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Rights groups to discuss ASEAN Human Rights Declaration

On 18 November 2012, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the controversial ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

Although it falls short of international standards, the UP Institute of Human Rights (IHR) views the AHRD as a critical and relevant instrument that could pave the way in establishing the institutional arrangements for a human rights system in the region.

To inquire further into the AHRD, the UP-IHR will hold a forum entitled Understanding the AHRD and its implications for the Filipino People” on 29 November, from 1pm to 5pm, at the 2nd floor Conference Room of the UP Law Center.

The forum aims to present to the public the salient features of the AHRD and provide an analysis of the legal and human rights implications of the AHRD on the Filipino as well as ASEAN People.

Further, the objectives of the forum are to: (1) discuss the provisions of the AHRD and the process involved in drafting the instrument; (2) create an advocacy network to protect the rights of the Filipino people under the AHRD; and (3) tackle the legal, social and political issues that may confront Filipinos in light of the AHRD.

One of the speakers invited in the forum is Ambassador Rosario Manalo, Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Committee on Human Rights (AICHR). Ambassador Manalo played a critical role during the drafting of the AHRD and her presence and inputs during the forum will indeed assist our people in appreciating the AHRD as well as understand its implications on their daily lives.

Other speakers include Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno, the National Chairperson of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG); Atty. Glenda Litong of the UP Institute of Human Rights; Mr. Melchor Magano of the Mamamayan para sa Pagpapanatili at Pagpapaunlad ng Lawa ng Laguna (MAPAGPALA) Coalition; and Ms. Rebecca Lozada and Chang Jordan, both of the PhilWomen on ASEAN.—UP Institute of Human Rights