HRRC to Update Inaugural Rule of Law Study

Jakarta, 1 March 2016—The Human Rights Resource Centre is pleased to announce that it is currently undertaking an update of its 2011 Rule of Law for Human Rights in the ASEAN Region: A Baseline Study. The forthcoming study is supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and will analyze the policy and legislative changes that have taken place in the ten ASEAN member states since 2011 and consider whether these changes support or detract from ASEAN’s vision of becoming a “rules-based” community.

In 2010, recognizing the importance of the rule of law in ASEAN, the HRRC initiated a baseline study to undertake an inventory of the rule of law in each ASEAN Member State, including how each defines and interprets the “rule of law” and its relationship with “good governance” and “human rights.” As a “baseline survey” it provided a snapshot of the state of knowledge about the rule of law at the time, based upon a range of sources including surveys on the opinions of experts and the general public, information from the police, courts and other institutions, NGO reports, and legislation. Utilizing these sources, the report provides a country-by-country analysis of the ten Member States, as well as a comparative assessment on the overall implementation of the rule of law in ASEAN.

Bearing in mind the significant milestone that ASEAN reached at the end of 2015 with the formal launch of the ASEAN Community, the time is ripe to undertake an update of the baseline study, and to conduct a second inventory of the state of the rule of law in ASEAN.

The study will firstly consider whether individual member states’ commitment to establishing and maintaining the rule of law is being upheld. This will be done by updating the 2011 report’s findings and analysis around four formal and substantive central principles in relation to human rights, namely:

  • Principle I: Whether the government, including its officials and agents, are subject to the law under the Constitution and other legislation
  • Principle II: Whether laws and procedures for arrest, detention and punishment are publicly available, lawful and not arbitrary.
  • Principle III: Whether persons have access to justice as the process by which laws are enacted and enforced is accessible, fair, efficient, and equally applied.
  • Principle IV: Whether justice is administered by a competent, impartial, and independent judiciary and justice institutions.

The update will thereafter consider what progress has been made toward establishing a rules-based community of shared values and norms and whether the process of ASEAN integration has accelerated activity toward the creation of stronger legal institutions within ASEAN Member States.

The research team is headed by Francis Tom Temprosa of the Philippines. It is anticipated that the study will be initially presented at a launch in June this year.