Asia Centre will be holding an International Conference on National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Southeast Asia in July 2017. The Conference will include an august gathering of researchers working on human rights in Southeast Asia, including policy-makers, academics, civil society representatives, researchers, activists and lawyers.
Representing the lawyers’ panel, I will be presenting a paper on the role of lawyers and any challenges they face in working with NHRIs – in jurisdictions where NHRIs do not exist, the difficulties in advancing human rights are further compounded. The abstract of my talk is provided below:
” Lawyers are at the front lines, protecting human rights and seeking redress and remedies for victims of violations in every society. How do they contribute to and advance the protection work of human rights institutions (NHRIs), which face many obstacles in Southeast Asia? This lawyers’ panel seeks to discuss the role of lawyers in countries with and without NHRIs. In counties with NHRIs, lawyers work to file complaints with the Commissions or file cases directly with the Courts. In countries with no NHRIs, the challenge for lawyers is even greater as they have to take up issues with Courts that often conflict with state policies and the protection of fundamental human rights issues. In doing so they invoke not only national law but universal standards. The aim of this panel is to investigate the various avenues – normative, statutory, jurisprudential, and procedural – through which the legal profession seeks to buttress human rights systems and Southeast Asian NHRIs in particular. It will draw on best practices from the region and beyond to make recommendations for jurisdictions with and without human rights mechanisms. ”
I am very interested in gathering contributions from lawyers who practice human rights law in countries with or without NHRIs. I hope to share the views and experiences of as many lawyers as possible. What have you done to help safeguard universally protected human rights in your country? How did you do it? Which methods worked best and which did not? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be part of this very important conversation.
The following countries in Southeast Asia currently do not have the presence of NHRIs: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and Vietnam.