Thursday, 23 October 2014

Southeast Asia

Asean Rights Declaration ‘Not Perfect,’ But Can Be Improved, Expert Says

U.S. President Barack Obama, fifth from left, stands hand in hand with ASEAN leaders for a family photo during the ASEAN-U.S. leaders' meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. They are, from left, Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Obama, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Myanmar's President Thein Sein. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)U.S. President Barack Obama, fifth from left, stands hand in hand with ASEAN leaders for a family photo during the ASEAN-U.S. leaders' meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. They are, from left, Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Obama, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Myanmar's President Thein Sein. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
x
U.S. President Barack Obama, fifth from left, stands hand in hand with ASEAN leaders for a family photo during the ASEAN-U.S. leaders' meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. They are, from left, Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Obama, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Myanmar's President Thein Sein. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama, fifth from left, stands hand in hand with ASEAN leaders for a family photo during the ASEAN-U.S. leaders' meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. They are, from left, Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Obama, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Myanmar's President Thein Sein. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sok KhemaraVOA Khmer
WASHINGTON DC - Asean’s Human Rights Declaration is coming under heavy criticism from international organizations and US officials, but some rights experts say it can be improved as time goes on.

Rights advocates worry about vague language in the declaration that could shield autocratic regimes from abiding by international human rights norms. Supporters say the document will reenforce already existing international protocols.

“It’s not perfect, but that doesn’t mean it should be denounced,” said Christina Cerna, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington. “I think it is up to civil society to continue to push for improvement.”

However, critics say that will mean more and more demands from traditionally closed regimes across the region, many of whose rights records are spotty. The declaration makes allowances for curbing freedom of assembly, for example, to protect national security or public order, phrasing that critics say provides a loophole for crackdowns on public demonstrations.

However, Cerna said that Asean has gone for more than 30 years without a rights declaration, and the new document creates a baseline for improvement. Civil society can now push for better protection mechanisms and file complaints with the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, she said.

Supporters of the document within Asean say it is up to international standards and does nothing to contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international rights laws.

Meanwhile, the declaration has opened more dialogue on regional rights issues. US officials and international rights advocates met recently in  Washington to discuss ideas that are not always talked about.

In a US-Asean symposium to discuss the declaration in November, Daniel Baer, who is in charge of the human rights bureau at the US State Department, voiced “deep disappointment and concern” with the declaration, which was passed by Asean Nov. 18.

The declaration’s language “could be interpreted as undermining the universal rights and freedoms” within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Bill of Rights, Baer said. The declaration could also “advance caveats based on cultural relativism, subordination of universal principles to domestic law, novel or unique limitations to universal rights, and group veto potential over individually-held rights.”
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Illegal Logging Ravaging the Last Forests, Activists Sayi
X
22 October 2014
Forestry activists say at least 55,000 tons of luxury wood has been sent from Cambodia to China this year alone. Activists, from communities that live near some of Cambodia’s last forests, told reporters Wednesday that illegal logging is ravaging their homelands, as part of a “systematic” trade that includes the participation of high-ranking officials, authorities and security forces. (Kong Sothanarith, Phnom Penh)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face the Music (Movie: Yes Man)i
X
20 October 2014
You can say, "You lied, and lied, but this time you got caught. It's time you 'face the music'. It's time you confess and tell the truth." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Face the Music (Movie: Yes Man)

You can say, "You lied, and lied, but this time you got caught. It's time you 'face the music'. It's time you confess and tell the truth." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Hit the Nail on the Head (Movie: Inside Job)

You can say, "The professor 'hit the nail on the head' when she said, that we cannot demand respect, respect must be earned and not given freely." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish or www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori. To contact Mani & Mori
Video

Video Speak of the Devil (Movie: Easy A)

You can say, "Speaking of the devil, there she is! Hey, we were just talking about you a moment ago." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Rock the Boat (Movie: 500 Days of Summer)

You can say, "Things are going really well between the two of you - he's happy and you're happy, so why 'rock the boat'?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>