Cambodia recently became the sixth nation to ratify the ASEAN Charter. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, is an organization comprised of ten Southeast Asian nations whose aim is promote regional cooperation on economic, social and security issues. Drafted in late 2007 after over two years of deliberations, the Charter has come under intense criticism for not forcefully addressing human rights. The failure to address human rights is especially pertinent given the widely-documented human rights abuses of Myanmar (Burma), a member state since 1997. Its defenders argue that the Charter, though watered-down, still signifies an important development in the organization’s 40 year history. It will not go into effect until ratified by all ten member states.
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