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ASEAN Chair A Potential Coming of Age for Laos

Vientiane takes centre stage this year, as ASEAN chair. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is also becoming a magnet for competing powers, but some analysts say it is a potential coming of age for the relatively isolated country, says this article from The Straits Times.

Asia Leaps Forward in Regional Economic Integration

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 3 2013 (IPS) – As the United Nations continues to intensify the promotion of South-South cooperation among member states, Asia plans to take a great leap forward in regional economic integration during the next decade.

Cambodian Activists Challenge ASEAN Policies

PHNOM PENH, Dec 13 2012 (IPS) – For a brief moment last month, mainstream international media turned the spotlight on Cambodia, one of the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs), as a high-level visit from U.S. President Barack Obama and the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gave this country of 14.3 million people a glamorous edge.

ASEAN Member Countries Should Complement, Not Compete

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 (The Star) – With Asean forging ahead with its Asean Economic Community (AEC) plans, member countries of South-East Asia should seek to create a synergy based on their strengths rather than out-do each other.

ASEAN: Myanmar Needs Urgent Humanitarian Aid

Dec 3 (The Jakarta Globe) – Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus supports the United Nations’ calls for urgent action to deliver humanitarian aid to displaced peoples in the country.

AEC Pushed Back 12 Months

PHNOM PENH, Nov 19 (Bangkok Post) – Asean leaders have decided to delay the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) for 12 months from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2015 to prepare the necessary regulations.

Civil Society Rejects ‘Flawed’ ASEAN Rights Declaration

PHNOM PENH, Nov 15 – A group of 62 human rights and other organisations say the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, expected to be adopted at the ASEAN summit later this month in Cambodia, is “not worthy of its name” and issued a statement roundly rejecting it if the document is indeed issued in its current form.

ASEAN Human Rights Fails To Impress UNHRC

JAKARTA, Nov 14 (The Jakarta Post) – The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Navanethem Pillay has called on ASEAN leaders to suspend the adoption of the first-ever human rights declaration.

ASEM Summit Brings Great Benefits to Laos

VIENTIANE, Nov 10 (Vientiane Times) – The recent 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9) Summit creates a new record in Laos’ political history, and with many new bilateral agreements between Laos and other ASEM member countries complete.

Postpone ASEAN Human Rights Declaration

BANGKOK, Nov 5 (The International Federation for Human Rights) – In a letter sent today to ASEAN Heads of State, leading international human rights organizations called for the postponement of the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, pointing out that in its current form, the Declaration falls short of existing international human rights standards and risks creating a sub-standard level of human rights protection in the region.

First ASEAN Human Rights Declaration Criticised

JAKARTA, Oct 29 (The Jakarta Post) – Civil society groups in ASEAN have expressed disappointment over the content and process of the first-ever ASEAN human rights declaration, which aims to ensure human rights protection for 600 million people in the region.

Civil Groups Fail To Delay Adoption Of Declaration

BANGKOK, Oct 13 (Bangkok Post) – Thai civil society organisations have failed in a last-ditch effort to derail the ratification of the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) at the 21st Asean Summit, to be held in Phnom Penh next month.

Interaction in ASEAN Should Not Just Focus On Liberalisation Alone

BANGKOK, Oct 16 (Bangkok Post) – Further integration and economic growth in Asean should not focus on liberalisation alone, but also take into account inclusivity and poverty, two issues that need more attention across the region, said Indonesian Finance Minister Mahendra Siregar.

‘Flawed’ Human Rights Document Would Hurt ASEAN – Activists

In this Sep.26 open letter, human rights activists argue that “serious flaws” in the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, set to be adopted by ASEAN later in the year, must be addressed. If not, they say, the declaration would “not bode well for the reputation and credibility” of the ASEAN human rights mechanism.

What ‘Public Morality’? Women’s Groups Ask

In this July 2012 statement, the South-east Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN argues that the phrase ‘public morality’ has no place in the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration because it can too easily be used to violate the rights of women and girls.

ASEAN’s 2015 Union May Be Delayed – Surin

PHNOM PENH/MANILA, Sep 12 (Business World Online) – A planned economic union in Southeast Asia is likely to be delayed by a year because some countries are not ready, said Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN Dragging Feet on Services FTA – Indian official

SINGAPORE, Sep 10 2012 (The Hindu Business Line) – The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been slower in responding to India’s proposal to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Services, former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said here today.

Laos’ Herculean Effort to Join the WTO

GENEVA, Apr 30 2012 (IPS) – After almost a decade of major economic transformation, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is on the brink of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership. But the small country’s Herculean effort to join the exclusive trade club is a reminder to the ten other least developed countries (LDCs) now seeking membership of the cumbersome process involved.

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