AMM to focus on human rights, South China Sea
ASEAN will hold its 45th ministerial meeting (AMM) from July 6 to 13 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and is expected to focus on a declaration of human rights and solutions regarding South China Sea territorial disputes.
“Among the issues to be discussed during the meeting will be the draft of the ASEAN human rights declaration that the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights [AICHR] has formulated,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters at his office on Thursday.
The AICHR has finalized the draft declaration to be submitted to the 45th AMM in Phnom Penh in July for deliberation. Cambodia, which holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN, wants the region’s first declaration on human rights to be approved at the ASEAN Summit in November.
The declaration will be one of the most important documents drafted since the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in 2007. However, the drafting process has been criticized for its lack of public participation, particularly by civil society organizations.
In addition to the ASEAN declaration on human rights, the AMM is also scheduled to discuss a regional code of conduct (COC) regarding the South China Sea.
Marty said that the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) had completed identifying elements for the COC and would submit them to member nations for recommendations.
“Indonesia will specifically examine whether the COC is instructive enough to be implemented as rules of the road in the South China Sea, otherwise it will likely turn into just another declaration of conduct without a power to direct how to behave,” Marty said.
“[Indonesia] has always believed that threats in the South China Sea are unintended accidents. Therefore, I personally think that we must seek to prevent disputed countries from conducting unnecessary manoeuvres,” he added.
The AMM would also raise other issues, such as Myanmar, the Korean Peninsula, escalating violence in Syria, and the developments in the Middle East.
“I think the talk on Myanmar will not pay too much attention due to the country’s developments in the past year. During the meeting next month, we will express appreciation for what Myanmar has achieved in terms of many things, including in the promotion and protection of human rights. The meeting will also discuss on the prospect of Myanmar to chair the ASEAN in 2014 to encourage the country to continue its reform,” Marty said.
The AMM, Marty added, would also review a plan of action issued by the association’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) during the last year’s ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
Last year, ASEAN leaders signed the Bali Declaration on the ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations, or the Bali Concord III, to map out the interaction between ASEAN and the global community.
“We will further discuss the action plan during our meeting in Cambodia next month that we can establish it as a road map for an action plan for the next 10 years,” said Marty.