Ministers discuss human rights

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Brunei's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other Asean Foreign Ministers, yesterday afternoon, attended meetings with the Asean Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights Representatives (AICHR Commission) and the Commission for the Treaty on Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ) at the Peace Palace, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

His Royal Highness and fellow Asean ministers, last evening, attended a Working Dinner hosted by Nor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Chairman of the 45th Asean Ministerial Meeting at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh.

Meanwhile, the draft Human Rights Declaration will be adopted by Asean leaders at the 21st Asean Summit to be held here in November, said a Cambodian senior official, Xinhua reported.

"The Asean foreign ministers have urged the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) representatives to finalise the draft by October this year so that it will be ready for the Asean leaders to pass in November," Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary of State at Cambodia's foreign ministry, said in a press briefing after the meeting between the Asean FMs and AICHR representatives at Phnom Penh's Peace Palace.

"This landmark document will reflect Asean's aspirations and commitments to the promotion and protection of human rights," said a press release ahead of the meeting.

The declaration will be very important for the Asean to build an Asean with the goal: One Community, One Destiny.

The meeting is part of a series of meetings including the 45th Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences, the 19th Asean Regional Forum (ARF), and the 2nd East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting (EAS FMM) that will be held in Phnom Penh from July 9-13.

Meanwhile, senior officials from China and Southeast Asian countries met here Sunday in preparation for an upcoming meeting of their foreign ministers.

During the meeting, attended by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying, the participants from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) underlined their commitment to continued implementation of a declaration over South China Sea reached in 2002 between the two sides.

They agreed to carry out "the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in South China Sea" (DOC) in a comprehensive and effective manner as well as cooperation projects under the DOC framework with the purpose of upholding peace and stability in South China Sea.

The Chinese and Asean officials also held informal discussions on how to jointly formulate a code of conduct in South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins the Asean Regional Forum in Phnom Penh on Thursday. - Borneo Bulletin (9 July 2012)