Permanent Mission of The Republic of Singapore - Geneva

Asean Joint Statement at the General Debate on Agenda Item 2 on the Oral Update by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michelle Bachelet, 39th Session of the Human Rights Council, 11 September 2018

Mr. President,

     I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which consists of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

     ASEAN warmly congratulates Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet on her appointment as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  We recognise her credentials and experience in promoting and protecting human rights, including in her role as the first Executive Director of UN Women.  

     The High Commissioner can count on ASEAN’s full support in carrying out her mandate as contained in General Assembly Resolution 48/141.  In particular, we hope that she will uphold the principles of impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity and engage States in an objective and collaborative manner, on the basis of genuine dialogue and cooperation.  Equal emphasis should also be accorded to civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.  We hope to have more regular formal and informal interactions between the High Commissioner and States.  This will help foster mutual trust and build a constructive and cooperative environment between the High Commissioner, the OHCHR and States. 

     We also hope that the High Commissioner and the OHCHR can provide the leadership to ensure that the Special Procedures Mandate Holders (SPMH) conduct their work in accordance with the Code of Conduct for SPMH as well as the Manual of Operations of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

     ASEAN members aspire to build a resilient people-oriented ASEAN Community.  We believe that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and that all human rights must be treated in a fair and equal manner. At the same time, the realisation of human rights must be considered in the regional and national context, bearing in mind different political, economic, legal, social, cultural, historical and religious backgrounds. [Based on para 7 of the ASEAN declaration on human rights] 

     ASEAN therefore hopes that the High Commissioner will ensure that the OHCHR enhances the delivery of technical assistance and capacity-building to better assist ASEAN and other States, upon their request, to protect and promote human rights.   The OHCHR should be more responsive to the needs and priorities of requesting States and capitalise on the mutually-reinforcing linkages between human rights and the SDGs to deliver more relevant technical assistance.

     I thank you.

.           .           .           .           .


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