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ASEAN to establish regional human rights commission

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Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to establish a regional human rights commission at a meeting on Thailand's tourist resort of Phuket, ASEAN said in a statement on Monday.

PHUKET, July 20 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to establish a regional human rights commission at a meeting on Thailand's tourist resort of Phuket, ASEAN said in a statement on Monday.

ASEAN, a 10-member regional economic and geopolitical organization, is often criticized for being too soft on human rights in some of its member states, such as Myanmar and Vietnam.

"Democracy and human rights are two basic principles enshrined in the [ASEAN] Charter and we are now taking steps towards the fulfillment of those principles for our peoples," ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said.

The panel, called ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights, is expected to be formally established at the upcoming ASEAN summit in Phuket on October 23-25.

It will comprise one government-appointed representative from each member country and will be charged mainly with promoting and protecting human rights awareness in member states. The role of the panel, however, could be strengthened over time.

The ministers have also adopted a terms of reference for the commission.

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said the main task of the panel will be to give a positive example and to create conditions for human rights improvements in all the countries in the region.

 

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