Regional Study of Human Rights and the Rule of Law Launched

Jakarta, Sept. 20 – The Human Rights Resource Centre for ASEAN (HRRCA) has launched a study to analyze the legal frameworks supporting human rights in Southeast Asia.  The study will include country reports on all ten ASEAN Member States and is the Centre’s first research project. Researchers from eight of the ten ASEAN Member States will contribute to the study.

Adherence to good governance and rule of law as well as the promotion and protection of human rights are core principles contained in the ASEAN Charter.  The HRRCA’s study aims to identify areas where the rule of law in ASEAN Member States supports the protection of basic human rights and where gaps may still exist.  As a first step, researchers will gather in early October to finalize the survey to be used to develop the country reports.  The country reports will be finalized in early 2011 and a regional summary will be prepared thereafter.  The complete report will be presented at an ASEAN-wide human rights conference planned for March 2011.

The lead author of the regional report will be Mahdev Mohan, Assistant Professor of Law of the Singapore Management University, and Associate Fellow of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.  Program oversight is provided by Marzuki Darusman, former Attorney General of the Republic of Indonesia and founding Chairman/Director of the HRRCA.

“Strengthening rule of law is vital to the further development of human rights in ASEAN. Assisting ASEAN Member States in identifying potential gaps in their implementation of the rule of law is critical for establishing systems for protecting and promoting human rights,” said Marzuki Darusman.

“With the benefit of researchers who are experts in the legal environment for human rights in individual countries, this study seeks to identify paths towards achieving greater coherence regarding ASEAN Member States’ commitment in the ASEAN Charter to respect and protect human rights,” added Mahdev Mohan.

The HRRCA, headquartered at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, is an independent network of academic and civil society institutions that seek to complement and support the work of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and provide a strong regional focus on human rights research, capacity building, training and teaching.  The current partner institutions of the HRRCA are the University of Indonesia, Ateneo University School of Law (Philippines), the University of Malaya (Malaysia), and the Law School of the National University of Singapore. The Islamic University of Indonesia, which has a strong interest in human rights training, is the HRRCA’s first affiliate institution.

Through its network of partner and affiliated university-based institutions across ASEAN, the HRRCA is supporting the development of human rights in ASEAN through research, training, and capacity building.

The human rights and rule of law study being supported at the HRRCA’s request by the U.S. Government-supported ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility and the Canadian International Development Agency-supported Southeast Asia Regional Cooperation in Human Development Project.


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