AICHR discussed and approved the method and modality for finalizing the AHRD. It also approved the basic elements to be incorporated into the Preamble and Substantive Rights parts of the Declaration. There was a debate on whether AHRD will adopt the whole technical languages offered by the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the public expectation that AHRD should not be lower than the 1948 UDHR.
Indonesia reminded the rest AICHR to take civil society s inputs into consideration in the formulation of the rights. Some member countries, however, insisted on the inclusion of reference to ASEAN Regional and National particularities and specificity'. Indonesia and Thailand considered that not all the particularities in ASEAN are in accordance with the principles of human rights. Particularities must be ensured to be included if only provide positive element and supporting the already universally agreed human rights values. Some member countries objected the inclusion of the term 'gender identity' and 'sexual orientation' in the declaration. Indonesia argued that the declaration need to include the principle of non-discrimination based on descent, adding to the existing list as provided by the UDHR.
ACWC discussed implementation of their work plan and welcomed a new Representative from Brunei for child rights, Datin Paduka Hajah Apsah binti Haji Majid, who replaced the former Representative, Datin Hajah Adina Othman.
The Consultation provided an opportunity to exchange views on a rights-based approach to initiatives designed to prevent and address all forms of violence against children (VAC) and violence against women (VAW), in the light of international human rights standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), both ratified by all ASEAN Member States.
The Indonesian ACWC Representative for Women's Rights and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Women Empowerment and Child Protection of Indonesia (MOWECP) initiated a dialogue with Indonesian civil society organizations. The dialogue aimed to collect inputs on the issues, challenges and recommendation around violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC). This was in preparation for the Consultative Meeting between ACWC and UN Expert on the Issue of VAW and VAC from 16-17 January 2012 in Manila, Philippines.
AICHR committed to complete the declaration in 2012 as assigned by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers. AICHR approved a Progress Report on the Drafting the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration for submission to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and approved a schedule for AICHR to meet and negotiate over the Declaration.
The Drafting Group accepted the declaration title, ASEAN Human Rights Declaration' (AHRD) and finalized a working document that included the following:
- Preamble section contains: the principles, background, purpose and shared vision of ASEAN on human rights
- General Principles section which contains:
o freedoms and fundamental rights of the individual and his or her duties and obligations
o Duties and obligations of ASEAN countries and corporations
o The limitations/boundaries of the rights and freedoms
- The inclusion of the Right to Peace and the Right to Development
- The recognition of vulnerable groups in ASEAN
- Human rights cooperation among ASEAN countries on the area of education, public awareness, capacity building, promotion of ASEAN in the implementation of human rights instruments
- Noting of the differences in opinion between the different ASEAN countries on the interpretation of human rights and use of certain terminology
The Drafting Group reportedly discussed the sections of the Declaration on Economic, Social Rights, Cultural Rights , The Rights of Women, Children's Rights and Others Group , and The Cooperation in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights . There was an objection from some Member Countries on the use of the term 'minority groups' and 'indigenous peoples' in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. There was a proposal to articulate the duty of state and businesses by adding paragraph related to Corporate Social Responsibility in the declaration.
The Seminar was divided into four sessions covering the following topics: (a) Experiences from Other Regional Human Rights Mechanisms on the Development of Human Rights Declarations/Conventions, particularly in the Inter American and African Systems; (b) Human Rights and Human Responsibilities; (c) Notions of Collective Rights and Individual Rights; and (d) Exploring National and Regional Particularities of ASEAN Countries in the Context of Human Rights
AICHR met with ACWC Representatives to discuss alignment of the two bodies' work. It also met with the United Nations Children s Fund (UNICEF) East Asia and Pacific Regional Office to discuss potential collaboration, and met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay. On 28 November 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in a press release after meeting with both ASEAN civil society organizations and the AICHR, that the failure of the AICHR to engage with civil society organizations was a major concern for her. She emphasized that no discussion of human rights can be complete or credible without significant input from civil society and national human rights institutions, and urged AICHR to listen to civil society s calls for more transparency, particularly with regard to the forthcoming AHRD.