An effective regional or subregional human rights mechanism must satisfy several major criteria including having members who have the experience and competence in the field of human rights; mandate to promote human rights and investigate complaints of human rights violations; and sufficient resources to perform the tasks.
These criteria are also important in ensuring the independence of a regional or subregional human rights mechanism.
The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has been questioned for not being active enough in addressing human rights issues in Southeast Asia. Indeed, AICHR should have made a major impact in the subregion if it had actively intervened in a variety of ways on the human rights issues plaguing ASEAN member-states.
AICHR is a body consisting of government-appointed “Representatives” and has no mandate to hold accountable an ASEAN member-state for human rights violations.
Yet, AICHR has the “Mandate and Functions” to assert its important role in the subregion. It has the capacity to influence governments to address the human rights issues existing in the different countries. It has the capacity to mobilize existing resources, including the non-governmental institutions, in pursuing its objectives.
There is more to expect from AICHR.