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Taylor & Francis
Published in Journal of Human Rights, 13(4) 2014: 414-33.
The status of human rights in Southeast Asia is under increasing scrutiny as the process of community building culminates in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). National, regional, and external civil society actors now populate the ASEAN “human rights space” pressuring member governments and ASEAN institutions. This article investigates the status of human rights in the 10 member states of ASEAN by presenting the patterns of ratification, reservation, and fulfillment of the core global human rights treaties. This analysis suggests that, despite a growing number of treaty ratifications, compliance with the standards those treaties include remains elusive. Reservations, resistance to the optional protocols, and nonsubmission of reports to the relevant treaty bodies suggest that ratification has not led to full compliance. The article concludes that Southeast Asian states will continue to diversify with regard to human rights, placing great strain not only on the AICHR but ASEAN itself.