The ASEAN Charter was adopted in 2007, and in 2009, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was established. Member States have promised to be governed by rules, to strengthen democracy, to respect fundamental freedoms, and to uphold human rights. But how often have ASEAN Member States used the principles, standards and language of human rights to protect human rights in the region? Or does “human rights diplomacy” really matter in ASEAN if the same goals are achieved through other means?
In March 2019, I presented a lecture on these issues, titled “Human Rights Diplomacy for Human Rights Protection in ASEAN: An Illusion?” This was a part of the CSIS Lecture Series on Regional Dynamics and was held at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia.