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    Title: Many faces and one identity? ASEAN in the search for a common role to play: the case of human rights regime.
    Authors: 黎秋
    Thu, Huong Le
    Contributors: 亞太研究英語博士學位學程
    Keywords: ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights;human rights;ASEAN Community-building;ASEAN identity;international regime;ASEAN Charter
    Date: 2010-03-09
    Issue Date: 2015-12-29 16:50:30 (UTC+8)
    Abstract: Since 40th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2007, followed by the signing of the ASEAN Charter in 2008, and most recently the 15th Summit in October 2009 with the milestone creation of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights, we observe a drastic change in the nature of the Association. This paper looks at the recent process of forming an ASEAN-identity in functional cooperation, in particular the human rights body. Much has been said on the Southeast Asian regionalism, criticism has been expressed about the weak institutionalization of the region, many scholars blame it on the lack of identity and comparisons have been made to the model of the European Union integration. This research, however, attempts to analyze the evolutionary process and the shift of cooperation tendency from the internal motivations of the members. The ASEAN Charter has given the Association itself a legal personality. Sensitive issues and the key obstacles for ASEAN effective integration were tackled in the new light. Community-building, people-oriented integration, promotion of democratic values and human rights were stated in the documents among its main objectives. This poses a challenge to the core principle of ASEAN – the non-interference. Human rights issue is new to the Southeast Asian nations both in terms of conceptualisation and legal regulation. ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) is seen as regime-forming process, interestingly reflecting the new personality of the Association. This paper assumes that ASEAN has adopted regime-building in view of creating a step-by-step community. Such regimes addressing common challenges to the region are to construct a more coherent region and to nurture shared norms and values. So is the changing personality of ASEAN an attempt to find common goals, visions and values for the common future? Does the people-oriented direction fall into the social-artefact type of regime? Is the Intergovernmental Committee on Human Rights an exercise for ASEAN to socialize norms and standards that could be shared for the entire sub-region despite grim challenges from member states, such as Myanmar? (Since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had its 40th anniversary in 2007, followed by signing the ASEAN Charter in 2008 and the most recent 15th Summit in October 2009 with milestone creation of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights, we can observe a drastic change in the nature of the Association. This paper looks at the recent process of forming an ASEAN-identity in functional cooperation and searches for a theory that is capable of explaining the current development of ASEAN. Much has been said on the Southeast Asian regionalism, criticism has been expressed about the weak institutionalization of the region, many scholars blame on the lack of identity and comparisons have been made to the model of the European Union integration. This research, however, attempts to analyze the evolution process and the shift of cooperation tendency from the internal motivations of the members. ASEAN Charter has settled “new millennium goals” and given the Association itself a legal personality. Sensitive issues and the key obstacles for ASEAN effective integration were tackled in the new light. Community-building, people-oriented integration, promotion of democratic values and human rights were stated in the recent documents among main objectives. This poses a challenge to the core principle of ASEAN – non-interference. Human rights (HR) issue is new to the Southeast Asian nations both in terms of conceptualisation as well as implementation and legal regulation. The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) is seen as regime-forming process, interestingly reflecting the new personality of the Association. The author assumes that ASEAN has adopted regime-building and functional cooperation in a view of creating step-by-step a community. Such regimes addressing common challenges to the region are to construct a more coherent region with common tasks and visions, not only declared on the official documents, but also to nurture shared norms and values. In the Preamble of the ASEAN Charter, Leaders of member states announced being “Inspired and united under One Vision, One Identity and One Caring and Sharing Community”1. Thus, the author draws a hypothesis that this is the stage of ASEAN development where the members seek and adjust the functional cooperation projects to join themselves gradually into a cohesive image of the ASEAN personality. The questions this paper needs to ask are: Is the changing personality of ASEAN an attempt to find common goals, visions and values for the common future? Does people-oriented direction fall into the social-artefact type of regime? Is the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights an exercise for ASEAN to socialize norms and standards that could be shared for the entire sub-region? This paper starts with an introduction where the scope of the issue is outlined and where major questions and assumptions are made. The first section focuses on the new rhetoric emphasizing democratic values, in the recent recommendations and official statements from ASEAN. This part contains an overview of human rights body creation and the process of pushing through the agenda despite the internal disparities. It analyzes the transformation of new ASEAN personality: the people-oriented organization, caring for human rights and calling for participatory from civil society. The second part contains theory review of international regimes, looking for a suitable theory to reflect ASEAN policy of community creation. In the third section the author searches for the explanation for ASEAN strategy towards “building synergy and coherence in ASEAN’s promotion and protection of human rights”1 and argues that the current human rights mechanism, which could be seen as major transformation in ASEAN’s personality, is aimed at finding a new vision of community. Through inclusive and multi-dimensional approach, this paper intends to take into consideration diversity of ASEAN nations to understand the different perceptions on the role of human rights regime. In the last part, prior to conclusions, the author refers to the most common criticism of the ASEAN Human Rights Body as well as the functions of regimes themselves. The final of this paper outlines the challenges for the human rights regimes and the community-building through searching to common goals and cohesive values and vision of ASEAN after 40.)
    Relation: 亞太研究英語博士學位學程學術研討會:崛起中的亞太區域:合作的機會與挑戰
    主辦單位:國立政治大學亞太研究英語博士學位學程, 國立中興大學國際政治研究所
    舉辦日期:2010.03.09
    Data Type: conference
    Appears in Collections:[2010亞太研究英語博士學位學程學術研討會] 會議論文

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