19 April 2021

Introducing the AUN Thematic Network Series #6 – AUN-HRE

AUN Writer Team

The ASEAN University Network - Human Rights Education (AUN-HRE) serves as a network of academic collaboration by AUN Member Universities to promote the respect of human rights and sustainability of peace in ASEAN/SEA through human rights and peace education, research, capacity building and advocacy.

AUN - HRE was endorsed by the ASEAN University Network Board of Trustees during its Meeting on 28 - 29 July 2009. Recognizing that there is no human rights without peace, the sub-network which focuses on human rights education also includes peace component into its activities. AUN-HRE now boasts 30 Member Universities in ASEAN. Inspired by the ASEAN vision 2025 and other relevant documents such as the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, the AUN-HRE moves towards its shared vision of ASEAN people-centered where human rights of ASEAN people is better respected and protected and peace is sustained.

AUN-HRE’s ultimate goal is to contribute to inculcate human rights and peace culture and to empower individuals in the SEA region. Its specific objectives include:

  1. Strengthen the network of experts and scholars in the area of human rights studies
  2. Enhance capacity of AUN Member Universities in developing curricular/ programme/ course in human rights, peace  and related field
  3. Raise human rights awareness and enhance regional cooperation that will lead to better protection
  4. Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

To promote human rights and peace education and research, the AUN-HRE builds and strengthens partnerships with other networks and funders. In 2015, together with the Southeast Asian Human Rights Studies Network (SEAHRN), AUN-HRE initiated the Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA), a programme supported by Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), Oslo University, Norway. AUN-HRE is committed to creating a critical mass of human rights and peace academics in the region.  

One of the programs in collaboration with SHAPE-SEA includes lecturer’s workshops aimed at strengthening the capacities of lecturers invested in teaching human rights. The 4th Lecturer Workshop on Teaching Human Rights which  was held online between August to November 2020, further building the capacity of university lecturers in effectively teaching human rights, enhancing capacity in learning methods, and designing course/syllabus. It also aimed at providing a platform for mutual learning among participants and sharing experiences.

Additionally, AUN-HRE focuses on policy advocacy and government engagement, student engagement, and regional network meetings together with cooperation beyond ASEAN/Southeast Asia (SEA). Activities such as conferences and special panels on different human rights issues, academic research grants, and outreach activities are conducted by SHAPE SEA to further human rights in the region and beyond. Activities provided opportunities for network building among participants by identifying possible joint activities, collaborating on research projects, and unifying specific issues across institutions.

Ever since its establishment in 2009, AUN-HRE has continued its mission in the hopes of achieving peace and upholding human rights within the region and beyond. AUN-HRE envisions the establishment of a culture of human rights and peace in Southeast Asia through academic networking, collaboration and capacity building. With this, AUN-HRE hopes to continue the advocacy of the maintenance and development of human rights as it continues to be a reliable, constructive and nurturing hub for the attainment of peace and human rights in the region.

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In our next article, we will look at AUN-USR&S, who work to promote social responsibility and community development in ASEAN by connecting higher education institutions to other diverse stakeholders.