[In the news] Noynoy should lead opposition to Myanmar’s Asean bid: HRW – Interaksyon.com

Noynoy should lead opposition to Myanmar’s Asean bid: HRW – Interaksyon.com.

InterAksyon.com, Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno S. Aquino III should take the lead in opposing Myanmar’s wish to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014 until the military junta “takes genuine steps toward improving human rights,” Human Rights Watch said Friday.

ASEAN is considering giving military-led Myanmar the chair of the grouping in 2014, despite grave concerns about human rights abuses and sham democracy.

Senior ASEAN officials gathering in Jakarta ahead of a leadership summit at the weekend said Myanmar — also known as Burma — had sought the chair of the 10-nation bloc in 2014, when communist Laos is due to take the job.

ASEAN’s chairmanship rotates alphabetically among its member states. Myanmar relinquished its turn in 2006 due to international pressure for democratic reforms. But the country also wanted assurances that it could ask to lead the group at any time if it felt it was ready, ASEAN officials said.

“Myanmar feels that this is it, this is their chance,” an ASEAN diplomatic source told the Agence France-Presse on the sidelines of the discussions.

Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy director for Asia, said that the Philippines  was among the few ASEAN countries that did not equate the rigged elections in Myanmar last November with genuine democratic reforms.  “President Benigno Aquino III should spearhead an ASEAN strategy for bringing about real human rights improvements in Burma,” Pearson said.

Aquino, the son of Filipino democracy icons Corazon and Ninoy, has in the past called for the release of political prisoners in Myanmar.

Read full article @ InterAksyon.com


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