ASEAN Leaders to Adopt Rights Pact Despite Protest

By: Jim Gomez, AP Email
By: Jim Gomez, AP Email

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Southeast Asian leaders plan to adopt a human rights declaration aimed at fighting torture and illegal arrests in a region notorious for violations, despite calls for a postponement by the U.N. rights chief, who says the pact falls short of international standards.

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are scheduled to formally adopt the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration on Sunday during the group's annual summit in Cambodia, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

ASEAN diplomats have called the declaration a milestone in the region despite its imperfections, saying it will help cement democratic reforms in countries such as Myanmar.

Critics, however, say the nonbinding declaration was drafted in secrecy without crucial public consultations. They say it includes conditions that could restrict a wide array of rights.

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