Indonesia Law Review, Vol 2 (1)

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ASEAN’s Human Rights Body: New Breakthrough for Human Rights Protection in South East Asian Region Some Preliminary Notes from Indonesia’s Perspective

Arie Afriansyah


On 21 November 2007, leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) promulgated the ASEAN Charter (the Charter). Not only does it provide legal basis for ASEAN’s legal personality; it also provides new legal norms for its member states. One of those that need to be discussed is the establishment of ASEAN’s Human Rights Body (the Body). This obligation is stipulated in Article 14 of the Charter, which stresses the commitment of member nations to protect human rights. However, the establishment of the Body has faced numerous pessimistic opinions regarding the organisation’s capability to protect human rights considering its notorious reputation over this matter. The cross-border movement of individuals across the region has cited serious violations of human rights from exploitation of human trafficking victims, refugees, and asylum seekers who are moving in search of protection from persecution, to relocation of migrant workers to find a better living in more affluent ASEAN countries where they are frequently subject to violations of their human rights (including labour rights). The latter experience was closely related to Indonesia’s migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.

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