KUALA LUMPUR – ASEAN’s human rights body said it will be able to tackle the thorny issue of human trafficking in the region without upsetting any of its member countries.

Chairman of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the body viewed the problem from the perspective of the victims whose human rights were violated by the traffickers.

“In this way we can discuss human traffic­king issues without any country feeling victimised,” he told the media after a meeting between AICHR and ASEAN foreign ministers yesterday.

The AICHR was set up in 2009 by ASEAN with the overall responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights in the grouping.

The meeting, the fourth between the region’s top diplomats and AICHR, was held at the sideline of the ongoing 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

Shafee said the issue of human trafficking was raised by Malaysia, Thailand and Indo­nesia during the meeting.

These countries are facing human traffic­king which originated from another country, but this approach will allow the issues to be discussed openly.

Shafee said the Commission had conducted studies on human trafficking in ASEAN.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, meanwhile, said the protection and promotion of human rights would be a key focus in the ASEAN Community’s post-2015 vision.

In his remarks to the media after the AICHR meeting, Anifah said Malaysia wanted ASEAN to continue to have frank discussions and a positive relationship with AICHR.

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