|The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its second Special Meeting via video conference from November 23 to 25. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened its second Special Meeting via video conference from Monday to Wednesday, the last official meeting chaired by Việt Nam in its capacity as AICHR Chair 2020.
The meeting brought together representatives of the AICHR from ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat to review co-operation between stakeholders and results in 2020, while also discussing plans for 2021 and preparations for a meeting between the AICHIR and partners.
The meeting reviewed eight concept papers on activities being implemented in 2019-2021, 19 priority activities for 2014-20, and seven AICHR regional studies. Member states greatly appreciated the AICHR’s efforts during COVID-19 to maintain co-operation and implement priorities to further promote and protect human rights in the region and respond to the impacts of the pandemic.
Representatives discussed and agreed on the content of the Guidelines on the AICHR’s External Relations, which is fundamental to fostering consultation and co-operation between the commission and its partners and guarantees the principles of consensus and ASEAN’s centrality in such matters.
In her remarks as Chair of AICHR 2020, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyễn Thái Yên Hương underscored the importance of the implementation of agendas and co-operation on the promotion and protection of human rights within ASEAN.
She welcomed active co-ordination between member states in drafting and adopting the AICHR Five Year Work Plan 2021-2025, AICHR Priority Programmes and Activities 2021, and Guidelines on the AICHR’s External Relations.
Việt Nam, as Chair of AICHR and ASEAN this year, has worked with other member states to strengthen the region’s cohesiveness and responsiveness to the impact of COVID-19 and accelerate the progress of the AICHR’s regional co-operation in human rights, Huong said.
Representatives from ASEAN member states also spoke highly of Việt Nam’s role as ASEAN Chair 2020 in leading the AICHR during a time of hardship. They pledged to step up the AICHR’s work with regional and international human rights mechanisms.
They highlighted the relevance of this year’s ASEAN Chairmanship theme 'Cohesive and Responsive', which was dedicated to maintaining the grouping’s solidarity, unity, and partnership and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 in the areas of the economy, and social welfare and human rights.
On the sidelines of the meeting, the AICHR held online meetings with representatives from the UN, the EU, Switzerland, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to exchange experience in issues of mutual interest, such as humanitarian assistance, the promotion of gender equality, the protection of the rights of women, children, migrant workers and vulnerable groups, and the incorporation of human rights and the environment, particularly in disasters and pandemics.
The meeting saw Việt Nam hand over the AICHR Chairmanship to Brunei for 2021. — VNS