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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: September 2011

7 - Sustaining AICHR's substantive empowerment: implementation, integration, and international law


In the six preceding chapters, we traced the development of the international human rights discourse, uncovered the roots of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states' suspicions of the global human rights enterprise as an impingement upon their closely guarded sovereignty, and finally witnessed how the gradual interaction between human rights and ASEAN brought about the eventual establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Acknowledging that although AICHR in its initial phase of its mandate has not been able to promote and protect human rights of an international standard as it is supposed to, one believes that AICHR's establishment was not a mere window-dressing exercise for ASEAN. ASEAN wants to transform into a credible regional organisation that abides by the rule of law and upholds the norms of the international legal order, and that includes human rights. Moreover, while human rights progress can be obstructed and delayed, it cannot be averted or deflected. Once set in motion, societal and political change will occur in ASEAN societies so as to procure, in due course, a bettering of human rights standards. This would come about through governmental and grassroots transformation through the passage of time.

Therefore, to keep ASEAN's institutionalisation of human rights throughout the region on track, there are three core principles that AICHR, in the execution of its duties, must bear in mind.

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