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New ASEAN rights body should not be too ambitious: Singapore official

[JURIST] Singapore Second Foreign Minister Raymond Lim said in a speech Wednesday that the new human rights body of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) [official website] should not set initial standards too high [AFP report] for the organization's member states. The terms and powers of the new human rights body will be determined in Singapore next month at the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. Lim added that promulgating the rules and terms of the new body would be difficult, and that strict deadlines should not be set for its creation. From China, Xinhua has more.

In November 2007, member states adopted the ASEAN Charter [text, PDF; JURIST report], which is designed to unite the nations into an economic block similar to the European Union. Article 14 of the Charter provides for the establishment of an ASEAN human rights body in order to promote and protect human rights and other fundamental freedoms in member states. In July 2007, ASEAN members agreed in principle [JURIST report] to the creation of the human rights body. Myanmar [JURIST news archive] had opposed the establishment of the human rights group, and Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam [JURIST news archives] had also sought to delay its creation.

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