PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- Southeast Asian leaders on Sunday adopted a human rights declaration despite last-minute calls for a postponement by critics, including Washington, who said the pact contains loopholes that could allow atrocities to continue.
The 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an unwieldy bloc of liberal democracies and authoritarian states, signed a document adopting the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, where the heads of state were holding an annual summit.
The nonbinding declaration calls for an end to torture, arbitrary arrests and other rights violations that have been longtime concerns in Southeast Asia, which rights activists once derisively described as being ruled by a "club of dictators."
ASEAN diplomats have called the declaration a milestone in the region despite its imperfections, saying it will help cement democratic reforms in countries such as Myanmar, which until recently has been widely condemned for its human rights record.
So... the objection to a human rights declaration is that there are "loopholes" that COULD allow atrocities to continue? As opposed to doing nothing at all, which will DEFINITELY allow atrocities to continue? I am at a loss for words.
I guess Tibet isn't in Southeast Asia, so they wouldn't be helped like this, but I wonder if this human rights declaration takes a strong stand on genocide in all its forms.
For example, what makes the Tibet genocide so insidious is that IN ADDITION TO the government sanctioned murder of Tibetans and the silencing of political dissidents, there is an unrestricted influx of Chinese migrants to Tibet, often with government subsidies. Throw in forced assimilation with the Chinese, and this further marginalizes the Tibetan people, threatening to make them a minority in their own homeland.
In other words, unless more subtle acts of genocide are also covered, regional governments can continue to violate human rights in the area so long as they clean up their image, and aren't overtly violent.