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Pattaya Daily News

20 July 2009 :: 20:07:06 pm 35895

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Approve Establishment of Human Rights Watchdog

PHUKET, July 20 - Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) approved the Terms of Reference (ToR) for an ASEAN human rights body and affirmed collective efforts to enhance regional capabilities to combat pandemic disease, particularly influenza A(H1N1).
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In a joint communique from the 42th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phuket under the theme “Acting Together to Cope with Global Challenges,” the foreign ministers said they endorsed the framework terms of the human rights body and agreed to name it “the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

The body is expected to be launched at the 15th ASEAN Summit in October in Thailand even though the body faces criticism that it has no teeth and will be powerless to tackle what one minister described as rogue members such as military-ruled Myanmar.

ASEAN’s foreign ministers welcomed the successful outcome of the ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Special Meeting on Influenza A(H1N1) held in Bangkok on May 8.

They underlined the need to fulfill commitments under the Joint Ministerial Statement including the continuous implementation of national pandemic preparedness plans and strengthening surveillance and responses.

The need to enhance cooperation to produce affordable vaccines for influenza A(H1N1) was stressed at the meeting and the ministers also encouraged the agencies concerned to explore possible establishment of research and manufacturing facilities and arrangements in the region to combat future disease outbreaks.

In the statement, the foreign ministers also strongly condemned the bombings in Jakarta on July 17, which caused loss of innocent lives and injuries. It said ASEAN extended solidarity to Indonesia and affirmed commitment to strengthen all efforts to combat terrorism and extremism in the region.

As for Myanmar, the statement said ASEAN Foreign Ministers encouraged the Myanmar government to hold a free, fair and inclusive election in 2010. They also urged Myanmar to immediately release all those under detention, including Aung San Suu Kyi and pave the way for genuine reconciliation.

ASEAN Foreign Ministers expressed concern over the impact of the global economic and financial crisis and reiterated commitment to implementing necessary measures to overcome the crisis including macroeconomic policy coordination and standing firm against protectionism.

Thailand is hosting the seven days of the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) and the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) from Friday (July 17), running through Thursday (July 23).

Thailand will pass on its chairmanship to Vietnam in December. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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