A July 22, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario today urged for “a strong framework for cooperation on human rights to ensure that the benefits of the promotion and protection of human rights are felt by all the peoples of ASEAN” and asked for Canada’s support for ASEAN in combating human trafficking, which would deepen the partnership on human rights protection, during today’s meeting between ASEAN and Canada.

Through its list of high priority programs and activities, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has opened many avenues for exploring different aspects of human rights in the ASEAN context.

Mentioning the Philippines as ASEAN’s lead shepherd on trafficking in persons (TIP) up to 2012, Secretary del Rosario added, “ASEAN has long way to go in its efforts to combat human trafficking and Canada could play a big role in this endeavor by assisting us to strengthen our collective and individual capacities to end this modern-day form of slavery.”

“The Philippines itself has placed anti-human trafficking as one of its priorities and its resolve has led to its upgrade from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2 in the State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. But this campaign requires a united response from the international community because human trafficking is a scourge that transcends national boundaries.”

Secretary del Rosario also thanked Canada for its “strong assistance in formulating the ASEAN Action Plan 2010-2015 to implement the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER).