During SEANF's 12th Annual Meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 29 - 30 September 2015, SUHAKAM (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) passed on to MNHRC (Myanmar National Human Rights Commission) the Chairmanship for 2016.
Furthermore, members of the SEANF participated in a half day seminar on the role of NHRIs in the promotion and protection of human rights organized by SUHAKAM. There were 108 participants from various stakeholders including government agencies, United Nations agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, and the media.
Before passing on the chairmanship, SEANF members issued its Communique ahead of the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015 recommending the consideration of several human rights issues and concerns by the ASEAN Heads of States/Governments in line with the soon-to-be adopted ASEAN Community's Post 2015 Vision.
Click the file below for full text of the Communique. The Concluding Statement of the 12th Annual Meeting may be viewed under the Proceedings section of this website.
Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon or Chito, as he prefers to be called, was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as the new Chair of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines (2015-2022).
He had most recently served as member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, the body mandated by law to administer a program of recognition and reparations to victims of the Martial Law Regime. At this office, he held a rank equivalent to Justice of the Court of Appeals. He is a political activist and social reformer who has been working on human rights, democracy, and governance concerns for over three decades.
Chito fought the Marcos dictatorship as a student leader. In the wake of the assassination of Senator Ninoy Aquino on 21 August 1983, he helped mobilize protest actions in schools demanding justice for all and radical political change. In 1985, he was elected Chair of the University of the Philippines Student Council and led the youth movement that actively participated in the Non-Violent People Power Revolution in February 1986. He organized Human Rights Awareness Fairs in campuses and was an active member of Amnesty International Philippine Section at which he served for many years as a board member. He also actively campaigned for the release of political prisoners and visited detention centers with Lingap Bilanggo. He is a member of Liberal International's Human Rights Committee and was also alternate member in the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Judicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances established under Administrative Order 35. He was in the Official Delegation for the 2012 Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva that was led by Justice Secretary and former CHRP Chair Leila De Lima.
He served as Panel Member at Peace Negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) from 2001-2004 and also served as Chair from 2010-2014 of the Government's Human Rights Monitoring Committee (GPhMC) of that peace process within the framework of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). He has also assisted in peace negotiations involving the conflict with Muslim rebels in Mindanao as a member of the Technical Working Group on Power Sharing and Alternate Panel Member in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and with the Ad Hoc High-Level Working Group for the Tripartite Review of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) together with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Peace Committee for Southern Philippines.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - As Chair of the South East Asia NHRI Forum (SEANF), the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) organized and conducted the two-day SEANF Workshop on Business and Human Rights. Said activity was held at Premiera Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 15 - 16 June 2015. The members shared their respective best practices on business and human rights especially in terms of developing national action plans.
SUHAKAM invited Dr. Claire O'Brien of the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) as consultant for the activity. She presented the experiences and best practices of European NHRIs in the formulation of their respective national action plans. With her guidance, SEANF members were able to provide recommendations as ways forward for business and human rights in the region. One of the recommendations given is the development of SEANF's guidelines on business and human rights. This shall serve as initial efforts of SEANF members in developing national action plans on business and human rights in the region.
The Regional Consultation with with the South East Asia National Human Rights Institutions Forum (SEANF) on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights was held on 14 March 2013 at the Vivatel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Consultation was co-organised by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS) and Partners of Community Organisations in Sabah (PACOS Trust).
The objective of the Consultation was to share the SEANF members’ work on indigenous peoples’ rights and to obtain feedback from indigenous peoples in the region.
The Consultation was attended by Profesor James Anaya – the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, representatives of NHRIs from Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines and various indigenous organisations as well as NGOs.
Quezon City, Philippines - The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) released through an advisory its stand on the situation in Sabah. In said advisory, the CHRP calls on the Philippine government to strengthen further its efforts in resolving the conflict in Sabah and addressing the conditions of the Filipinos in said area especially those who were displaced and forced to return to Mindanao, as provided by human rights and humanitarian laws. Moreover, the CHRP calls on its counterpart national human rights institution in Malaysia, the SUHAKAM, to continue to exercise its role as a human rights institution within its boundaries and ensure at all times the protection of human rights of all individuals - Malaysians, foreign nationals and Filipinos alike, without discrimination.
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