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About the Asia Pacific Forum

Graphic: Girl, mother and grandmother on beach

Our vision is for an Asia Pacific where human rights are universally enjoyed and respected

As a coalition of national human rights institutions, we work together and share our expertise to help make this vision a reality

No matter who we are or where we live, we all want the same thing:

  • To be treated fairly and with respect.
  • To live free from violence and discrimination.
  • To have opportunities and make choices in life.

Our goal is to help build an Asia Pacific region where everyone can enjoy these fundamental human rights.

National human rights institutions stand up for those in need of protection and hold their governments to account for their human rights obligations.

They drive genuine change: by removing discrimination in laws and policies, by improving the practices of law enforcement officials, by making sure vulnerable groups have a say in decisions that affect them, by promoting better ways of doing business, and by challenging negative stereotypes about marginalised groups.

These changes – big and small – make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and strengthen the fabric of our communities.

The APF provides the support our members need to be powerful agents for change.

We are always with the poor, with the victims. And they see that we are with them, not with the perpetrators, not with the powerful people.

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Logo Dr Sima Samar, Founding Chairperson, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission

Graphic: Nepal NHRC team meet with relative of victim

A unique contribution

Unlike the other regions in the world, there is no regional court or protection system in the Asia Pacific that people can turn to when their human rights are abused.

This is where the APF makes a unique contribution.

The APF is a coalition of 25 national human rights institutions from all corners of our region.

National human rights institutions are independent bodies with powers to investigate and report on human rights violations, to stand up for those in need of protection and to hold their governments to account.

They also help shape laws, policies, practices and attitudes that create strong, fair and inclusive communities.

A fundamental goal of the APF is to support the establishment of independent national human rights institutions in the Asia Pacific region and to strengthen our members to do this work.

We also bring our members together, and build partnerships with others, in order to tackle some of the most serious and complex human rights challenges facing our region.

As believers in the universal value of human rights and in the practice of democracy, we will draw strength to respond to respond to the challenges on a day-to-day basis.

Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines Logo Jose Luis Martin ‘Chito’ Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines

How we work

Sharing expertise and taking collective action is essential to advance genuine change on human rights issues. That's why collaboration lies at the heart of our work.

APF members have a shared vision and a shared commitment to drive positive and sustained changes for individuals and communities across the Asia Pacific.

We also work closely with a wide range of partners, including key UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

Our work is supported by donors who share our commitment to promoting and protecting human rights.

Graphic: Girls walk to school among trees, Sri Lanka

2018-19 Annual Report

Our annual report describes our work and outlines our achievements during the year under review.


Supporting Human Rights Defenders in the Asia Pacific

30 May 2024  

NHRIs commit to strengthening business and human rights

29 May 2024  

NHRI staff complete new APF online induction course

29 May 2024  

APF meets with National Human Rights Commission of Taiwan

15 May 2024  
More articles

Image credits

  1. Girl, mother and grandmother on beach - Padmanaba01, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1MGBDBd
  2. Nepal NHRC team meet with relative of victim - National Human Rights Commission of Nepal