The Jakarta Post
Indonesia will push for the creation of a regional human rights body that will have the power to monitor and investigate rights abuses in ASEAN countries, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.”We want the future rights body to be more than just an educational institution on human rights,” ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said. He added however that it was too early to talk about the kind of sanctions that will be imposed on countries that violate the rights of their citizens.
Southeast Asian ministers will meet in Thailand for the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting from June 16-23, during which a high level panel consisting of senior officials from member countries will present a document on the creation of the rights body.
The panel is mandated to complete the draft in July, but Faizasyah said it was possible to extend the drafting period should the bloc fail to reach a consensus on the issue. The bloc hopes the rights body will be established by the end of this year.
“It will not be easy (to convince our ASEAN counterparts),” he said. “I know not all ASEAN countries are progressive in terms of human rights. We hope that issue will not obstruct the inclusion of progressive elements into the rights mechanism in the region.”
ASEAN has been criticized for failing to press the military government in Myanmar to end their draconian policies against political dissenters, including the iconic pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.