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Cablegate: First Track I Discussion On Asean Human Rights Body

VZCZCXRO1190
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1182 1690954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170954Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9312
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8462
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2111
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5145
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2654
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4680
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0907
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001182

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP, DRL
BANGKOK FOR USAID/RDMA

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: ASEAN PHUM EAID PREL PGOV ID BM
SUBJECT: FIRST TRACK I DISCUSSION ON ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY

REF: JAKARTA 991

1. (SBU) The May 15-17 ASEAN Workshop on Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights (reftel) in Bali, Indonesia, was the first Track I
discussion of human rights by ASEAN member country officials.
According to various participants, it was a success in discussing
ideas and generating recommendations on the shape of an ASEAN Human
Rights Body (HRB). Participants generated recommendations that the
Government of Indonesia (represented at the workshop by Dian
Triansyah Djani, Director General for ASEAN Cooperation, Department
of Foreign Affairs) will convey as a summary document to the
10-member high-level panel that will draft the terms of reference
(TORs) for the HRB. (Note: The July 12-13 ASEAN Ministers Meeting
(AMM) in Singapore will finalize and officially introduce the panel
members. End Note.)
ASEAN member government officials, human rights experts, and ASEAN
Secretariat (ASEC) officials attended the workshop. A
representative from the Canadian Embassy in Jakarta (Canada
sponsored the event) also attended the first day sessions on May 16;
the May 17 session was closed to non-ASEAN attendees. An official
with the rank of Deputy Director represented Burma's Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

2. (SBU) ASEC officials said the workshop was successful in
generating ideas about how to structure a human rights body for
ASEAN. Initially, some member countries were apprehensive about
even generating ideas about what an ASEAN HRB would look like.
However, the participants were able to allay these concerns by
stating that the workshop was a place to generate ideas for
consideration rather than make decisions. Along with the summary
document of recommendations, the workshop participants attached as
an appendix draft TORs of an "ASEAN Human Rights Commission" that an
April 28-30 meeting in the Philippines of the ASEAN National Human
Rights Institutions Forum finalized.

3. (SBU) According to one participant, it was remarkable that
discussions reached a great level of detail about the monitoring
role of an ASEAN HRB -- including specifics about witness
protection, access to confidential government records, and the like.
Unsurprisingly, the four countries with existing national human
rights commissions (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the
Philippines) -- with representatives in attendance -- were the most
energetic and proactive participants during the workshop. Another
attendee commented that at the close of the workshop, the
chairperson noted that none of the participants had mentioned "Asian
values" even once.

4. (U) For an electronic copy of the draft TORs of the "ASEAN Human
Rights Commission", contact Machut Shishak at shishakma@state.gov or
Aryani Manring at manringae@state.gov.

HUME

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