Washington, D.C. – In the year of its 50th anniversary, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the progress toward establishing a regional human rights body by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).In its 42nd Ministerial Meeting, to be held in Thailand this month, the Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN countries plan to adopt the terms of reference for the creation of a regional human rights body. The decision to create this body was established in the ASEAN Charter that has been in effect since December 2008.
During the five decades of its existence, the IACHR has contributed to the strengthening of human rights throughout the Americas, and recently has taken steps to enhance inter-regional cooperation with the institutions of the European and the African regional human rights systems. The IACHR would welcome the presence of another strong regional human rights body in Southeast Asia in order to enhance the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the world.
The IACHR urges the ASEAN representatives to take into account the long and fruitful experience of the existing regional systems, and to ensure that the new ASEAN body has the autonomy and material support necessary for it to become an independent and effective mechanism for the protection of human rights and a valuable contributor to interregional human rights cooperation.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.