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Jakarta Post

Civil groups urge ASEAN to include protection mandate

  • Lilian Budianto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 23 2009   /  01:23 pm

Civil groups in Southeast Asia urged the region's governments at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Friday to include more protection in the mandate for ASEAN's new human rights body, in an effort to buck the rights slide in the 42-year-old bloc. A high-level panel of regional officials is finalizing the ASEAN human rights body (AHRB), a mandate assigned under the 2008 ASEAN Charter, after submitting the first draft during the ASEAN Summit in Thailand last month. The draft will be finalized in July and the body will be set up sometime early next year. Activists have raised concerns that the body will be toothless as it has no clear and strong mandate to press forward with rights reform in member states that have poor human rights records. Myanmar continues to arrest thousands of political activists, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, despite its commitment to enforcin...