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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.
Jakarta, 20 January 2014 — As ASEAN moves forward to become a community integrated in the economic, political-security, and socio-cultural spheres by 2015, the judiciaries of the ten member states will face new challenges that a single regional community will bring. Strengthening the capacities of ASEAN judiciaries will be a requirement for stable transitions throughout the region.
Recognizing the need for cross-border collaboration on judicial training within ASEAN, the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (KAS) will organize a regional meeting of representatives from ASEAN judicial training institutions in Phnom Penh, tentatively scheduled for March 2014. In preparation of this meeting, the HRRC, in collaboration with the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI) and the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice (Handa Center), will conduct a brief study that will provide an overview of judicial training in the ten ASEAN member states.
This project builds on the initial findings of the 2011 Rule of Law for Human Rights in the ASEAN Region: A Baseline Study. In order for ASEAN governments to fully implement their obligations under the ASEAN Charter to the rule of law and good governance, the 2011 baseline study recommended that member states “develop and implement judicial training programs for judges from across the region so as to strengthen judiciary systems.”
The newly commenced study, Judicial Training in ASEAN: A Comparative Overview of Systems and Programs in Place, will not only assist with providing useful baseline information for the planned conference, but will also assist ASEAN judicial training institutions and other interested stakeholders in promoting cross-border collaboration on judicial training across ASEAN.
Jakarta/New York, 15 January 2014 — The Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI) held expert multi-stakeholder consultations in London, New York and Jakarta in October and November 2013. The consultations addressed some of the key overarching challenges and opportunities for RAFI, a project that aims to develop a twin set of public frameworks for companies to report on how they meet their responsibility to respect human rights, and to have this report assured by an external party.
A cross-section of individuals participated in each consultation, from companies, trade unions, non-governmental organizations, government, audit and assurance providers, investors, and academia. All participants took part in their personal capacities and not on behalf of their organizations. The consultation was held under the Chatham House Rule in order to stimulate open and frank conversation.
The reports of each of the three consultations are published below. They are intended to capture key issues and themes raised in the course of each meeting, as a basis for continuing public discussion. They do not seek to draw conclusions. The project team is reviewing the various points of convergence and divergence that arose in the consultations and conducting some additional research and analysis based on a number of issues and suggestions raised. It will publish some suggested next steps for RAFI in the coming weeks, as a basis for further discussion with stakeholders.
Geneva, 3 December 2013 — As part of the UN Forum on Business & Human Rights chaired by Pak Makarim Wibisono in Geneva this week, the HRRC’s Michelle Staggs Kelsall joined a panel of distinguished experts to participate in the American Bar Association’s roundtable, inviting both regional and global perspectives on mobilizing lawyers to advance the Business & Human Rights framework. She was joined by Mark Ellis of the International Bar Association, Julie Vallat, President of the Business & Human Rights Commission of the Union Internationale des Avocats, John Sherman of SHIFT, and Joseph Kibugu of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, amongst others, in the discussion.
Staggs Kelsall highlighted the fact that lawyers and legal academics in ASEAN remain amongst the key players attempting to bring about a paradigm shift in the conduct of business.
She further noted that the ongoing challenge for civil society lawyers was to communicate the central message of the UN Guiding Principles in a manner that turns business’ risk-aversion into concrete action; that moves civil society’s calls from the mode of naming and blaming, to knowing and showing; and that provides for actual remedies for victims of abuses, wherever and whenever they occur.
For a copy of her full statement click here.