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Jakarta, 29 September 2015—The organizers of the 2015 Summer Institute have issued a Synthesis Report on the discussions and activities at this year’s annual event. Themed “Preventing Slavery and Trafficking in Persons in the ASEAN,” the Summer Institute was held from the 11th to the 14th of August 2015 in Bali, Indonesia. It comprised a 2.5-day workshop and half day field trip in Bali, followed by a Studium Generale at Udayana University.
The Summer Institute was attended by key experts and practitioners dedicated to combatting trafficking, as well as representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW), and the ASEAN Secretariat.
The Synthesis Report captures the main points discussed during the sessions. It also contains the “Recommendations and Next Steps” produced during break-out group discussions that divided participants along the lines of the ASEAN human rights bodies to which they belong. The groups were asked to consider: (i) The next steps for AICHR/ACWC/ACMW in addressing trafficking for labour exploitation and slavery, and (ii) How other actors in ASEAN can assist the AICHR/ACWC/ACMW in carrying out these next steps.
Sharing a common vision of an ASEAN community that recognizes and respects the rights of migrants, workers and other vulnerable groups, the delegates were eager to contribute to the ongoing process to attain this vision. They agreed that solutions should address vulnerabilities and demands that perpetuate trafficking in persons, with governments complying with their duty to protect against trafficking and businesses conscientiously meeting their responsibility to respect human rights.
There are many efforts by governments, businesses, and CSOs that encourage or ensure legal, decent work. However, these measures need to be replicated and enforced in a systematic manner to ensure eradication of trafficking in persons and slavery in the region. The speakers and delegates throughout the Summer Institute all called for greater coordination across ASEAN Member States, led by the Association’s human rights bodies, in dealing with trafficking in persons. They noted that the work and recommendations of the AICHR, ACWC, and ACMW could only be fully realized if adopted and implemented by each of the national governments.
This year’s Summer Institute also saw more interchange with local actors. As at the regional level, combatting trafficking requires coordinated efforts by all stakeholders. During the field trip as well as the Studium Generale, the need for a holistic approach was emphasized, starting with the willingness of all parties to acknowledge that human trafficking exists and needs to be addressed urgently.
The Summer Institute this year was proudly hosted by the HRRC with the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice, the East West Center, and Udayana University. It was made possible with the generous support of the U.S. Government, the British Embassy in Jakarta, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
Denpasar, 13 August 2015—The third day of the Summer Institute on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights began with a panel titled “The ASEAN as Anti-Trafficking Actor: Supporting the AICHR and ACWC in fulfilling the Trafficking Convention and the ASEAN Action Plan.” His Excellency Rafendi Djamin, the AICHR Indonesian Representative and Her Excellency Datin Paduka Intan Kassim, the ACWC Chairperson, led the discussion with presentations on the roles of their respective organizations in stopping trafficking and slavery. The two speakers brought up the importance of cross-sectoral and cross-pillar collaboration within ASEAN to effectively combat trafficking. They also emphasized the necessity to build and utilize relationships with different actors—including business communities and civil societies—in the region.
Following a coffee break, His Excellency Ambassador Ong Keng Yong led a review of the proceedings and plenary discussions of the day before. Titled “How ASEAN actors can work together to prevent trafficking in persons in supply chains,” this talk fostered a sense of true community among the participants. During this panel, participants reflected on the result of yesterday’s break-out session, which focused on the roles and needs of ACWC, AICHR, and ACMW with relation to eradicating trafficking in persons in the region. Though these are different ASEAN human rights bodies, participants agreed that cooperation among agencies is necessary to build effective policy to take down trafficking and slavery. It was also agreed upon that these ASEAN agencies must make efforts to work with civil society and other organizations to increase effectiveness. This valuable and enlightening session resulted in the development of a document surmising recommendations and possible next steps that if undertaken can help ASEAN to move forward.
The program’s sessions concluded with remarks by Professor Carolina Hernandez, Governing Board Member of the HRRC. In her brief statement, she said that “we cannot continue to operate in silos,” and that she felt hope that progress would be made as conference participants had been emphasizing the desire to collaborate to make ASEAN more effective.
The Summer Institute is HRRC’s annual event and is hosted together with Udayana University this year. This year’s Institute is made possible through the generous support of USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the British Embassy in Jakarta, the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, and the East-West Center.
Denpasar, 12 August 2015. On the second day of the 8th Annual Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, open and insightful dialogues continued to engage the attending representatives of ASEAN bodies and speakers from civil society, international organizations, and business actors on preventing slavery and trafficking in persons in the region.
The day opened with a panel discussion on regional and governmental responses in ensuring safe migrant labor practices, as well as identifying and addressing the needs of trafficked persons across ASEAN. The panelists included Mr. James Nayagam, Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, H.E. Ms. Chongchith Chantharanonh, Lao PDR’s Representative on Children’s Rights to the ACWC, and Mr. Alexander Lorenzo, who acted as discussant based on his perspectives working with the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime, which is the SOMTC Philippines Secretariat. Mr. Nayagam emphasized the Human Rights Commission’s efforts to influence not only the Malaysian government, but also the wider public. Regarding regional institutions, he noted, “We can go around on cordial relationships, and we have achieved nothing,” insisting instead that ASEAN and AICHR “should have ownership and take responsibility” over the issue of trafficking in persons. H.E. Ms. Chongchith presented the ACWC’s plans for a new baseline assessment report on member states’ efforts to address the needs of trafficking victims, especially women and children. Mr. Lorenzo noted the “big challenge in cross-border control” as ASEAN integration proceeds this year, and he stressed the need for a joint rescue force, joint enforcement, and “real partnership” across ASEAN.
Following the first panel, the conference held a break-out session in two streams. The first stream discussed "lessons learned" for ASEAN based on the legal protections against preventing slavery and human trafficking from around the world, while the second stream centered on the tools and resources that private companies can utilize to ensure they address slavery and trafficking.
Two plenary sessions after lunch focused on details often left out of the dialogue on trafficking in persons. The first discussion was led with an insightful presentation from Ms. Jessie Brunner, of the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, on the normative, methodological, and technical challenges to data collection on human trafficking in ASEAN. She presented her research on the commonly used data and methodologies concerning prevalence and scale, and she noted a “gap between what’s on paper and what happens in implementation.” She encouraged ASEAN to share methodologies and encourage them to “get local.” A second plenary session dealt with the survivor’s perspective. Mr. Yunus Hussein, deputy of Indonesia’s Task Force on Preventing and Eradicating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing, presented details of the recent cases of victims in Benjina, Ambon, and other Indonesian fisheries. Mr. Syaipul Anas, from an Indonesian non-governmental organization, Migrant Care, spoke about his own experience as a victim of trafficking in Korea, and he provided important insight into the suffering and needs of victims across Indonesia and ASEAN.
In the final session of the day, the Institute held a second break-out session, with participants dividing this time into three groups focused on each of the relevant ASEAN institutions: AICHR, ACWC, and ACMW. Representatives from each of the bodies presented their work thus far and discussed cross-collaboration on the matter of trafficking in persons. Other interested participants had the opportunity to directly engage with the representatives on a host of fascinating topics.
Today’s panelists and participants all called for greater coordination across ASEAN member states, led by the regional association’s bodies. They also presented optimistic expectations for ASEAN, international organizations, national ministries, civil society, and private business to actively fight against trafficking and slavery. However, participants brought a realistic sense of institutional awareness to the debate, exemplified by Ambassador Rosario Manalo’s comments concerning bureaucratic delays that often require the intervention of political leaders. She asked, “Are we working for the benefit of the people, or is this just a show?”
This year’s Summer Institute is made possible through the generous support of USAID, the U.S. Department of State, the British Embassy in Jakarta, the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, and the East-West Center.
Kuala Lumpur, 30 July 2015—Prof. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, HRRC Acting Executive Director, was invited to the “PGA Parliamentary South-East Asia Sub-Regional Seminar on the International Rule of Law and the Protection of Civilians” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 29-30 July 2015. The event was hosted by Hon. YB Datuk Ronald Kiandee, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Malaysia. In this prestigious event, Prof. Harkristuti gave a presentation on “The ICC and Indonesia: from the Regional Respective.”
The seminar was attended by parliamentarians—PGA members from Malaysia, Indonesia and Maldives—as well as NHRIs, academia and representatives from civil society organizations.
In her presentation, Prof. Harkristuti mentioned the relevance of the Rome Statute with the purposes and principles of the ASEAN, in particular, those stated in the Preamble, Article 1 and Article 2 of ASEAN Charter. Such alignment could be seen as an additional reason for ASEAN countries to ratify the Rome Statute.
To date, only two ASEAN Member States, i.e. Cambodia and the Philippines, have ratified the Rome Statute. Asia at large is still the least represented region in the ICC membership. Indonesia promised to ratify the Statute as early as in 2004, but this has not happened until now.
Measures can be done at the national and regional levels. At the national level, collaborative efforts between the parliament, relevant ministries, NHRIs, and academia could be improved to maintain political momentum in favor of this issue. At the regional level, possible measures could include facilitating diplomatic efforts in accordance with the vision of the ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint to create a cohesive, peaceful, stable and resilient region with shared responsibility for comprehensive security.
The seminar also produced a draft Action Plan to Promote the Universality of the Rome Statute System of the ICC in the Asia-Pacific.