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15 August 2014, Bali—The Human Rights Resource Centre today prepares to conclude the 7th Summer Institute on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Themed “Combatting Violence Against Women & Violence Against Children in Conflict Situations and Beyond,” the Summer Institute aims to provide an opportunity for the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), academics, and human rights practitioners to come together to discuss the issue of preventing and prosecuting violence against women and violence against children.
Professor Harkristuti Harkrisnowo of the Faculty of Law of the University of Indonesia and Director-General of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights delivered the keynote address.
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.