ASEAN should address human rights issues: ex-CHR chief


Posted at Nov 16 2017 09:10 AM | Updated as of Nov 16 2017 12:20 PM

MANILA - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations should investigate alleged human rights investigations in the region, the former head of the Philippines' human rights watchdog said Thursday.

The regional bloc, which wrapped up its annual summit in Manila this week, has not done anything to address the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and the Philippines' drug war, said former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales.

"After that they should report it and come up with a resolution. That mechanism should still be developed," Rosales told ANC.

The Philippine government has repeatedly denied allegations of abuse in its war on drugs. President Rodrigo Duterte said he was "insulted" when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised human rights.

“I said, I will not explain, it is a personal and official insult, that is why you hear me throwing down epithets and curses… because it angers me,” the President said.

“When you are a foreigner, you don’t know what exactly is happening in this country,” he said.

ASEAN has an Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) where each country has a representative.

The body, however, is not truly independent because its members are appointed by state leaders, Rosales said.

"There is no electoral mechanism that make sure they are competent and qualified as human rights leaders," said Rosales, a former Philippine representative to the AICHR.