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ASEAN's 10 member states are home to about 600 million people across Southeast Asia [Reuters]
Calls mount to scrap ASEAN human rights plan

in CAMBODIA, 18/11/2012

Ten Southeast Asian nations are set to sign a declaration critics say will degrade, not protect, human rights.

Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will sign the group’s first-ever declaration on human rights on Sunday with a clear statement on the supremacy of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in an attempt to ease concerns that their own document falls short of international standards.

In a grouping that includes the Communist governments of Vietnam and Laos, as well as the monarchy of Brunei and the more vibrant democracies of Indonesia and the Philippines, it has taken years of sometimes tense negotiation for ASEAN to get this far. The commissioners who helped draft the document insist the declaration should be seen as a starting point, rather than an end in itself.

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