Jakarta, 27 October 2022 (TDI): European Union (EU) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) held their fourth Policy Dialogue on Human Rights. The dialogue took place in ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia from 24-26 October 2022.

Representative of Indonesia to ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), Yuyun Wahyuningrum, and Representative of Cambodia to AICHR, Chin Malin, co-chaired the dialogue along with EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore.

The dialogue also engaged National Human Rights Institutes (NHRI) from ASEAN and EU to share the best ways to achieve and ensure justice and other human rights cooperation between national and regional mechanisms.

Other than that, representatives of civil society, youth, and academia from the EU and ASEAN participated in the 2nd EU ASEAN Civil Society Forum held before the high-level policy dialogue between both regional blocks.

South East Asian Countries and European countries reaffirmed their commitment to protect and promote fundamental human rights and freedom at the 4th Policy Dialogue on Human Rights.

Representatives from both blocs discussed opportunities and challenges in human rights. Representatives from ASEAN and EU exchanged views to take concrete steps towards strengthening cooperation in the human rights domain.

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Discussion on Human Rights issues

The dialogue covered a broad range of human rights issues including the protection of children’s rights, rights of migrant and trafficking persons, and freedom of expression and opinions.

Besides that, they discussed freedom of religion and belief, the rights of disabled persons, women’s rights, gender equality, and social inclusion.

Moreover, they also exchanged views on climate change and environmental issues, as well as the protection of human rights while eradicating violent extremism.

According to a statement released by the EU, it says along with recognizing many contemporary challenges to human rights, it also gave an opportunity to take milestone steps towards progress, especially in the area of Business & Human Rights in ASEAN.

Both the parties discussed worldwide crises and human rights situations namely in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Myanmar in meetings for which the EU raised particular concerns.

Both Multilateral organizations stressed that multilateral and regional cooperation is very essential to overcome the global challenges of human rights.

Moreover, they emphasized underpinned principles of the UN charter, ASEAN Charter, ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, & Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the AHRD, EU treaties, & international human rights law for the adoption of human rights.

ASEAN and EU identified concrete steps to advance and promote human rights in current dominant and for future strategic partnerships.

Lastly, both parties in the meeting formalized the planned cooperation in early 2023 to further strengthen the capacity of AICHR and explore collaboration in the different areas of human rights, which are identified as regional priorities by South East Asian Nations.