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A Lot More Talk by ASEAN Than Action

JAKARTA, Nov 26 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Faced with a continuing stream of foreign vessels that harvest its marine resources illegally, Indonesia has stepped up efforts to have the problem resolved at the regional level. But it is not finding it easy to push for action within ASEAN, despite all the discussions about illegal fishing among the members of the regional organisation.

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.

Sustainable Tourism, A Balancing Act

PATONG BEACH, Thailand, Nov 13 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – On a bright summer afternoon at this beach here in Phuket, Pinporn Teerarak, a 30-year-old female tour planner with tanned skin and sun-coloured hair, looks pensively out to sea.

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.

ASEAN will Open Up to Viet Nam Skills

HANOI, Oct 29 – ASEAN nations will pilot a free labour market for skilled workers and professionals in 2015 as part of a plan to integrate the region economically. This will enable workers to move freely in the region. However, little information on the process has been made available. Most Vietnamese have never heard of the scheme.

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.

MYANMAR: Easy Does It, Foreign Donors Told

TOKYO, Oct 12 (TerraViva) – Foreign donors are rushing into Burma, whose government has been pushing the right political buttons as part of its democratic reform process. But development planners and Burmese activists here caution that the best approach should still be ‘easy does it’.

Rapid Dev’t Eating Up Food Security

TOKYO, Oct 12 (TerraViva) – Call it a flipside of South-east Asia’s robust economic growth: Its economies are churning out healthy growth rates, but this rapid development is also eating into its food security.

‘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 Urged to Set Up Mechanism for Migrants’ Rights

It has been five years since ASEAN adopted a declaration to protect and promote migrant workers’ rights, but it still has not managed to hammer out a legally binding instrument to implement this path-breaking declaration. Critics say ASEAN is much more friendly to business than to its own migrant workers, prompting one to call it “schizophrenic”. Vera Files’ Tess Bacalla reports on ASEAN’s uphill climb to come to terms with the migrants in its midst.

ASEAN Locks Horns on Migrant Workers’ Rights

In the second part of this series, Tess Bacalla looks into ASEAN’s challenge of trying to forge regional policy – and action – on labour migration, a topic that member countries have for long considered a touchy issue and have conflicting interests on.

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).

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