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Pattaya Daily News

20 July 2009 :: 23:07:59 pm 35878

PM: ASEAN Human Rights Action “A Good Start” To Protect Region’s People

PHUKET, July 20 Making some progress toward an ideal human rights package for Southeast Asia is better than no progress at all, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seemed to say Monday, in response to a draft statement he had not yet analyzed.
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Commenting that instead of continued inaction, ASEAN has chosen to make a statement, affirming that human rights matter in every country in the region.

“While I haven?t yet seen the conclusion, I think it represents clear progress,” he said.

Establishment of the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) human rights body proposed on the draft terms of reference is a good start, Mr. Abhisit said, but it still needs further development as it faces criticism that it has ?no teeth? and will be powerless to tackle rogue members such as military-ruled Myanmar.

Mr. Abhisit said he has been informed that a number of issues being considered at the meeting have made progress including establishment of a human rights body.

It does represent progress for the region, the Thai leader affirmed, in his capacity as chairman of ASEAN.

He said the ASEAN human rights watchdog is aimed at promoting and protecting the human rights of all people throughout the region.

After establishing the body, the Thai prime minister said, the body should have credibility and it must have continued development toward the ideal.

In the case of Myanmar, he said, it will begin with promoting human rights, but at the same time he said that rights protection would not be ignored. ASEAN leaders are scheduled to discuss the body at the pact?s October summit.

“I think it is a good start to initiate establishing the human rights body rather than to leave it without any progress. I haven’t seen the conclusion, but I think it should have clear direction,” he said.

Foreign ministers of ASEAN meeting in Phuket on Sunday tentatively approved a final draft on human rights  the Terms of Reference for an ASEAN Human Rights Body proposed by the High-Level Panel (HLP) on a Human Rights Body.

The ministers agreed to discuss the draft terms at their Foreign Ministers Retreat Monday as the proposed name of the body was ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights.

Thai prime minister also said that the body would help encourage Myanmar to move on the way to democracy, not to alienate it, as agreed by United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The premier, meanwhile, said as Thailand is an open country, it is ready to be monitored any time by any human rights groups of situations of human rights violations in the country. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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