Burma Ratifies ASEAN Charter but opposes Asean rights body

Myanmar Ratifies ASEAN Charter

but opposes Asean rights body

 Myanmar’s military government has said it will oppose any move to invest a new South-East Asian human rights body with investigative and monitoring powers.

Diplomats attending the annual Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) meeting said Myanmar officials were clear about their objections to the body having any monitoring authority.

The body proposed by the 10-member Asean will not have enforcement or prosecution powers.

Early this week a high-level Asean panel started work to set up the human rights body by outlining its composition, role and powers.

But on Monday Nyan Win, Myanmar’s foreign minister, urged Asean members to uphold the group’s traditional policy of non-interference in each others affairs, an unnamed diplomat present at the closed-door session with the panel, said.

Most Asean members including Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand were in favour of giving the body powers to monitor violations and offer advice.

Surin Pitsuwan, the Asean secretary-general, said the charter will serve as a guide to the panel drafting the terms of reference for the rights body.

“They’re going to follow the charter very, very closely … its principle of promoting, upholding and protecting human rights,” he said.

The human rights charter is expected to be tabled at a summit of Asean leaders later this year.

Text of report in English by Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat website on 21 July

Myanmar today presented its Instrument of Ratification of the ASEAN Charter to the Secretary-General of ASEAN Dr Surin Pitsuwan. Myanmar is the seventh ASEAN Member State to have ratified the Charter.

In a simple ceremony, Myanmar’s Foreign Minister U Nyan Win handed over the instrument of ratification to Dr Surin on the sidelines of the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers in Singapore. Dr Surin thanked Myanmar and he hopes that Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand will deposit their instruments of ratification soon. In his speech, Dr Surin said, “I believe we are on course and on time to celebrate the full ratification of the ASEAN Charter by the time of the 14th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok at the end of this year.” Dr Surin added, “The ASEAN Charter will help build an ASEAN Community that everyone can be proud of.”

The ASEAN Charter will come into force on the 30th day following the date of the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN

Originally published by ASEAN Secretariat website, Jakarta, in English 21 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.tracking

Story Source: BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

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