Human rights have always been a sensitive issue amongst the states in Southeast Asia and in large absent on the agenda of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The overall purpose with this study is to examine the recently established human rights regime within ASEAN, consisting of the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Women and Children (ACWC). Can this human rights regime have any effective impact on state behaviour? In an attempt to assess this issue, the author examines (1) the history and approaches to human rights in the Southeast Asian region with ASEAN as the framework for human rights cooperation; (2) international standards for human right regimes in general and how they can be assessed; (3) and, against this framework, the ASEAN Charter and the Terms of Reference (ToRs) to the AICHR and ACWC. What institutional framework does the ASEAN Charter create and what potential measures can the commissions adopt to engender a framework for human rights protection in the region?