Joint Statement of Non-governmental Organizations in the Asia-Pacific Region

15th Annual Workshop on the Framework of Regional Cooperation for Human Rights Promotion and Protection in the Asia-Pacific Region Bangkok, Thailand, 21-23 April 2010 We, the civil society organizations present on the occasion of this 15th Workshop, would like to take this opportunity to share our views and recommendations related to the progress of implementation of the four pillars of the Teheran Framework. National Human Rights Action Plans We welcome the initiative of countries that have adopted national human rights action plans and the commitment of others to do the same. We believe that these NHRAPs should be in accordance with international human rights norms, standards and principles. Moreover, we recommend consultations with civil society organizations and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to ensure their meaningful inputs into and participation in the implementation of these plans. Governments have in place various national development and sectoral or issue specific plans, and we recognize the challenges especially in coordination that this poses among the different state bodies concerned which can hamper implementation and furtherance of the NHRAPs. We urge governments to adopt such measures to enhance the coherence and complementation among different bodies involved, for instance through the creation of consultative and coordination mechanisms. We urge governments and National Human Rights Institutions to ensure that the NHRAPs address the Human Rights of all peoples within their territory regardless of status and other factors. National Human Rights Institutions As more NHRIs are being set up in the region, we would like to call for the strict observance of the Paris Principles in this regard. The appointment of commissioners to these institutions should be based on the competence of the candidate in the field of human rights and done in an accountable and transparent manner. We moreover would like to see efforts to promote gender balance in particular among the commissioners and personnel at all levels within these institutions. We especially would like to underline the importance of full participation of independent civil society organizations in the work of NHRIs in order to ensure effective promotion and protection of human rights. We call upon governments and NHRIs in the protection and promotion of human rights to recognize, respect and protect the individual and collective rights of all peoples within their territory regardless of status and other factors.. Human Rights Education We urge that the governments to maintain Human Rights education as a priority, with emphasis on broadening the scope to include Human Rights education as part of the school curriculum and Human Rights education for state organs (executive, legislative and judicial) and other state institutions at all levels. We believe that the proper and effective human rights education of all those involved in the administration of justice is key to combating impunity and establishing the rule of law. Human Rights education programs should include among others the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees, persons with different sexual orientation and gender identities, indigenous people, as guaranteed in the UDHR. The programs should be compliant with international human rights standards, international humanitarian law and core labour standards. We urge governments to provide adequate financial resources to the National Human Rights education in their annual budgets. Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Right to Development While there have been claims of widespread economic growth, we are concerned by the growing economic disparity and increasing poverty in many of the countries in the region. We believe that ESC rights cannot be realized only through economic development. Governments should adopt human rights-based approach in all areas such as economic and social development planning, and trade and finance policy. Further, we urge governments to enhance transparency and accountability and public participation in economic policy decisions, including on bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. We urge states parties to the ICESCR to strengthen implementation of the same and for governments to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Covenant. Noting that rights stipulated in the ICESCR are detailed out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), we urge Governments that have voted in favor of the UNDRIP to also ensure the full implementation of this international instrument. Finally, we recommend inclusion of ESC rights and the right to development as constitutional rights at par with civil and political rights and take all apprpriate measures to ensure that these rights are justiciable. Bangkok, 20 April 2010 Endorsed by: 1. Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network 2. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development 3. Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact 4. Asylum Access 5. Disabled Persons International Asia Pacific 6. Informal Sector Service Center 7. Oxfam International 8. Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism 9. US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

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