Learning from Norm Promotion and Capacity Building in Southeast Asia and Africa
Charles T. Hunt and Noel M. Morada
This blog is based on the Introduction in a recently published special issue, ‘Southeast Asia-Africa Dialogue: Regionalism, Norm Promotion and Capacity Building in Human Protection’, Global Responsibility to Protect, Vol.8, No.2-3 (2016).
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The special issue, guest edited by Charles T. Hunt & Noel M. Morada, is concerned with learning from Norm Promotion and Capacity Building in Southeast Asia and Africa.
The collection of articles is the product of the Southeast Asia-Africa Dialogue held in Bangkok on 29-30 October 2014 organized by the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Department of International Relations at Chulalongkorn University. The dialogue was part of the Centre’s initiative on South-South exchange among scholars, practitioners and civil society advocates from the two regions.
The main objectives of the Bangkok workshop were as follows:
- Provide a venue for dialogue and exchange of ideas among scholars, civil society representatives, and practitioners on the current state, dynamics, and challenges in norm promotion and capacity building in human rights, mass atrocities prevention, and civilian protection in Southeast Asia and Africa;
- Identify the challenges and opportunities confronting regional institutions or frameworks such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the African Union (AU), as well as sub-regional arrangements in implementing these norms; and
- Highlight the roles played by various stakeholders in building the capacity of states and regional arrangements in these regions in preventing and responding to human protection issues.
The contributors to the Special Issue, who attended the workshop, are from academe and civil society. Some have been, or continue to be, directly engaged in norm promotion and capacity building on human protection issues in Southeast Asia and Africa. Their insights and analyses of the challenges and opportunities faced by states and societies in the two regions on human protection contribute a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of translating principles and norms on human rights protection into practice.
The first set of articles in the issue focus on Southeast Asia. Noel M. Morada’s overview of ASEAN regionalism examines the evolution and milestones of the regional organisation concerning human rights protection norms. Sriprapha Petcharamesree’s article examines the ASEAN human rights regime, specifically the challenges and prospects of mainstreaming the R2P in the region by examining the roles and performance of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Lourdes Veneracion-Rallonza’s article examines the link between Women, Peace and Security (WPS) global agenda and ASEAN’s regional agenda on human protection and atrocities prevention. Lastly, Alex J. Bellamy’s article examines the Asia Pacific region’s engagement and translation of the R2P principle from commitment to practice.
The second set of articles in the issue focus on Africa. Charles T. Hunt’s overview of regionalism in Africa examines the extent to which human protection norms have diffused in the continent’s regional organisations and communities. Chukwuemeka B. Eze’s contribution is focused on the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in promoting human protection norms in the West African sub-region. Tim Murithi’s article evaluates the role of the AU as a norm entrepreneur, specifically examining the promotion of pan-African norms that relate to sovereignty and non-interference, and how human protection and mass atrocities prevention norms have evolved and been incorporated within the AU over time. Obinna Ifediora’s article then explores the institutional and governance capacity of the AU to meet an enhanced ‘regional responsibility to protect’. Finally, Phil Orchard contributes to the Issue with a timely comparative study of the contrasting experience of internally displaced persons and the responses formulated in response to these populations by the AU and ASEAN.