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arrow Home arrow Articles arrow Human Dignity: a guiding principle to be included in future ASEAN Charter Sunday, 25 October 2020  
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Human Dignity: a guiding principle to be included in future ASEAN Charter PDF Print E-mail



As ASEAN is planning to write and adopt its Charter in the near future in order to achieve its aim of becoming a community of security and peace, of economic prosperity and of social and cultural integration, civil society should contribute to such endeavour by proposing guiding principles of, and mechanism to be included in, such Charter. After a brief discussion on the intrinsic value and dignity of all persons and the relationship between human dignity and human rights, this paper proposes that human dignity be included as a guiding principle in the Preamble of the Charter.
The Charter should also specify the obligations of states, which are ASEAN members, to respect, to protect and to promote and fulfill human rights in order to achieve human dignity. These obligations will be concretized by the establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights Commission which will gradually work for this aim as states become more and more ready to fulfill their obligations.

Human dignity depends on the creation of a community of peace wherein conflicts could be peacefully resolved and security is assured for all. In addition to mechanisms of confidence building, preventive diplomacy, mediation, peace making and peace building to be specified in the Charter, there should also be a mechanism in which civil society could play a role in promoting common security. Such mechanism could be developed based on the experiences of ASEAN People Assembly and similar initiatives.

ASEAN Charter should include a social charter that addresses the issues of human security and sustainable development. Here again, there is a need for civil society participation. The representation of civil society could be institutionalized by the creation of an ASEAN Economic and Social Advisory Council based on the model of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union whose members are drawn from civil society and whose tasks are to promote dialogue among civil society members and to advise ASEAN on economic and social policies in order to better ensure human dignity for all.


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