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New ASEAN rights doc draws fire

New ASEAN rights doc draws fire

Criticism of the just-adopted ASEAN Human Rights Declaration continued yesterday as dozens of civil society groups from several member states denounced an agreement they consider to be riddled with loopholes.

“In many of its articles, the enjoyment of rights is made subject to national laws, instead of requiring that the laws be consistent with the rights,” the statement reads, referring to provisos such as the controversial “public morality” clause, which critics fear gives more conservative societies an excuse to ignore the rights of women and the LGBT community.

“It is deplorable that the governments of ASEAN have insisted on making a Declaration that implies that their people are less deserving of human rights than the people of Europe, Africa or the Americas,” the statement reads.

ASEAN officials have generally praised the adoption of the declaration, calling it a step forward.

They have also argued that since the document is not yet officially public, observers shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Freeman at [email protected]

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