EU and Asean talk human rights

Image: Asean.

The EU and Asean have held their first policy dialogue on human rights in Brussels.

“The first policy dialogue allowed for open and constructive exchanges on themes of common interest,” they said in a joint statement released after the October 19-20 event.

These included “recent human rights developments in the EU and in Asean, the rights of migrants, the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons, interaction with civil society, corporate social responsibility as well as economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development.”

The dialogue was held as part of a one-week visit to Brussels by members of various Asean groups, including its secretariat, its human rights commision and its committee on women.

It followed an agreement reached by EU and Asean ministers at a meeting in Brussels in July to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law through the exchange of information, good practices and dialogues.

“Both sides saw the merits of encouraging dialogue and exchange of experience between civil society organizations from the two regions.” The statement said.

“They exchanged documents on their respective work. The Asean delegation had an exchange of views with Members of the European Parliament and attended a seminar on ‘pan European human rights mechanisms’ hosted by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the participation of representatives from the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

“The Asean delegation also met the Brussels-based Human Rights and Democracy NGO network and engaged with European businesses on corporate social responsibility, in a round table hosted by The Shift and CSR Europe. Site visits of Belgian institutions dealing with migrants, persons with disabilities and equal opportunities completed the one-week programme.”