Nov 18, 2012

Cambodia - ASEAN adopts human rights declaration despite critics

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PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) - ASEAN members adopted a Human Rights Declaration here on Sunday that is aimed at reducing illegal arrests and torture, but it is beset by criticisms from activists that charge it is too flawed to be effective.

The document was signed by ASEAN leaders on the first day of the summit after a last minute addition of a fresh paragraph due to critics.

The new paragraph was added to the second section of the document that deals with its operating mechanism.

Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia Dr. Kao Kim Hourn told a press conference on Saturday that following discussions members had decided to add a paragraph to the Declaration.

"The new paragraph will be focusing on ensuring implementation of the declaration in accordance with international and ASEAN commitments held by the members," Hourn noted.

The document had earlier run into criticism from activists that insisted it was too flawed to be passed but Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong told media earlier that it was a " starting point" for the region to address human rights concerns.

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