• Las Pinas City, Philippines

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A wire service story this week criticized the hypocrisy and cowardice of the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations when it comes to substantive and procedural human rights issues involving member states, especially Burma (aka Myanmar). Recently, ASEAN leaders, at a summit meeting, bragged before the world mass media that ASEAN would someday be like the European Union in content, structure, vision and aspirations. That dream is a big joke and is more like a press-release beautification effort to sanitize the poor human rights image of the region and its top leaders.

I still have to wait and see how the ASEAN Human Rights Commission will turn out in terms of structure, composition, operations, transparency, accountability, moral courage and commitment to the enforcement of the universal precepts of human rights in the region. I will need at least five years to do that. The commission must be strictly monitored by human rights advocates and lawyers in the region.

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