The ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) finally gets a think tank to help it carry out its duty, with the establishment of the Human Rights Resource Center for ASEAN (HRRCA).

HRRCA chairman Marzuki Darusman said Tuesday the HRRCA was forged to conduct training and research that would support the AICHR’s work.

“We are entering a new phase of improvement and protection of human rights. We need a new system that is analytic, systematic and empiric,” he said after the launch of the HRRCA at the Shangri-La Hotel.

An NGO, the HRRCA is set up on funding, among others, from USAID, the Canadian International Development Agency and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The HRRCA’s members are partner and affiliated institutions, including the University of Indonesia, Ateneo University School of Law (Philippines), the University of Malaya (Malaysia), the Law School of the National University of Singapore and the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

“Universities that have signed a cooperation agreement [with the HRRCA] are those from Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore only,” Marzuki said. “We expect more universities from the Philippines and Thailand will follow suit.”
He said the HRRCA had begun its study on law enforcement of human rights laws in ASEAN and would announce the results in March next year.

The HRRCA, whose office is located in University of Indonesia’s campus in Depok, provides reports, studies and training related to a range of human rights issues in the region in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the rule of law, judicial independence, women and children’s issues, indigenous peoples and migrant labor rights.

The HRRCA has a governing board, whose members are Marzuki, activist Asmara Nababan and University of Indonesia scholar Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, as well as noted scholars from ASEAN countries such as Theary Seng from Cambodia, Param Cumaraswamy from Malaysia, Carolina Hernandez from the Philippines, Ong Keng Yong and Kevin Tan from Singapore and Kavi Chongkittavorn from Thailand. –Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta