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FOCUS September 2009 Volume 57

Human Rights Events in the Asia-Pacific

The 14th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) on Human Rights[1] discussed a number of issues including human rights and corruption, human rights and religion, and human rights defenders. On the issue of human rights and corruption, the APF members "committed to undertake practical measures to combat corruption using a human rights based approach and to promote awareness of the close linkages between corruption and human rights and the harmful effects of corruption on the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights." On the issue of human rights, religion and belief, the APF members considered the "need for inter and intra faith dialogue [at national, regional and international levels] to promote mutual understanding and the protection and promotion of human rights and the value of using a human rights approach to balance potentially competing rights."[2] The Jordan National Centre for Human Rights hosted the meeting with the co-sponsorship by the APF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.[3]

NGO Parallel Conference

A parallel "Arab and Asia-Pacific NGO Workshop on the Role of National Human Rights Institutions in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights" was held on 2 August 2009 in Amman. The workshop discussed the basic roles and functions of national human rights institutions based on the Paris Principles, the challenges facing human rights defenders in the Arab & Asia-Pacific, and the establishment of NHRIs in the Arab & Asian regions. The NGO representatives also discussed the human rights situation in Iran, and Taiwan, and advocacy at the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. The workshop had forty-four participants from various countries. The Amman Center for Human Rights Studies in cooperation with Forum Asia, the International Women's Rights Watch-Asia Pacific, the International Services for Human Rights and The Foundation For the Future organized the workshop. [4]

Photo contest on CEDAW

The Asia Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, co-chaired by UNESCAP and UNIFEM, is holding a photo contest to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The photos should depict any of the following:

- Women participating in decision-making processes, such as women exercising their right to vote and the right to be elected, taking part in peace negotiations and post -conflict reconstruction processes, holding leadership positions in the government, civil society, community, private sector

- Women participating in post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives

- Women and girls enjoying the same opportunities for education as men and boys

- Women enjoying the same employment opportunities and labor rights as men, and working in sectors that are traditionally dominated by men

- Women having equal access to health care services

- Women and men participating equally in household duties, such as taking care of children or the elderly

- Rural women, indigenous women, HIV positive women, migrant women, refugee women and other often excluded groups of women enjoying these rights.

Seven photos will be chosen as winners and exhibited on 25 November 2009 at the opening of the exhibition "Women CAN: Women's Rights are Human Rights" to be held in Bangkok, and featured on the websites of the UN agencies involved in organizing the contest. Entries should be submitted on 15 October 2009 at the latest. For more information please visit:


1.The APF has the national human rights institutions (NHRIs) of Jordan, Afghanistan, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste as members.

2.14th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum, Concluding Statement.

3.Asia Pacific Forum website, http:// jordan-2009/?searchterm=Amman%20meeting

4. Based on report in the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS) website: php? option=com_content&task=view&id=165&Itemid=59