Doc. A/RES/55/2 (2000).
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union , 18 December 2000, Doc. No. 2000/C 364/01.
Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on the Financing for Development , 18–21 March 2002, UN Doc. A/CONF.198/11 (2002).
United States–Singapore Free Trade Agreement , 6 May 2003 (entry into force 1 January 2004).
Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) , Laos, 29 November 2004.
Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers (with inclusion of amendments as promulgated on 27 October 2004), NS/RKM/1004/006.
Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement , Helsinki, Finland, 15 August 2005.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (Protocol III), 8 December 2005.
Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Charter , 12 December 2005.
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance , GA Res. 61/177, UN Doc. A/RES/61/177 (2006), 20 December 2006.
ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers , Cebu, Philippines, 13 January 2007.
Japan–Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement , 3 April 2007 (entry into force 1 November 2007).
International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities (CPD), GA Res. 61/106, Annex I, UN Doc. A/61/49 (2006), 13 December 2006 (entry into force 3 May 2008).
Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations , 20 November 2007 (entry into force 15 December 2008).
ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW): Work Plan , Singapore, 15–16 September 2008.
ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint , Thailand, 1 March 2009.
ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint , Thailand, 1 March 2009.
Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights , 20 July 2009.
Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children , Thailand, 24 October 2009.

Reference Title: Internet resources

Reference Type: reference-list

Amnesty International , at www.amnesty.org.
ASEAN Community , at www.aseansec.org/about_ASEAN.html.
ASEAN People's Assembly (APA), at www.asean-isis-aseanpeoplesassembly.net.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) , at www.forum-asia.org.
Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) , at www.aware.org.sg.
Bilateral Free Trade Agreements , at www.bilaterals.org.
Common Country Assessment (CCA)/United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)/Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) , at www.un.org/special-rep/ohrlls/ohrlls/cca_undaf_prsp.htm.
Development – Right to Development , at www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/development.
Doha Development Agenda: Negotiations, Implementation and Development , at www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dda_e/dda_e.htm.
Focus on the Global South , at www.focusweb.org.
Human Rights Watch , at www.hrw.org/doc?t=southeast_asia.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) , at www.icrc.org.
International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights case-law database, at www.escr-net.org/caselaw.
MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism) , at http://maruah.org.
Millennium Project: Goals, Targets, and Indicators , at www.unmillenniumproject.org/goals/gti.htm.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) , at www.ohchr.org.
OHCHR Regional Office for Southeast Asia , at http://bangkok.ohchr.org.
Third World Network , at www.twnside.org.sg.
United Nations Development Programme , at www.undp.org.
United Nations Millennium Development Goals , at www.un.org/millenniumgoals.
United States State Department Human Rights Reports , at www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt.
Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism , at www.aseanhrmech.org.
World Bank , at www.worldbank.org.
World Health Organization , at www.who.int.