ASEAN Human Rights Declaration

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ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATIONWE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(hereinafter referred to as “ASEAN”), namely Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, theRepublic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union ofMyanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and theSocialist Republic of Viet Nam, on the occasion of the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.REAFFIRMING our adherence to the purposes and principles of ASEAN as enshrined in the ASEANCharter, in particular the respect for and promotion and protection of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms, as well as the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance;REAFFIRMING FURTHER our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charterof the United Nations, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and other international humanrights instruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties;REAFFIRMING ALSO the importance of ASEAN’s efforts in promoting human rights, including theDeclaration of the Advancement of Women in the ASEAN Region and the Declaration on the Eliminationof Violence against Women in the ASEAN Region;CONVINCED that this Declaration will help establish a framework for human rights cooperation in theregion and contribute to the ASEAN community building process;HEREBY DECLARE AS FOLLOWS:GENERAL PRINCIPLES1. All persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscienceand should act towards one another in a spirit of humanity.2. Every person is entitled to the rights and freedoms set forth herein, without distinction of any kind, suchas race, gender, age, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economicstatus, birth, disability or other status.3. Every person has the right of recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Every person is equalbefore the law. Every person is entitled without discrimination to equal protection of the law.4. The rights of women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, and vulnerableand marginalised groups are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms.ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION…1 of 612/14/12 3:48 PM

5. Every person has the right to an effective and enforceable remedy, to be determined by a court or othercompetent authorities, for acts violating the rights granted to that person by the constitution or by law.6. The enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms must be balanced with the performance ofcorresponding duties as every person has responsibilities to all other individuals, the community and thesociety where one lives. It is ultimately the primary responsibility of all ASEAN Member States topromote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.7. All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. All human rights andfundamental freedoms in this Declaration must be treated in a fair and equal manner, on the same footingand with the same emphasis. At the same time, the realisation of human rights must be considered in theregional and national context bearing in mind different political, economic, legal, social, cultural,historical and religious backgrounds.8. The human rights and fundamental freedoms of every person shall be exercised with due regard to thehuman rights and fundamental freedoms of others. The exercise of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose ofsecuring due recognition for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others, and to meet the justrequirements of national security, public order, public health, public safety, public morality, as well as thegeneral welfare of the peoples in a democratic society.9. In the realisation of the human rights and freedoms contained in this Declaration, the principles ofimpartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, non-discrimination, non-confrontation and avoidance of doublestandards and politicisation, should always be upheld. The process of such realisation shall take intoaccount peoples’ participation, inclusivity and the need for accountability.CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS10. ASEAN Member States affirm all the civil and political rights in the Universal Declaration of HumanRights. Specifically, ASEAN Member States affirm the following rights and fundamental freedoms:11. Every person has an inherent right to life which shall be protected by law. No person shall be deprivedof life save in accordance with law.12. Every person has the right to personal liberty and security. No person shall be subject to arbitraryarrest, search, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty.13. No person shall be held in servitude or slavery in any of its forms, or be subject to human smugglingor trafficking in persons, including for the purpose of trafficking in human organs.14. No person shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.15. Every person has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.Every person has the right to leave any country including his or her own, and to return to his or hercountry.16. Every person has the right to seek and receive asylum in another State in accordance with the laws ofsuch State and applicable international agreements.ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION…2 of 612/14/12 3:48 PM

17. Every person has the right to own, use, dispose of and give that person’s lawfully acquired possessionsalone or in association with others. No person shall be arbitrarily deprived of such property.18. Every person has the right to a nationality as prescribed by law. No person shall be arbitrarily deprivedof such nationality nor denied the right to change that nationality.19. The family as the natural and fundamental unit of society is entitled to protection by society and eachASEAN Member State. Men and women of full age have the right to marry on the basis of their free andfull consent, to found a family and to dissolve a marriage, as prescribed by law.20. (1) Every person charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guiltyaccording to law in a fair and public trial, by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal, at which the accused is guaranteed the right to defence. (2) No person shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which didnot constitute a criminal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committedand no person shall suffer greater punishment for an offence than was prescribed by law at the time it wascommitted.(3) No person shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he or she has alreadybeen finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each ASEANMember State. 21. Every person has the right to be free from arbitrary interference with his or her privacy, family, homeor correspondence including personal data, or to attacks upon that person’s honour and reputation. Everyperson has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.22. Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. All forms of intolerance,discrimination and incitement of hatred based on religion and beliefs shall be eliminated.23. Every person has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to hold opinionswithout interference and to seek, receive and impart information, whether orally, in writing or through anyother medium of that person’s choice.24. Every person has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.25. (1) Every person who is a citizen of his or her country has the right to participate in the government ofhis or her country, either directly or indirectly through democratically elected representatives, inaccordance with national law.(2) Every citizen has the right to vote in periodic and genuine elections, which should be by universal andequal suffrage and by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors, inaccordance with national law.ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS26. ASEAN Member States affirm all the economic, social and cultural rights in the Universal Declarationof Human Rights. Specifically, ASEAN Member States affirm the following:ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION…3 of 612/14/12 3:48 PM

27. (1) Every person has the right to work, to the free choice of employment, to enjoy just, decent andfavourable conditions of work and to have access to assistance schemes for the unemployed.(2) Every person has the right to form trade unions and join the trade union of his or her choice for theprotection of his or her interests, in accordance with national laws and regulations.(3) No child or any young person shall be subjected to economic and social exploitation. Those whoemploy children and young people in work harmful to their morals or health, dangerous to life, or likely tohamper their normal development, including their education should be punished by law. ASEAN MemberStates should also set age limits below which the paid employment of child labour should be prohibitedand punished by law.28. Every person has the right to an adequate standard of living for himself or herself and his or her familyincluding:a. The right to adequate and affordable food, freedom from hunger and access to safe and nutritious food;b. The right to clothing;c. The right to adequate and affordable housing;d. The right to medical care and necessary social services;e. The right to safe drinking water and sanitation;f. The right to a safe, clean and sustainable environment.29. (1) Every person has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical, mentaland reproductive health, to basic and affordable health-care services, and to have access to medicalfacilities.(2) The ASEAN Member States shall create a positive environment in overcoming stigma, silence, denialand discrimination in the prevention, treatment, care and support of people suffering from communicablediseases, including HIV/AIDS.30. (1) Every person shall have the right to social security, including social insurance where available,which assists him or her to secure the means for a dignified and decent existence.(2) Special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period as determined by nationallaws and regulations before and after childbirth. During such period, working mothers should be accordedpaid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits.(3) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. Every child, whether born in orout of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.31. (1) Every person has the right to education.(2) Primary education shall be compulsory and made available free to all. Secondary education in itsdifferent forms shall be available and accessible to all through every appropriate means. Technical andvocational education shall be made generally available. Higher education shall be equally accessible to allon the basis of merit.(3) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of his orher dignity. Education shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in ASEANMember States. Furthermore, education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in theirASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION…4 of 612/14/12 3:48 PM

respective societies, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial andreligious groups, and enhance the activities of ASEAN for the maintenance of peace.32. Every person has the right, individually or in association with others, to freely take part in cultural life,to enjoy the arts and the benefits of scientific progress and its applications and to benefit from theprotection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or appropriate artisticproduction of which one is the author.33. ASEAN Member States should take steps, individually and through regional and internationalassistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources,with a view to achieving progressively the full realisation of economic, social and cultural rightsrecognised in this Declaration.34. ASEAN Member States may determine the extent to which they would guarantee the economic andsocial rights found in this Declaration to non-nationals, with due regard to human rights and theorganisation and resources of their respective national economies.RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT35. The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and thepeoples of ASEAN are entitled to participate in, contribute to, enjoy and benefit equitably and sustainablyfrom economic, social, cultural and political development. The right to development should be fulfilled soas to meet equitably the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations. Whiledevelopment facilitates and is necessary for the enjoyment of all human rights, the lack of developmentmay not be invoked to justify the violations of internationally recognised human rights.36. ASEAN Member States should adopt meaningful people-oriented and gender responsive developmentprogrammes aimed at poverty alleviation, the creation of conditions including the protection andsustainability of the environment for the peoples of ASEAN to enjoy all human rights recognised in thisDeclaration on an equitable basis, and the progressive narrowing of the development gap within ASEAN.37. ASEAN Member States recognise that the implementation of the right to development requireseffective development policies at the national level as well as equitable economic relations, internationalcooperation and a favourable international economic environment. ASEAN Member States shouldmainstream the multidimensional aspects of the right to development into the relevant areas of ASEANcommunity building and beyond, and shall work with the international community to promote equitableand sustainable development, fair trade practices and effective international cooperation.RIGHT TO PEACE38. Every person and the peoples of ASEAN have the right to enjoy peace within an ASEAN frameworkof security and stability, neutrality and freedom, such that the rights set forth in this Declaration can befully realised. To this end, ASEAN Member States should continue to enhance friendship and cooperationin the furtherance of peace, harmony and stability in the region.COOPERATION IN THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS39. ASEAN Member States share a common interest in and commitment to the promotion and protectionASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION…5 of 612/14/12 3:48 PM

of human rights and fundamental freedoms which shall be achieved through, inter alia, cooperation withone another as well as with relevant national, regional and international institutions/organisations, inaccordance with the ASEAN Charter.40. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right toperform any act aimed at undermining the purposes and principles of ASEAN, or at the destruction of anyof the rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in this Declaration and international human rightsinstruments to which ASEAN Member States are parties.Adopted by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, thisEighteenth Day of November in the Year Two Thousand and Twelve, in one single original copy in theEnglish Language.ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION…6 of 612/14/12 3:48 PM