The Right to Education in the Era of the ASEAN Community: A Hope for the Regional Human Rights System

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The establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community in 2015, marked a milestone of progressive regionalisation in the Southeast Asia region. The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) were designated as pivotal organs to strengthen the realisation of the right to education as part of the rights guaranteed in the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights. The ASEAN Political-Security and Socio-Cultural communities recognise the importance of human rights. This research analyses the realisation of the right to education by the ASEAN member states. The Concluding Observations from international human rights monitoring organs are explored to describe the empirical situation of each member state. Subsequently, this article scrutinises the AICHR and ACWC within the framework of the ASEAN community and critically assesses the realisation of the right to education under the works of the AICHR and ACWC. This article concludes the realisation of the right to education in ASEAN is still challenging due to the problems of, inter alia, low allocation of resources in the education sector, high illiteracy and drop-out rates, gender discrimination in the non-traditional study program and access to quality education, especially for vulnerable groups. The AICHR and ACWC have not yet formulated specific formal instruments to address these situations. Since their respective establishment only a minor contribution has been made to advance the realisation of the right to education in the ASEAN community. In order to protect the right to education, the AICHR and ACWC have to be strengthened institutionally and financially. It is also necessary to empower the AICHR and ACWC by a quasi-legal authority to assess and inquire the ASEAN member states’ human rights’ performance. This step is a necessary for the AICHR and ACWC to make a tangible contribution to the realisation of the right to education in ASEAN.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)195-236
Number of pages41
JournalAsia Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9-Dec-2020


  • ASEAN Community; AICHR; ACWC; the right to education; human rights

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