Rights challenges in Southeast Asia.
Political will plus conviction of all can achieve the goal of a free and just society
Renato Mabunga, Manila
February 17, 2012
Recent developments in Myanmar have brought to the fore a growing movement in previously isolated countries in Southeast Asia.
These countries have had no choice but to reach out and work together, either voluntarily or involuntarily, because of the emergence of new regional alliances, advances in telecommunications, biotechnology and transportation that has prompted unprecedented demographic shifts.
Countries like the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, which all have suffered from extreme poverty and illiteracy, are now starting to talk more openly and loudly about human rights protection, though their performance on this issue still fails to meet international expectations and the subject is still treated in a selective, if not politicized, manner.
Most of these governments continue to hide behind the cloak of “non-interference in national affairs” when confronted with compliance to international laws. What continues to be generally lacking is the political will and conviction to apply governance based on a rights-based approach.
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