Engagement with regional multilateral organisations Case study: ASEAN Perspective
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This deliverable of Work Package No 5 assesses the engagement of the EU with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Through a series of joint agreements, with the most recent being the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action to Strengthen the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership (2013- 2017), the EU and its Member States on the one hand and the ASEAN on the other hand have committed themselves to cooperate inter alia on human rights, including through extending support to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). The deliverable consists of six chapters. The first chapter sets out the aims, conceptual framework, methodology and structure of the report. The second chapter explores the place of human rights and multilateralism in the EU, with a focus on the EU treaties, the EU Human Rights Guidelines and the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy. The third chapter discusses the institutional framework related to promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN and also identifies the major EU human rights stakeholders relevant to cooperation with ASEAN in this area. The fourth chapter considers substantive goals and objectives in relation to the EU’s human rights policy towards South-East Asia as well as goals and objectives enshrined in international agreements between the EU and South-East Asian states. The chapter further discusses the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action roadmap and action plans, sub-regional cooperation strategies and EU Member States’ initiatives in relation to human rights. The fifth chapter studies the tools and methods employed by the EU at ASEAN. Particluar attention is given to the human rights dialogue between the EU and ASEAN. The chapter also considers other initiatives and elements of the EU’s activities towards ASEAN and its Member States. The report illustrates how the relationship between the EU and ASEAN has developed in the recent 25 years from a purely economic engagement to a much broader scope of interaction, which includes the protection and promotion of human rights. Major challenges remain in making this engagement more efficient, which is affected i.a. by differences in the approaches to human rights, the nascent status of ASEAN’s human rights mechanisms, as well as the influence of, both, trade and security aspects of the relationship. Coordination also appears to be an issue due to the numerous actors involved in EU- ASEAN relations, including the Member States of both organisations. An important policy question remains how to reconcile the human rights needs with interests in other areas of cooperation.