International treaties do not have "significant teeth" to enforce breaches of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Dr Jackie Mowbray from the Sydney Centre for International Law told Lawyers Weekly last week.
Mowbray will be representing the centre when the parliamentary Human Right Sub-Committee comes to Sydney on Wednesday to discuss local mechanisms to protect human rights in Asia and the Pacific.
The difficulty with the region, Mowbray said, is that many states have not signed up to international conventions and many don't feel a sense of ownership over human rights documents.
"So I guess the push with Asian or Asia Pacific human rights mechanisms would be for countries in this region to come together and say 'Yes, this is what we believe, these are rights that we think should be protected'," she told Lawyers Weekly.
"This is opposed to simply signing up to an international document that was already in existence, that is sometimes subject to the criticism [that] .it was really just western powers and western thought that went into developing those international treaties."
- Sarah Sharples