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“The World is Outraged”: Legitimacy in the Making of the ASEAN Human Rights Body

Asia-Pacific

“The World is Outraged”: Legitimacy in the Making of the ASEAN Human Rights Body

Why did ASEAN create a regional human rights body? The 2008 ASEAN Charter includes the “promotion and protection” of human rights among ASEAN’s Principles and Purposes. It also declared that ASEAN would establish a human rights body. This raises an empirical puzzle given the prevailing ASEAN norm of “non-interference in the internal affairs of one another”, which traditionally has meant that human rights records are excluded as a criterion of membership of ASEAN, and as a topic for (official) dialogue. Member states have refrained from publicly criticizing one another in regard to human rights. This article argues that regional norms are shaped by competing perceptions of legitimacy. Members’ interpretations of the legitimacy of ASEAN and its norms as perceived by those outside the region – “external regional legitimacy” – were crucial in shaping the decision to establish a regional human rights body.

This article makes the case that more attention should be paid to legitimacy in the study of regional norms.

Why did ASEAN create a regional human rights body? The 2008 ASEAN Charter includes the “promotion and protection” of human rights among ASEAN’s Principles and Purposes. It also declared that ASEAN would establish a human rights body. This raises an empirical puzzle given the prevailing ASEAN norm of “non-interference in the internal affairs of one another”, which traditionally has meant that human rights records are excluded as a criterion of membership of ASEAN, and as a topic for (official) dialogue. Member states have refrained from publicly criticizing one another in regard to human rights. This article argues that regional norms are shaped by competing perceptions of legitimacy. Members’ interpretations of the legitimacy of ASEAN and its norms as perceived by those outside the region – “external regional legitimacy” – were crucial in shaping the decision to establish a regional human rights body. This article makes the case that more attention should be paid to legitimacy in the study of regional norms.

Keywords: Human rights, ASEAN, legitimacy, regional norms, human rights body.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established its first human rights body in 2009: the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Given the traditional interpretations of ASEAN norms such as sovereignty, non-interference, equality and independence, this was a curious development. In particular, the norms of sovereignty and “non-interference in the internal affairs of one another” have been central to the code of conduct among ASEAN member states since the organization was established in 1967, and are reiterated in ASEAN agreements and declarations.1 The non-interference norm means that domestic governance issues, including member states’ human rights records, traditionally have been “off the table” in official ASEAN dialogue. It also means that member governments have refrained from publicly criticizing each other’s actions. Moreover, only five of the ten member states have national human rights bodies (with varying mandates and degrees of independence from their respective governments).2 Why, then, did ASEAN create a regional human rights body?

The references to human rights and the creation of a human rights body raise the question of whether traditional interpretations of ASEAN norms are under challenge. The case study also raises a more fundamental question: why and how do norms emerge and evolve among states in a regional institutional context? This puzzle has implications for the study of regional organizations. ASEAN is a particularly interesting case in this regard because of its environment of “normative contestation”. Norms are dynamic and evolve over time, and there may be tensions between norms in a regional institutional environment. Moreover, member states have diverse understandings of ASEAN norms. This article takes a consciously Constructivist approach in its recognition of ideational factors and sociological dynamics in international relations.

This article traces the negotiations leading to the adoption of the ASEAN Charter, focusing on the processes through which ten member states with significantly diverse identities, interests and practices accepted references to human rights as “principles” and “purposes” of ASEAN, and agreed to create a human rights body. After a period of debate, negotiation and drafting from January to November 2007, ASEAN member states agreed to make a normative statement about human rights in the Charter. In this article, a “normative statement” represents rhetorical adoption of a norm in an official text, even if that norm has not been “internalized”. In contrast, the term “normative standard” is used to denote the common understanding of a “norm”: a “standard of appropriate behaviour for actors with a given identity”.3 The article traces the processes through which ideas are initially proposed and advanced, and eventually emerge in agreed-upon text. As such, it provides a case study of the emergence and evolution of norms in a regional institutional context.

This article argues that regional norms are shaped by competing perceptions of legitimacy. Legitimacy refers here to the social judgements of an entity as appropriate, proper or desirable, within a particular institutional environment. Member states’ interpretations of the legitimacy of ASEAN and its norms as perceived by those outside the region – external regional legitimacy – were crucial in shaping the decision to establish a regional human rights body. In particular, the international outrage over the Myanmar regime’s crackdown on protesting monks in September 2007 brought ASEAN’s legitimacy concerns into sharp relief. ASEAN officials were concerned about the impact of this event, and of Myanmar’s membership generally, on ASEAN’s reputation and credibility. They believed that creating a human rights body was an important mechanism to improve the legitimacy of ASEAN and its norms, as perceived by extra-regional actors. Thus, member states – even those who generally resist increased interference in internal affairs, and those with poor human rights records – accepted the need to adopt references in the Charter to provide a role for ASEAN vis-à-vis human rights.

This article argues that more attention should be paid to legitimacy in the study of regional norms. While there has been some study of the role of legitimacy in certain regions, this has primarily focused on the European Union (EU).4 However, in contrast to the more highly institutionalized and legalized European region, ASEAN has consciously eschewed formal rules and practices, and the “legalistic” style of Western institutional structures more generally. Moreover, the growing literature on comparative regional institutions5 has devoted little attention to the role of legitimacy in a regional institutional context.

ASEAN is a forum for interstate dialogue in a “thin” institutional context which emphasizes norms rather than formal rules. As such, it is a useful case study for exploring the role of legitimacy. Norms are complex objects of study, and several fundamental questions remain difficult to answer: how does one identify norms, how do they evolve, and which norms “matter”? While the norm “life cycle” model proposed by Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink6 has been very useful to scholars exploring these questions, it lends itself to a view of norms as emerging and evolving in a linear process.7 Given its emphasis on perceptions, the concept of legitimacy helps us to analyse situations of normative contestation; in such contexts, we need to understand the perceptions and intentions of relevant actors who drafted, negotiated or otherwise influenced normative statements, in order to understand their significance. This would, for example, help to ascertain whether or not the adoption of references to human rights (in a normative statement) signals a change in regional norms (i.e. normative standards). The case study of ASEAN enables us to focus on the actors who shape norms.

The article proceeds as follows: first, it explores the inclusion in the Charter of references to human rights and the creation of an ASEAN human rights body. Second, it examines the positions of particular member states in regard to human rights as a “regional” concern. Third, it argues that the crucial factor in member states accepting the creation of a human rights body was their collective perception of external regional legitimacy. It also considers some alternative explanations: the mimetic adoption of norms; emulation of other regional organizations; and global “scripts” on good governance. It finds that these do not adequately explain why ASEAN decided to create a human rights body. This article makes the case that understanding perceptions of legitimacy helps us to explore important questions about the emergence and evolution of norms in regional organizations.

moving”.33

The so-called CLMV states initially opposed the human rights body, and would later only agree to it having a narrow mandate. A prominent Malaysian analyst recalls that “Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos resisted the most. This reflects their domestic political situations.”34 A former senior ASEAN official reports that the CLMV states believed that including democracy and human rights in the Charter “would make it very difficult for [the CLMV states] to get acceptance from their parliaments or other domestic bodies. They saw this as representing intervention in their domestic governance.”35 This reflects the tendency of these states – only recently admitted as ASEAN members – to defend the ASEAN norms of sovereignty and non-interference.

The position of the CLMV countries caused tensions with other members. One Indonesian analyst, for example, noted that “We would like to see the human rights body conduct investigations – this is what human rights bodies are meant to do. But the CLMV put a stop to it.”36 Myanmar officials were particularly outspoken. Aung Bwa, Myanmar’s representative to the HLTF, complained that “Some of our colleagues were assuming the role of champions of human rights and adopting a ‘holier-than-the-Pope’ approach. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones!”37 Cambodia’s HLTF representative, Kao Kim Hourn, was more moderate, lamenting the divisions between “old members and new members” on the human rights issue.38 Officials from Vietnam and Laos did not make public statements on the human rights body, but the news media reported that they were “not comfortable” with the idea.39 What convinced some of the less supportive members to agree were their shared concerns about ASEAN’s international credibility, and relatedly, their perceptions of external regional legitimacy.

Legitimacy and the Study of International Organizations

Legitimacy is an important concept in the study of multilateral organizations because, in an anarchic system, states “must rely on perceptions of [their] legitimacy to accomplish [their] goals”.40 Despite this, there is a lack of attention paid to legitimacy in the discipline of International Relations. Where International Relations scholars have addressed legitimacy, they have often interpreted it rather narrowly as the “right to govern”, or “the belief by an actor that a rule or institution ought to be obeyed”.41 However, this approach overlooks the relevance of legitimacy to bodies that are not “rules-based” or “governing” entities. In contrast, this article argues that legitimacy is particularly useful for analyses of bodies with low levels of institutionalization and legalization.

Legitimacy is defined here as the expression of social judgements of particular entities as appropriate, proper or desirable. This draws on Katharina Coleman’s description of legitimacy as “a social status that can adhere to an actor or an action: it involves being recognized as good, proper, or commendable by a group of others”.42 Similarly, Mark C. Suchman defines legitimacy as “a generalized perception or assumption that the actions of an entity are desirable, proper, or appropriate within some socially constructed system of norms, values, beliefs, and definitions”.43 This approach enables us to explore the nuances of different institutional environments. Thus, legitimacy should be conceptualized as a perception or belief, rather than a fact. As Hurd notes, “we must call [an institution] legitimate if its audience has internalized its authority and accepts it as right, regardless of whether the institution’s values conform to those of the outside observer”.44

Thus, legitimacy is a contested concept and can be defined in various ways. In gauging or “measuring” legitimacy, traditional or narrower approaches tend to focus on an actor’s observation of, or compliance with, a rule given the relevant entity’s recognized right to govern. However, perceptions of legitimacy may also explain an actor’s compliance with a norm because doing so is regarded as proper or desirable. In other words, legitimacy conceptualized in this way is a key concept in the study of entities which are characterized by norms rather than rules – i.e. in what we may describe as a “thinner” institutional context such as ASEAN.

Legitimacy in the study of international organizations is complex, because as Gerd Junne notes, “it is not immediately clear who forms the constituency that could regard international organizations as legitimate or illegitimate. Would this constituency consist of governments or individual citizens?” He goes on to argue that such organizations deal with a “multi-level audience. They are created by governments, so their legitimacy depends to a large extent on how they perform in the eyes of those governments.” However, their legitimacy depends also “on the views and visions of the many other actors in global society”, including “multinational corporations, all types of non-government organizations, social movements, [and] influential individuals”.45 This article argues that other states (i.e. states which are not members of a particular organization) should also be added to this list of types of actors whose views shape the perceived legitimacy of that organization. Several scholars have explored the legitimacy of organizations with “global” memberships, including the United Nations (UN),46 the World Trade Organisation47 and the World Bank.43 However, little attention has been paid to the legitimacy of primary intergovernmental regional organizations outside the European context.

Legitimacy and the Study of Regional Organizations

Studies of legitimacy in regional organizations (ROs) have focused mainly on the EU.49 This is not surprising given that its member states have sacrificed or “pooled” a degree of sovereignty. There is far less literature on legitimacy in the Organization of American States(OAS),50 the African Union, the Arab League or ASEAN. Nevertheless, legitimacy is an important concept in the study of ROs. It enables us to address questions regarding “regional norms”: do regional norms “matter”? Do changes in text (normative statements) signify changes in norms as standards? And what explains change in regional norms over time? Legitimacy provides a useful basis for addressing these questions. We can ask: how do possibly competing perceptions of legitimacy of the RO shape regional norms (as standards)?

Legitimacy enables us to explore the role of various actors (at national, regional and global levels) with possibly competing perceptions of legitimacy, who all may be interested in, and/or seek to influence, the RO. While member states’ perceptions of the legitimacy of a RO are clearly important, other actors’ perceptions are also relevant. There may be tensions among perceptions of legitimacy by these various actors. As Hurd notes, it is difficult to study legitimacy, because “it is both internal to actors and intersubjective … It can also be contradictory in that it is entirely possible for an actor to feel a ?compliance pull’ of several competing and irreconcilable legitimate rules or institutions all at once.”51 Moreover, legitimacy is not an absolute – an entity is not simply “legitimate” or “illegitimate”, but exists across a spectrum.52 Thus, perceptions of legitimacy may vary quite significantly among actors, both within and outside the region. Studies of ROs must consider who is the “audience” or “constituency”, and whose perceptions of legitimacy matter. This article focuses on perceptions of legitimacy held by those outside the region (e.g. other states and state representatives, transnational NGOs) as understood by members of the RO – i.e. external regional legitimacy – because these also shape regional norms.

Thus, “external regional legitimacy” (ERL) refers to RO members’ perceptions of how others view the legitimacy of the RO. This may reflect perceptions of the RO’s international image and reputation – in other words, perceptions by members of how the RO is viewed outside the region. ERL is the degree to which members believe the RO is seen by outsiders as the “proper” or “appropriate” representative of its member states. Members generally want the RO to appear “legitimate” outside the region because they want to engage external actors (for example, in trade agreements) and wield influence beyond the regional context. Perceptions of ERL rely on intersubjectivity between insiders and outsiders; they shape each other’s understandings of the role of ASEAN.

ERL can shape member states’ adoption of a particular normative statement. As Finnemore and Sikkink point out, states may comply with norms “for reasons that relate to their identities as members of an international society”. The adoption of new norms by many countries in a region may have the effect of “peer pressure”.53 Thus, Coleman writes that “states accept the norm not because they are convinced of its intrinsic moral value, but because they wish to appear legitimate to other states”.54 As such, perceptions of legitimacy may be more important than ideational commitment to the acceptance of new norms by states. As the literature on norm diffusion becomes more established, actors who have adopted new norms for reasons of legitimacy may eventually “internalize” the norms such that they have a “taken-for-granted” quality.55 As such, examining the role of ERL can be an important part of understanding the evolution of norms over time.

Perceptions of ERL may be influenced by the emergence of particular international or global issues, such as human rights, and its associated symbols and declarations such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights, or the 1993 Vienna Declaration. Member states may believe that the international focus on human rights creates or raises expectations that the RO should also address the issue. Such expectations may be heightened when other ROs form regional human rights bodies or adopt human rights declarations. Of course, perceptions of ERL may also be connected to concerns about domestic political legitimacy. Finnemore and Sikkink argue that states “care about international legitimation because it has become an essential contributor to perceptions of domestic legitimacy held by a state’s own citizens”.56

“Human Rights” in the Charter and External Regional Legitimacy

Concerns regarding ERL were important in the decision to establish an ASEAN human rights body. During the drafting process, representatives of several states publicly linked the need for a human rights body to ASEAN’s credibility and international standing, thus making a direct claim about ERL. For example, in March 2007, then Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram stated that the foreign ministers had “agreed in principle that an establishment of the regional human rights mechanism will be reflected in the Charter” because failing to address human rights in the Charter would impact ASEAN’s credibility.57 Similarly, a Malaysian analyst argued that without references to human rights in the Charter, “other countries will say ASEAN is rubbish”.53 A former ASEAN official referred to credibility in regard to the mandate of the human rights body: “A key consideration is that it cannot be a body that just sits there and listens. Even Myanmar and Vietnam agreed on this. To be credible, we must go beyond this.”59 These statements link the choice to create a human rights body to ASEAN’s legitimacy as a regional actor.

In particular, the inclusion of references to human rights in the Charter was motivated by criticisms of Myanmar from outside the region. The history of repression, political violence and crackdowns on demonstrations has long drawn international attention to Myanmar, and ASEAN has (particularly before Myanmar introduced political reforms in 2011) been perceived as unable or unwilling to pressure the regime to change. The regime’s violent reaction to protests led by Buddhist monks in September 2007 highlighted, for the HLTF and ASEAN leaders, the ramifications for ASEAN’s image and reputation of Myanmar’s continued membership, and the need to include a human rights mechanism in the Charter. Various governments (e.g. the United States, the United Kingdom and France) and organizations (the EU, UN, G8, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group) condemned the crackdown.60 In November 2007, the US Senate “voted unanimously to urge ASEAN to suspend Myanmar until the regime shows respect for human rights”.61 In the same month, Human Rights Watch sent an open letter to then ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong, arguing that the events in Myanmar “show the need for a strong Charter to deal with grave human rights violations” through “an effective regional human rights mechanism” in ASEAN.62 Ong acknowledged that “The world is outraged after the shooting of monks by soldiers.”63

Officials from member states also publicly recognized the impact of the situation on ASEAN’s reputation. For example, Marty Natalegawa, then Indonesia’s Permanent Representative to the UN (and later its Foreign Minister from 2009 to 2014), told the UN Security Councilin October 2007 that, in regard to Myanmar, “the tragic events in the country do have serious implications for the credibility and reputation of ASEAN”.64 Similarly, Alberto Romulo, then Foreign Secretary of the Philippines, said in July 2007 that his government saw the human rights body as necessary to give ASEAN “more credibility in the international community”.65 He argued that “the world is looking to [Myanmar] to live up to its promises, and to ASEAN to encourage progressive development in our region, which must entail improvements in both human security and freedom”.66 Ong stated in July 2006 that “ASEAN is concerned about the impact of this [Myanmar] issue … on our credibility and standing, because the world seems to think that ASEAN should be the one tackling this issue and bring about some positive outcome.”67 These officials made a direct connection between human rights in Myanmar and member states’ perceptions of ERL. As a Malaysian academic and human rights activist pointed out, “ASEAN leaders probably wish the situation in Myanmar wasn’t so because it attracts so much international attention to ASEAN.”63

This attention came at a critical time: shortly before the Charter was due to be signed by member states. The agreement by consensus to create an ASEAN human rights body, despite earlier objections from some member states, was in part a response to this criticism from outside the region. Hiro Katsumata argues that the human rights body was created “for the international audience, to show [ASEAN] is doing something”.69 This implies that there was an instrumental dimension to the agreement – that it was both an appropriate entity and a strategy to signal that ASEAN could address human rights concerns in the region. Thus, ASEAN sought to enhance ERL. Some scholars, however, have adopted a different perspective. For example, Stephen McCarthy argues that “through international pressure exerted over Burma … democracy and human rights have been forced onto ASEAN’s political agenda”.70 Certainly Myanmar’s membership had heightened the impetus for paying attention to these issues, but it is an overstatement to suggest that member states were “forced” to do so. Part of ASEAN’s raison d’être as an intergovernmental organization is regional resilience in the face of external pressure.71

Whilst Myanmar received the most attention in the period 1990-2012, other ASEAN member states have also had their human rights records criticized. For several years, Indonesia was the only state in the region considered “Free” by Freedom House’s Freedom in the World reports (which measure political rights and civil liberties).72 The remaining ASEAN states have been rated “Partly Free” (Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) or “Not Free” (Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).73 Security forces in several states (including the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos) have been accused of human rights abuses such as extra-judicial killings and “disappearances”, political violence and imprisonment of political dissenters.74 Singapore and Malaysia generally see few acts of political violence, but have been criticized for their use of Internal Security Acts to detain suspects without charge or trial for long periods, and for restrictions on political opposition.75 Human rights in Thailand have, at times, come under international scrutiny, particularly in regard to political instability and the imposition of martial law (for example, after the 2006 coup). Thailand has also been criticized for human rights violations by the police and military in the Muslim-majority provinces in the Far South.76 Most ASEAN states have been criticized for restrictions on freedom of speech, association and assembly, by NGOs such as Freedom House and Human Rights Watch,77 and by some countries outside the region, especially the United States.78

While Indonesia fares better in contemporary assessments of human rights, its international image remains associated with past violations. These include the actions of the Soeharto regime (1967-98), in its bid to repress dissent so as to maintain political order and pursue economic development. Indonesia’s human rights record was also tarnished by its occupation of East Timor from 1975 until 1999, and its crackdown on separatist movements in Aceh and West Papua. Even today, concerns remain about issues such as religious intolerance and land rights.79

International criticism of various human rights issues in ASEAN states contributed to the impetus to include human rights in the Charter. Statements by groups such as Freedom House and Human Rights Watch naturally contribute to ASEAN elites’ perceptions of ERL. As the aforementioned Malaysian academic and activist notes, criticism of human rights in various ASEAN states – not just Myanmar – constituted important “external factors” contributing to the inclusion of references to human rights in the Charter.80 In other words, perceptions of ERL significantly contributed to the decision made by ASEAN leaders to include references to human rights and the human rights body in the Charter. This suggests that ASEAN may have wanted to appear to be advancing human rights norms by making normative statements, but not necessarily advancing human rights as normative standards. Notably, not all member states have “internalized” human rights norms, even though they have all agreed to make the regional normative statement.

Mimetic Adoption, Emulation, and Global “Scripts”

One proposed explanation for making a normative statement on human rights is provided by Katsumata, who points to states’ concerns with their own legitimacy. He argues that “the ASEAN members have ‘mimetically’ been adopting the norm of human rights which is championed by the advanced industrialized democracies, motivated by their desire to be identified as advanced and legitimate”. They are responding to the social environment created by the advanced industrialized democracies, for whom the norm of human rights is an element of legitimacy – a “prerequisite for any state in securing its identity as a legitimate member of this community”.31 Relatedly, Anja Jetschke and Jurgen Riiland argue that “members of ASEAN continuously engage in cooperation rhetoric and devise cooperation projects because they emulate the European integration project”. The duo note that states are “driven to assume specific cultural scripts or institutional forms such as democracy, human rights or capitalist modes of production because they regard them as constitutive for statehood”. This “institutional isomorphism” is assumed to increase (domestic) legitimacy, access to resources and thus, survival capabilities of the governing regime.32

These arguments have merit, in that they recognize the “models” created by certain significant states and ROs that purport to prioritize human rights (e.g. the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU and the OAS). Officials do sometimes express concerns regarding ASEAN’s image relative to other regions. Dian Triansyah Djani, Indonesia’s representative to the HLTF, argues that “Noting that Asia is the only continent that does not have a human rights body/ mechanism, it would be hard to envision an ASEAN Charter that does not have any mention of a mechanism/body to promote and protect human rights.”33 This suggests that part of the impetus for setting up the human rights body may have been simply that it seemed appropriate, given the examples provided by other regions.34

However, arguments made about mimetic adoption and emulation risk depicting ASEAN as something of a normative vacuum, and neglect the existence of what Amitav Acharya calls “prior local norms”35 or, in other words, existing normative standards. ASEAN is a site of competing normative terrains, which cannot be presumed to be merely a repository of various “global” norms. Rather, ASEAN norms have been advanced, negotiated and evolved over time – in some cases, “localized” as Acharya puts it – and reflect competing interests, ideas and values from a variety of sources. This is illustrated by interviews with ASEAN officials involved in the Charter drafting process, who reported that, even where ASEAN did look to the example of the EU, it was often to affirm ASEAN’s differences. This suggests a more complex process than simply the “emulation” of European or other regional institutions.

Moreover, when we consider the empirical evidence, the adoption of the provision to establish the ASEAN human rights body – a normative statement – was not a straightforward matter of “emulation”. During the debate about the adoption of Article 14, members were concerned about preserving unity and the ASEAN Way. This tension was illustrated by the debate about what the body would actually do – its mandate and powers. In March 2007, the then-Thai HLTF member, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, noted that the body would likely exist to promote “awareness” of human rights, rather than fulfilling an investigative or monitoring role.36 The ASEAN foreign ministers recognized early in the drafting process that the human rights body was necessary partly in order to boost ASEAN’s credibility overseas, but they were also careful not to suggest that the body might threaten the Association’s norm of non-interference. Pradap Pibulsonggram, also a HLTF member for Thailand, claims that “it soon emerged that the HLTF did not want the body to partake in ‘finger-pointing’”.37 While Indonesia wanted the body to have a more extensive mandate, the “consensus” position was that it would only promote awareness of human rights.

The HLTF was thus attempting to “strike a balance”; it had been instructed by foreign ministers to include a provision in the Charter to establish an ASEAN human rights body, but was aware of the limitations necessary to have this provision accepted at the ASEAN Summit in Singapore. In so doing, the HLTF members hoped that ASEAN would enhance its international credibility without directly challenging the sovereignty of its members (and thus, core ASEAN norms), and would ensure that the human rights body would remain under the direction and influence of ASEAN members only. Vietnam’s representative to the HLTF, Nguyen Trung Thanh, claims that:

The positive signal was given for the HLTF to proceed with the issue in order to prove that ASEAN had no fear in dealing with this matter … [However] a common understanding was agreed that ASEAN needs to establish its own standards for human rights protection and promotion, and that human rights should not be left as an excuse for outsiders to intervene into ASEAN’s own affairs [emphasis added].88

Thus, perceptions of ERL influenced the decision to include human rights in the Charter, but ASEAN’s historically-rooted concern about the threat of external interference also shaped the formulation of the text, and public depictions of the human rights body.

Indeed, alongside his argument about mimetic adoption, Katsumata notes that member states are concerned about “securing ASEAN’s identity as a legitimate institution in the community of modern states”.89 Member states were incited to make a normative statement about human rights, particularly because they were concerned that ASEAN’s legitimacy, as perceived by states and ROs outside Southeast Asia, was in question.

Another alternative explanation for the decision to make human rights part of official ASEAN dialogue can be found in the literature on global “scripts” on good governance. This literature identifies collective international norms which “tell us what kind of institutions a legitimate state should have”.90 Standards of appropriate behaviour in regard to democracy, human rights, rule of law and/ or good governance may be prescribed and promoted by regional organizations. As Tanja Börzel et al. note, regional organizations may follow a global script by seeking to engage in governance transfer in their founding treaties, political declarations by members, or “secondary legislation at the regional level”.91 From this perspective, the creation in the ASEAN Charter of a regional human rights body may be seen as an effort at trying to influence governance institutions at the national level. In other words, ASEAN seeks to influence its member states in regard to human rights, i.e. in standard-setting, promotion of human rights policies, and so on. In so doing, it is following a global script, which may be “localized”.92

The above may appear to be a convincing explanation for why ASEAN states would agree to the creation of a regional human rights body. However, the evidence, as discussed below, suggests that most ASEAN states did not want to fundamentally challenge traditional norms. ASEAN was not seeking to engage in a “governance transfer” of global norms to its member states. A more convincing explanation is that member states were motivated by concerns about ERL; they wanted to be seen as being concerned about human rights, and to make human rights part of official regional dialogue, precisely so that it would remain a regional issue.

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

After the Charter was signed, a High Level Panel (HLP) was convened to draft the Terms of Reference (TOR) for a human rights body during 2008 and 2009, and the AICHR was inaugurated on 24 October 2009. Each member state has a representative. The TOR avoided giving AICHR the power to receive complaints or conduct investigations; rather, the Commission focuses on awareness and promotion of human rights. Among the AICHR’s “Mandate and Functions” are to “develop strategies for the promotion and protection of human rights”; “to enhance public awareness of human rights”; “to encourage member states to sign and ratify international human rights instruments”; to promote the implementation of ASEAN human rights instruments; and “to consult with national, regional and international institutions and entities concerned with the promotion and protection of human rights”.93

The TOR also reaffirmed some core ASEAN norms, asserting the AICHR’s “respect for ASEAN principles”, such as sovereignty, non-interference and the right of member states to be free from external interference. The AICHR does not, therefore, appear to pose a significant challenge to the sovereignty of member states in which human rights violations may be occurring. Reluctant member states are able to point to the norms of non-interference and sovereign equality to justify the limited mandate of the AICHR. In 2011, then ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said, “I think it will take some time for the member [states] to feel comfortable about sharing issues that they have discussed because AICHR is still an intergovernmental organization. Some people may have wished for an independent organisation or a human rights court to conduct a review, but that’s not what this is.”94 Surin emphasized that the AICHR is still in its formative years, and is concentrating on the “promotion and protection” of human rights in the region, with the emphasis on “promotion”. Surin acknowledged that some member states wanted more emphasis on human rights protections and mitigating human rights violations, but argued that the AICHR was “not there yet”.

The above may be interpreted as intimating that the “strategy” of creating a human rights body to address ERL concerns had failed. However, for some member states, the strategy had in fact been successful: ASEAN had created a body which ostensibly addresses human rights concerns in the region, and makes human rights part of official dialogue, without fundamentally challenging ASEAN norms of sovereignty and non-interference. In other words, to reiterate, ASEAN made a normative statement without necessarily introducing or enhancing a normative standard. A prominent Indonesian analyst laments that “the ASEAN human rights body doesn’t look like it’s going to mean anything”.95 While some officials would like a more “meaningful” human rights body, it reflects the entrenched traditional understandings of ASEAN norms.96 Perceptions of ERL explain why the body was created despite the persistence of these norms. As Börzel et al. note, ASEAN is “still controlled by the governments of the member states”, which generally resist greater scrutiny of domestic governance.97

Conclusions

The original impetus for the Charter was to reinvigorate ASEAN and enhance its credibility. The provision establishing the human rights body was also motivated by such concerns; its drafting was very contentious, given the varying attitudes of the various member states to ASEAN’s role in regard to human rights. It was ultimately accepted because of perceptions of ERL in that members of the HLTF believed that a human rights body was important for ASEAN’s credibility and international standing. They saw regional legitimacy as being at risk particularly because of the human rights crises in Myanmar. The arguments about ASEAN’s international reputation and credibility made by officials – particularly from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and the then ASEAN Secretary-General, Ong Keng Yong – shaped the context in which member states agreed to the text of the Charter. However, they reaffirmed the norm of decisionmaking by consensus, and agreed that the human rights body would not be a “finger-pointing body”.

There is some disappointment about the limited mandate and lack of significance of the AICHR. It is telling that Rafendi Djamin, Indonesia’s representative to the AICHR, has publicly called on Indonesia to address the plight of the Rohingya minority group in Myanmar, without referring to the role of AICHR.93 This article sheds light on why the AICHR has been described as “toothless”.99 When the AICHR was launched, Thailand’s then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva remarked in his official comments that ASEAN would, through the AICHR, “demonstrate to the world that human rights is a priority” [sic].100 The reasons for creating it were not because of an ideational commitment by ASEAN to addressing human rights in member states from a regional perspective (although some individual states demonstrated this commitment), but to depict to the outside world that ASEAN was relevant, credible and addressing human rights.

This study contributes to the nascent literature on the role of legitimacy in the emergence and evolution of regional norms. Future studies could further explore the role legitimacy plays in shaping the emergence and evolution of norms, with a view to enhancing its theoretical contribution to the Constructivist scholarship. Studying legitimacy also allows us to gain a more complex understanding of member states’ perceptions of the importance of a regional organization vis-à-vis their own domestic political circumstances. Gauging perceptions of legitimacy helps us to understand which norms “matter”, and the evolution of norms in an environment of normative contestation. Future research into perceptions of legitimacy in other regional organizations could further contribute to efforts at theorizing the emergence and evolution of regional norms, particularly in a comparative sense.

NOTES

1 This is not to suggest that member states have always complied with the norm of non-interference. For example, one could argue that in quietly pressuring Myanmar to postpone its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006 – even while claiming that they were not interfering in its domestic affairs – member states demonstrated a willingness to reinterpret the norm. See Luz Baguioro, “ASEAN Chair: Your Move, Myanmar”, Straits Times, 12 April 2005. However, member states continue to reaffirm the non-interference norm in official rhetoric: it is a key principle even if it may, at times, be undermined in practice. As such, it remains a puzzle as to why the ASEAN member states would create a direct challenge to this principle by establishing the AICHR.

2 At the time of writing, these are the Philippines (founded in 1987), Indonesia (1993), Thailand (1997), Malaysia (1999), and Myanmar (2011).

3 Peter Katzenstein, The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), p. 5; and Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change”, International Organisation 52, no. 4 (1998): 891.

4 For example, Nicole Bolleyer and Christine Reh, “EU Legitimacy Revisited: The Normative Foundations of a Multilevel Polity”, Journal of European Public Policy 19, no. 4 (2012): 472-90; Karl-Oskar Lindgren and Thomas Persson, “Input and Output Legitimacy: Synergy or Trade-off? Empirical Evidence from an EU Survey”, Journal of European Public Policy 17, no. 4 (2010): 449-67; and Erik Oddvar Eriksen and John Erik Fossum, “Europe in Search of Legitimacy: Strategies of Legitimation Assessed”, International Political Science Review 25, no. 4 (2004): 435-59.

5 For example, Anja Jetschke and Philomena Murray, “Diffusing Regional Integration: The EU and Southeast Asia”, West European Politics 35, no. 1 (2012): 174-91; Philippe De Lombaerde, Fredrik Söderbaum, Luk Van Langenhove and Francis Baert, “The Problem of Comparison in Comparative Regionalism”, Review of International Studies 36, no. 3 (2010): 731-53; and Amitav Acharya and Alistair Iain Johnston, eds., Crafting Cooperation: Regional International Institutions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 2007).

6 Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change”, op. cit.

7 Jennifer Welsh, “Implementing the ‘Responsibility to Protect‘: Where Expectations Meet Reality”, Ethics &* International Affairs 24, no. 4 (2010): 415-30; Mona Lena Krook and Jacqui True, “Rethinking the Life Cycles of International Norms: The United Nations and the Global Promotion of Gender Equality”, European Journal of International Relations 18, no. 1 (2010): 103-27.

8 Yang Zidi, “Charter sets Framework for ‘One ASEAN’”, China View, 20 November 2007, available at <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-ll/20/ content_7115277.htm>.

9 For example, Ali Alatas, “ASEAN in a Globalizing World”, Asia-Pacific Review 8, no. 2 (2001): 1-9; and Carolyn Hong, “Consensus Builder for ASEAN Charter”, Straits Times, 3 February 2005.

10 ASEAN, “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Charter”, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12 December 2005, available at <http://www.asean, org/news/item/kuala-lumpur-declaration-on-the-establishment-of-the-asean-charterkuala-lumpur-12-decemb er-2005>.

11 ASEAN, “Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II)”, Ninth ASEAN Summit, Bali, Indonesia, 7-8 October 2003, available at <http://www.asean.org/ news/item/declaration-of-asean-concord-ii-bali-concord-ii>.

12 Mely Caballero-Anthony, “The ASEAN Charter: An Opportunity Missed or One that Cannot be Missed?”, in Southeast Asian Affairs 2008, edited by Daljit Singh and Tin Maung Maung Than (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008), pp. 71-72.

13 ASEAN, “Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II)”, op. cit.

14 The particularly relevant declarations here are the Vientiane Action Programme (November 2004) and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Charter (December 2005). ASEAN, “Vientiane Action Programme”, Vientiane, Laos, 24 November 2004, available at <http://www.asean.org/archive/ ADS-2004.pdf>; and ASEAN, “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Charter”, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12 December 2005, available at <http://www.asean.org/news/item/kuala-lumpur-declaration-on-the-establishmentof-the-asean-charter-kuala-lumpur-12-december-2005>.

15 Donald K. Emmerson, “Security, Community, and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Analyzing ASEAN”, Japanese Journal of Political Science 6, no. 2 (2005): 180.

16 Caballero-Anthony, “The ASEAN Charter”, op. cit., p. 81.

17 Tommy Koh, “The Negotiating Process”, in The Making of the ASEAN Charter, edited by Tommy Koh, Rosario G. Manalo and Walter Woon (Singapore: World Scientific, 2009), p. 58.

18 Ibid., p. 57.

19 Ibid., p. 62.

20 ASEAN, “Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations“, Singapore, 20 November 2007, available at <http://www.asean.org/archive/publications/ ASEAN-Charter.pdf>, p. 19.

21 Author interview with former ASEAN official, Singapore, 16 October 2008; ASEAN, “Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations“, op. cit.

22 Socialization is defined by Hooghe as “the process of inducting individuals into the norms and rules of a given community”. See Liesbet Hooghe, “Several Roads Lead to International Norms, But Few via International Socialization: A Case Study of the European Commission“, International Organization 59, no. 4 (October 2005): 861-98. The well-developed literature on socialization is not particularly useful for this study because it focuses on norms which have emerged and are in the process of being internalized. In contrast, this study examines an earlier set of processes – the debate and negotiation which leads to a “normative statement”.

23 Jörn Dosch, “Sovereignty Rules: Human Security, Civil Society, and the Limits of Liberal Reform”, in Hard Choices: Securityr, Democracy and Regionalism in Southeast Asia, edited by Donald K. Emmerson (Stanford, California: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, 2008), p. 84,

24 Author interview with Malaysian analyst, Kuala Lumpur, 28 May 2009.

25 Author interview with Malaysian analyst, Singapore, 3 October 2008; and author interview with Philippine analyst, Singapore, 3 September 2008.

26 Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change”, op. cit., p. 904.

27 Ibid., p. 895.

28 Dian Triansyah Djani, “A Long Journey”, in The Making of the ASEAN Charter, edited by Koh, Manalo and Woon, op. cit., p. 141.

29 Ibid., p. 142.

30 Abdul Khalik, “FM: ASEAN Charter to have Dispute Settlement Mechanisms”, Jakarta Post, 19 April 2007; Salim Osman, “Alatas Lauds New Human Rights Body”, Straits Times, 6 August 2007.

31 Pradap Pibulsonggram, “The Thai Perspective”, in The Making of the ASEAN Charter, edited by Koh, Manalo and Woon, op. cit., pp. 79-94; and “Manila Seeks Human Rights Panel in Asean”, Associated Press, 27 July 2007.

32 Interview with senior Malaysian diplomat, Kuala Lumpur, 7 October 2008; and Wan Hamidi Hamid, “Obstacles to ASEAN Charter”, New Straits Times, 30 July 2007.

33 Author interview with former ASEAN official, Singapore, 16 October 2008.

34 Author interview with Malaysian analyst, Kuala Lumpur, 28 May 2009.

35 Author interview with former ASEAN official, Singapore, 16 October 2008.

36 Author interview with Indonesian analyst, Jakarta, 10 November 2008.

37 Aung Bwa, “The Jewel in My Crown”, in The Making of the ASEAN Charter, edited by Koh, Manalo and Woon, op. cit., pp. 32-33.

38 Kao Kim Hourn, “A Personal Reflection”, in The Making of the ASEAN Charter, edited by Koh, Manalo and Woon, op. cit., p. 153.

39 See, for example, Raju Gopalakrishnan, “SE Asia Group Urges Democracy in Myanmar”, Reuters, 29 July 2007.

40 Ian Hurd, After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power in the United Nations Security Council (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 55.

41 Ibid., p. 30; see also Rodney Barker, Political Legitimacy and the State (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), p. 11. It should be noted that there are also studies which recognize a range of sources of legitimacy, such as John Kane, HuiChieh Loy and Haig Patapan, “Introduction to the Special Issue: The Search for Legitimacy in Asia”, Politics & Policy 38, no. 3 (2010): 381-94; and Lynn T. White, ed., Legitimacy: Ambiguities of Political Success or Failure in East and Southeast Asia (Singapore: Wforld Scientific, 2005).

42 Katharina Coleman, International Organisations and Peace Enforcement: The Politics of International Legitimacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 21.

43 Mark C. Suchman, “Managing Legitimacy: Strategic and Institutional Approaches”, Academy of Management Review 20, no. 3 (1995): 574.

44 Hurd, After Anarchy, op. cit., p. 34 [emphasis in original].

45 Gerd Junne, “International Organisations in a Period of Globalization: New (Problems of) Legitimacy”, in The Legitimacy of International Organisations, edited by Jean-Marc Coicaud and Veijo Heishanen (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2001), pp. 191-92.

46 Hurd, After Anarchy, op. cit.; Coleman, International Organisations and Peace Enforcement, op. cit.; and Robert O. Keohane, “The Contingent Legitimacy of Multilateralism”, in Multilateralism Under Challenge: Power, International Order and Structural Change, edited by Edward Newman, Ramesh Thakur and John Tirman (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2006), pp. 56-76.

47 Robert Howse, “The Legitimacy of the World Trade Organisation“, in The Legitimacy of International Organisations, edited by Coicaud and Heishanen, op. cit., pp. 355-407.

48 Kerry Rittich, “Distributive Justice and the World Bank: The Pursuit of Gender Equity in the Context of Market Reform”, in The Legitimacy of International Organisations, edited by Coicaud and Heishanen, op. cit., pp. 438-81.

49 For example, Janet Mather, Legitimating the European Union: Aspirations, Inputs and Performance (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); Eriksen and Fossum, “Europe in Search of Legitimacy”, op. cit.; and David Beetham and Christopher Lord, Legitimacy and the EU (London: Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd., 1998).

50 An exception is Yasmin Shamsie, Mutual Misgivings: Civil Society Inclusion in the Americas (Ottawa: North-South Institute, 2003).

51 Hurd, After Anarchy, op. cit., p. 8.

52 Mather, Legitimating the European Union, op. cit., p. 13; see also Muthiah Alagappa, ed., Political Legitimacy in Southeast Asia: The Quest for Moral Authority (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1995), p. 25.

52 Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change”, op. cit., pp. 902-3.

54 Coleman, International Organisations and Peace Enforcement, op. cit., p. 33.

55 Finnemore and Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change”, op. cit., p. 904.

56 Ibid., p. 903.

57 Quoted in “ASEAN Reaffirms Setting Up of Regional Human Rights Mechanism”, Kyodo News Service, 2 March 2007.

58 Author interview with Malaysian analyst, Kuala Lumpur, 28 May 2009.

59 Author interview with former ASEAN official, Singapore, 16 October 2008.

60 See, for example, “Four Killed in Myanmar Protest Crackdown, Including Three Buddhist Monks”, Agence France Presse, 26 September 2007.

61 Geert De Clercq, “Myanmar set to sign ASEAN Rights Charter”, Reuters, 17 November 2007.

62 Human Rights Watch, “Letter to ASEAN Secretary General Ong Keng Yong: The ASEAN Charter”, 15 November 2007, available at <http://www.hrw.org/ news/2007/ll/14/letter-asean-secretary-general-ong-keng-yong>.

63 Quoted in De Clercq, “Myanmar set to sign ASEAN Rights Charter”, op. cit.

64 Marty Natalegawa, “Myanmar Government puts ASEAN Charter at Risk”, Jakarta Post, 9 October 2007 (excerpt of a statement made at a UN Security Council meeting on “The Situation in Myanmar”, New York, 5 October 2007).

65 “Myanmar Opposes Human Rights Body in Southeast Asia”, The Star, 27 July 2007.

66 Quoted in John Burton and Roel Landingin, “Rifts over Charter for ASEAN may hit Regional Integration”, Financial Times, 31 July 2007.

67 Quoted in Heda Bayron, “ASEAN Losing Patience with Burma”, Voice of America, 31 October 2009, available at <http://www.voanews.com/content/a-132006-07-24-voa4 2/3993 71.html>.

68 Author interview with Malaysian academic/activist, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 29 May 2009.

69 Yeoh En-Lai, “Asean to Retain Non-Interference Policy, Charter Says”, Bloomberg, 8 November 2007.

70 Stephen McCarthy, “Chartering a New Direction? Burma and the Evolution of Human Rights in ASEAN”, Asian Affairs: An American Review 36, no. 3 (2009): 168.

71 Amitav Acharya, Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 62-64.

72 In 2014, Indonesia’s rating declined to “Partly Free” due to “a new law restricting the activities of nongovernment organisations”. Freedom House, “Freedom in the World 2014″, Washington, D.C., 2014, available at <https://freedomhouse. org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2014#.VXfQZefQ2Hk>.

73 Ibid.

74 Freedom House, “Freedom in the World 2015″, 28 January 2015, available at <https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2015>.

75 Human Rights Watch, “HRW Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Singapore”, 23 June 2015, available at <https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/06/23/ fhrw-submission-universal-periodic-review-singapore>; Mickey Spiegel, “Malaysia’s New Security Act All Smoke and Mirrors”, Bangkok Post, 19 June 2012, available at <http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/298649/malaysia-new-security-actall-smoke-and-Mirrors>,

76 Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2015: Thailand”, 24 June 2015, available at <https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/thailand>.

77 Freedom House, “Freedom in the World 2015″, op. cit.; Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2015″, 24 June 2015, available at <https://www.hrw.org/worldreport/2015/>.

78 US Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014″, available at <http://www.state.gov.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/>.

79 See, for example, Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2015: Indonesia”, 24 June 2015, available at <https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/countrychapters/indonesia>.

80 Author interview with Malaysian academic/activist, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 29 May 2009.

81 Hiro Katsumata, “ASEAN and Human Rights: Resisting Western Pressure or Emulating the West?”, The Pacific Review 22, no. 5 (December 2009): 625.

82 Anja Jetschke and Jurgen Riiland, “Decoupling Rhetoric and Practice: The Cultural Limits of ASEAN Cooperation”, The Pacific Review 22, no. 2 (May 2009): 181, 183.

83 Dian Triansyah Djani, “A Long Journey”, op. cit., pp. 137-50.

84 For example (although these vary significantly in mandate and powers), the European Court of Human Rights (1950); the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (1959); and the African Court of Human and People’s Rights (1998).

85 Amitav Acharya, “How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? Norm Localization and International Change in Asian Regionalism”, International Organisation 58, no. 2 (April 2004): 247-48.

86 “ASEAN Reaffirms Setting Up of Regional Human Rights Mechanism”, Kyodo News Service, 2 March 2007.

87 Pibulsonggram, “The Thai Perspective”, op. cit., pp. 89-90.

88 Nguyen Trung Thanh, “The Making of the ASEAN Charter in My Fresh Memories”, in The Making of the ASEAN Charter, edited by Koh, Manalo and Woon, op. cit., p. 103.

89 Katsumata, “ASEAN and Human Rights”, op. cit., p. 625.

90 Anja Jetschke, Governance Transfer by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), SFB-Governance Working Paper Series, No. 50, Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700 (Berlin, December 2013), available at <http://www. sib-governance.de/publikationen/working_papers/wp50/SFB-Govemance-WorkingPaper-50.pdf>,

91 Tanja A. Bürzel, Vera van Hüllen and Mathis Lohaus, Governance Transfer by Regional Organisations: Following a Global Script?, SFB-Governance Working Paper Series, No. 42, Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700 (Berlin, January 2013), p. 7, available at <http://www.sfb-governance.de/publikationen/working_papers/ wp42/SFB-Governance-Working-Paper-42.pdf>.

92 Acharya, “How Ideas Spread”, op. cit.

93 ASEAN, “Terms of Reference of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights”, Jakarta, 2009, pp. 6-7, available at <http://www.asean.org/ images/axchive/publications/TOR-of-AICHR.pdf>.

94 Quoted in Ismira Luftia, “Questions Raised About ASEAN’s Commitment to Human Rights”, Jakarta Globe, 3 August 2011.

95 Author interview with Indonesian analyst, Kuala Lumpur, 4 June 2009.

96 For reasons of space and scope, this article does not evaluate the AICHR in depth, but rather focuses on the motivations underlying the decision to create it.

97 Börzel et al., Governance Transfer by Regional Organisations, op. cit., p. 8.

98 “sMyanmar Must Stop Escalation of Violence Against Rohingya: Activist”, Antara, 15 December 2013.

99 See, for example, Emerlynne Gil, “ASEAN Human Rights Talks Face Major Challenges”, Jakarta Post, 4 March 2014.

100 Abhisit Vejjajiva, “Remarks by H.E. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, on the Occasion of the Inaugural Ceremony of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)”, Cha-Am Hua Hin, Thailand, 23 October 2009, available at <http://www.asean.org/news/item/ remarks-by-he-abhisit-vejjajiva-prime-minister-of-the-kingdom-of-thailand-on-theoccasion-of-the-inaugural-ceremony-of-the-asean-intergovernmental-commissionon-human-rights-aichr>.

Avery Poole is a Lecturer in International Relations at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Postal address: School of Social and Political Sciences, Room 420 John Medley building, The University of Melbourne VIC 3010, Australia; email: adpoole@unimelb.edu.au.

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