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UN urges credibility for Asian human rights agency

UN urges credibility for Asian human rights agency article image
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will launch the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the first regional human rights body in the Asia-Pacific, when regional leaders meet in Hua Hin, Thailand, for their annual summit tomorrow. The United Nations has supported the AICHR, but said ASEAN must ensure it establishes the body as a "credible regional mechanism," said UN human rights regional representative Homayoun Alizadeh: "There is much hope and expectation surrounding this occasion, as it represents an important commitment by states in the region to move beyond mere words." ASEAN's reputation for human rights abuses has been soiled by member states such as Myanmar (Burma), which is currently ruled by the military, and Thailand, for alleged mistreatment of immigrants from Myanmar. Myanmar will hold elections next year as part of their democratic reforms, but is unlikely to release  National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest to contest them. Suu Kyi won the last election in 1990, but the military junta has refused to recognise the result. She has spent 14 years of the past two decades under house arrest.

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