Monday, November 19, 2012
The Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has adopted its first ever Declaration on Human Rights. While reaffirming the Member States' commitment to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, the new ASEAN Declaration tends to emphasize a balance of rights and duties and to allow more room for a state to argue that it is necessary to curtail certain rights in the public interest as compared to other international human rights documents. For this reason, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern (here) that the ASEAN Declaration may not fully comply with international standards.
The Member States of ASEAN include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The adoption of the Declaration coincides with a visit to several of these nations by U.S. President Barak Obama, including the first visit ever of a sitting U.S. President to Myanmar.