- Who we are
- What we do
- Our Focus
- Contact Us
Jakarta, 17 April 2014 — From the 8th to the 10th of April, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and Cambodia’s Royal Academy of Judicial Professions hosted the International Symposium on Judicial Integrity and Training in Phnom Penh. The two-day seminar was attended by representatives from judicial training institutions across ASEAN and is a continuation of a symposium on judicial training held in Taipei in 2013.
During the event, HRRC’s Deputy Director, Michelle Staggs Kelsall, presented the main findings of the Centre’s most recent study, Judicial Training in ASEAN: A Comparative Overview of Systems and Programs.
The study, which will be made publicly available later this month, provides an overview of judicial training mechanisms in ASEAN, including the structure and institutionalisation of judicial training. It also looks at how the institutions consider and incorporate issues relating to the ASEAN integration in the national judicial training curriculum. The study’s overarching goal is to consider the synergies and differences within judicial training systems so as to help lay the groundwork for future collaborations.
The study noted the evolving nature of cooperation among judicial training institutions, with Singapore and Thailand having initiated programs that would increase cooperation in the region over the course of the next years. Issues pertaining to ASEAN are largely still considered as the purview of the executive and legislative branches of government in that they are the ones charged with laying out and implementing policies, rather than the judiciary, whose role is to interpret laws. Hence to date, there has been limited consideration of ASEAN-specific questions in judicial training programs.
The study nevertheless emphasises that judicial training institutions have much to contribute to the process of ASEAN integration, and there remains much untapped potential for greater cooperation.
Jakarta, 16 April 2014 — Shift and Mazars, together with the HRRC, recapitulates in a ‘Take-Aways’ from RAFI Consultations in 2013 the key messages that the RAFI Project Team drew from the expert multi-stakeholder consultations it held in Jakarta, London and New York in October and November 2013, as well as the project workshops in Medellín and Bangkok, and the CSO meeting in Jakarta. The summaries of these consultations are available on RAFI’s web portal.
Through these meetings, the Project Team consulted with over 150 individuals from business, civil society, governments as well as legal, assurance, academic and other expert backgrounds, in addition to a wide range of bilateral consultations with individuals and organizations since June 2013.
The consultations informed the Project Team that there is value in reporting on processes to prevent and mitigate potential human rights impacts, as well as on actual impacts that have occurred and why, together with how they have been handled and remedied. Valuable insights had been gained in regards defining appropriate parameters for reporting. It was concluded that the frameworks should not be overly complex and that companies’ reports cannot be a panacea with regard to assessing companies’ human rights performance. A reporting framework should aim to elicit valuable, foundational information about a company’s performance. It should be a tool to improve the quality of those engagements, rather than trying to provide all the information that would result from those engagements.
Views varied widely in regards the merits of an assurance framework accompanying a reporting framework. A few stakeholders thought the assurance framework should be dropped; some felt it is an important addition, but could come second. Many in ASEAN would like to see the two frameworks developed in parallel. Overall, the idea that development of the reporting framework should start ahead of the assurance framework seemed acceptable to most. The Project Team realises that the provision of assurance in the field of human rights is particularly challenging. It cannot be meaningful if it is a tick-box exercise or a very short-term, 1-2 day engagement. It needs to extend beyond verification of the accuracy of what is reported to look also at its sufficiency and at the effectiveness of processes described.
The specific next steps envisaged are set out in a separate note, February 2014: Next Steps For The Project, Based On Consultations To Date. Moving forward, the project team intends to conduct a range of desk-based and interview-based research to help inform the drafting of the reporting framework. It will also produce public documents that would serve as basis for stakeholder consultations in April to June 2014. The project’s development in the months ahead will remain grounded in broad and deep consultations across different geographical areas, encompassing all stakeholder groups.
Jakarta, 14 April 2014 — On 25 March 2014, JSL Stainless Limited held a consultation meeting on the Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative in New Delhi. The consultation was organized in collaboration with the Centre for Responsible Business and was attended predominantly by participants from the business sector, but with a number also from investment, civil society and government backgrounds. A full copy of the meeting summary can be downloaded here.
Jakarta, 15 February 2014 — What are the main historical origins of international criminal law as a discipline of international law? The Human Rights Resource Centre, having formed an important partnership with the Centre for International Law Research and Policy to help those in the region to understand the history of war crimes prosecution, is proud to disseminate information on two conferences entitled “The Historical Origins of International Criminal Law.” Scheduled to be held in Hong Kong on 1-2 March and New Delhi on 29-30 November 2014, the conferences will explore the doctrinal, institutional, and societal foundations of international criminal law as a discipline of public international law.
The Hong Kong conference examines historical trials and events up to the post-World War II period. The New Delhi conference follows up by studying later trials and their contributions to international criminal law, the origins and development of core international crimes, and the evolution of different institutions created to address these crimes.
The conferences are organized by the Centre for International Law Research and Policy, the European University Institute (Department of Law), and Peking University International Law Institute. City University of Hong Kong acts as co-organizer of the first conference, while Waseda University Law School is co-organizer of the second conference.
Jakarta, 5 February 2014 — The Human Rights Resource Centre today announced its plans to conduct the first study by a group of ASEAN-wide researchers on freedom of thought, conscience and religion (FOTCR) following the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).
Encouraged by Article 22 of the AHRD, whereby ASEAN governments committed to eliminate “all forms of intolerance, discrimination and incitement of hatred based on religious beliefs,” the study will provide legal analysis on the extent to which FOTCR is guaranteed in ASEAN’s 10 member states. Trends in responding to religious intolerance will also be considered. The study builds on the work of the Indonesian Human Rights Working Group to raise the profile of the issue.
“ASEAN’s commitment to eliminating religious intolerance is commendable,” said the HRRC’s Executive Director, Marzuki Darusman. “The study will seek to provide policymakers with much-needed analysis on both the extent to which legislative protections of freedom of religion exist, and how such protections contribute positively to regional integration and to international peace and security.” It is worth recalling that in 2012, during the opening of the 8th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council Meeting, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had stressed the benefits of conducting such a study.
ASEAN has embarked on an impressive program of efforts to achieve regional integration, including committing under its Political-Security Community Blueprint to “cooperation in political development with shared responsibility for comprehensive security.” Under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, regional arrangements, including ASEAN, have a duty to make every effort to achieve the pacific settlement of local disputes. Recent debates at the Security Council suggest that this obligation may be extended to include a much broader range of cooperative efforts than historically envisaged, including preventive measures and conflict mediation in non-international armed conflicts. In this regard, the role of Malaysia in facilitating the recently concluded 17-year negotiations between the government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front can serve as inspiration.
“We are seeking to look both at analysis of the existing situation as well as any best practices or lessons learned from the region,” said Michelle Staggs Kelsall, the Centre’s Deputy Director. “The Study is therefore both retrospective and prospective. We hope that it will open up avenues for constructive discussions on the way forward in ASEAN to secure protections for all persons, regardless of their beliefs.”
Professor Tore Lindholm, Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and Board Member of the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, has agreed to be one of four expert advisers to the study. “This is an important study, and one which highlights the importance of guaranteeing freedom of religion, thought and conscience in a region with a wide variety of beliefs, particularly bearing in mind the goals of integration,” Professor Lindholm stated.
Researchers for the study have been recruited from 8 out of 10 ASEAN countries, with all 10 countries being considered. Additionally, the HRRC will endeavor to engage in consultations with representatives from the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights, ASEAN governments and the ASEAN Secretariat, as well as civil society and religious groups, throughout the drafting process.
Results from the study will be released in the latter half of 2014. Funding for the study comes from the Embassy of Norway in Jakarta.