24. The Ministers agreed to strengthen mutual cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights. In this regard, they welcomed the progress made by the High Level Panel on an ASEAN human rights body, which has already submitted the first draft of the terms of reference on an ASEAN human rights body to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Ministers also looked forward to the adoption of the terms of reference and the eventual establishment of the ASEAN human rights body. The Ministers noted the outcome of the work of the High Level Legal Experts’ Group on Follow-up to the ASEAN Charter in drafting the recommendations on the issues of the legal personality of ASEAN, the establishment of dispute settlement mechanisms and other legal issues related to the ASEAN Charter.
27. In the light of the concern about the recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Ministers exchanged views on the issue. The EU informed about its efforts by EU Special Envoy Piero Fassino to support the UN mission. The EU took note and endorsed the statement by the Chair of ASEAN on 18 May 2009 relating to Myanmar. In this regard, the Ministers called for the early release of those under detention and the lifting of restrictions placed on political parties. They expressed their unanimous support for the good offices role of the UN Secretary General and his planned visit. The Ministers took note of the briefing by Myanmar on the recent internal developments and Myanmar’s emphasis on the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. Myanmar also reiterated that she will continue toward democracy in accordance with the seven step road map. The Ministers noted the visit to
Myanmar in February 2009 by the UN Secretary-General Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari and supported the UN to continue its good offices efforts, and they encouraged the Myanmar Government to conduct closer cooperation with the UN. They also encouraged the Myanmar Government to engage all stakeholders in an inclusive political process in order to achieve national reconciliation and economic and social development. They called upon the Myanmar Government to prepare and conduct the multi-party general election in 2010 in a free and fair manner. The Ministers affirmed their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar. In that context, they reiterated that the future of Myanmar lied in the hands of all of its people.
Joint Co-Chairmen’s Statement of the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting
ASEAN and the EU released a joint statement at the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting. Below are 2 paragraphs from the statement relating to human rights in ASEAN.