Voice your concerns, but don’t expect to dictate how the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will be written, was the message from the Cambodian Human Rights Commission chief yesterday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press freedom workshop in Phnom Penh, Om Yintieng, who also serves as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, told reporters that there would be no public circulation of the much-anticipated AHRD prior to its adoption in November.
“[ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights] met with NGOs three times already. We listened to them, but they asked us to show a draft,” Om Yintieng said, adding the draft was under “closed seal”.
“NGOs want to write it instead of us, but they don’t know their duties,” he said. “The declaration is for all 800 million ASEAN people, so if those 800 million people want to help, in 800 million years we will not be able to finish it.”
Om Yintieng said that the commission aimed to submit the draft to all 10 ASEAN foreign ministers for review and to seek their input.
“And we hope that in November, we will declare it.”
Cambodian Center for Human Rights president Ou Virak said that without a circulation of the draft, rights groups could not properly provide recommendations or feedback.
“And you can’t call that consultation,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]