UP IHR SPREAHEADS CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISM OF THE ASEAN.

October 16, 2015

ihrOn October 16, 2015, the Institute of Human Rights of the UP Law Center, together with the UP Diliman Department of Political Science and the Swansea University, held the conference entitled Beyond Cultural Relativism: The Evolving Human Rights Mechanism of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Context. The event was held in the Ambion Room of the University of the Philippines College of Law.

Prof. Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, Director of the Institute of Human Rights of the UP Law Center, opened the one-day event and welcomed the attendees and speakers. In her Remarks, Prof Pangalangan underscored the importance of the collaboration between UP Diliman  and Swansea University which has enabled academics from both institutions to engage in significant discourse on the progress of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on HR (AICCHR). She encouraged students to  familiarize themselves with ASEAN as it develops its own modality of regional cooperation on human rights.

Mr. Rafendi Djamin, the Representative of Indonesia and Former Chair of the AICHR, then gave his talk on the latest achievements of the AICHR, particularly with regard to developments with the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. He also discussed the challenges they were yet to resolve in order to develop Human Rights Mechanisms in ASEAN which involved the implementation and mainstreaming of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Mr. Jamie Stacey who is on his final year in his PhD Program at the Department of Political and Cultural Studies of the Swansea University then presented his research thesis entitled ‘Community, Whose Community? Contesting Human Rights and the ASEAN Community through ASEAN and EU Narratives’, which examined Human Rights and the ASEAN by looking at normative differences between EU and ASEAN and the narrative differences in EU’s Guardianship and ASEAN’s Exceptionalism.

The afternoon session began with Prof. Jorge V. Tigno, Head of the Department of Political Science of the University of the Philippines – Diliman, and his talk on a Rights-Based Framework for Migrant Workers in ASEAN which framed the issue of a Regional Human Rights Framework for ASEAN against the specific vulnerabilities of migrant workers. Dr. Simon Hoffman from the College of Law of the Swansea University then discussed Children’s Human Rights in ASEAN States, which focused on the Committee’s approach in ensuring that rights of children are not only recognized but protected as well. Dr. Gerard Clarke from the Department of Political Science and Cultural Studies of the Swansea University then discussed ‘The Human Rights Cold War, The Case of Southeast Asia’ where he looked at the effects of cultural relativism in Southeast Asia’s dissent from universal human rights and how this dispute between cultural relativism and universalism is primarily a political and not a cultural dispute.

Before the conference ended, an open forum was held where attendees were able to direct their questions to the speakers.