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Opposition mounts to rights draft

Opposition mounts to rights draft

The chorus of opposition to a proposed ASEAN human-rights declaration grew louder yesterday, as rights groups urged senior ministers not to adopt it at a regional forum in Phnom Penh later this month.

Groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch believe the proposed draft, put forward by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, falls short of current human-rights standards.

“Of particular concern are the General Principles in the Declaration,” a statement issued yesterday by nine international groups reads.

“Under...  the current draft, enjoyment of rights is to be ‘balanced with the performance of duties’, subjected to ‘national and regional contexts’ and to considerations of ‘different cultural, religious and historical backgrounds’.”

A number of civil-society groups have expressed concern over the wording of the document, which senior ministers are expected to sign off on this month.

It includes a clause limiting rights on grounds of “public morality”. 

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