Structural limitations within the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) pose challenges to the organization’s ability to improve human rights in the region, an official has said.

“We do not have a protection mechanism in the AICHR, so we are not able to receive complaints regarding cases of human rights violations,” Malaysian representative to the AICHR Edmund Bon told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday on the sidelines of a discussion in Jakarta.

The lack of a mechanism means the organization cannot concretely solve human rights problems, Bon added. Complaints are not even processed or acknowledged, he went on to say.

Bon said getting a complaints and communications mechanism in place would need consensus from the 10 member states. Just to issue a statement noting or condemning human rights violations could only be made after achieving consensus, he explained.

“We are a body that should help interpret the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration as to how it applies to all ASEAN member states and how the states accept what these provisions mean,” he said. (dmr), 28 September 2016