Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, November 09, 2007

ASEAN charter drafted that would protect human rights

Southeast Asian leaders are expected to sign a landmark charter that would promote human rights and democracy in the region, although it is uncertain how members such as Myanmar (Burma) will be brought into line, Agence France-Presse reported today.

The charter would commit Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members “to strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Although ASEAN was founded 40 years ago as an anti-communist bloc, the charter would be the first time its codes and principles were codified.

The charter maintains, however, the principle of non-interference into internal affairs of its member states. The draft also does not mention the possibility of expulsion or suspension as punishment for ASEAN members in breach of the charter.

“The content of the charter is likely to be impressive, especially because ASEAN's international legitimacy and reputation are very important,” said Hiro Katsumata of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “But this does not mean that some of the provisions of the charter will be implemented, especially in relation to human rights and democracy in Myanmar.”

For the full story, click here.

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