The 11th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights, held in Prague, The Czech Republic from 23 – 25 November 2011, was entitled “National and Regional Human Rights Mechanisms”. The Seminar was co-organised by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (delegated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic.
The main objective of the 11th Seminar was to facilitate a dialogue on regional and national mechanism-building. Specifically, the Seminar aimed to develop recommendations to strengthen regional and national mechanisms in Asia and Europe.
The seminar opened with an opening plenary including introductory messages and keynote speeches. The second day was devoted to working group discussion which focussed on a) national human rights mechanisms; b) regional human rights mechanisms; c) procedural effectiveness of regional human rights mechanisms and d) multi-level architecture of human rights mechanisms. The closing plenary featured reports from the working groups and seminar conclusions.
This was the largest dialogue event of this nature with approximately 100 participants. The following invitation arrangement has been put in place since the 7th Seminar in 2006 in order to ensure balance between Asian and European participants, modified now to include new ASEM partners:
1. From the 16 Asian countries: two civil society participants and one official representative each
2. From the 27 EU countries: one civil society participant and one official representative each
3. From Australia, New Zealand and Russia: one civil society participant and one official representative each
The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights launched in 1997 is the largest meeting point between the two regions on human rights issues that brings together a mix of government officials and civil society participants of the 48 ASEM partners to engage in frank, unofficial and closed-door discussion. It seeks to help deepen relations between civil society actors and governments in Asia and Europe on human rights issues.