Phnom Penh, Cambodia
18 November 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III and the rest of the ASEAN leaders welcomed the Phnom Penh statement on the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in a signing ceremony held at the Peace Palace in Cambodia’s capital.

In a statement made by President Aquino during the plenary session of the summit’s opening, he said that human rights bind together not only the ASEAN community but the entire human race, and that everyone looks forward to the implementation of instruments for the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers and their families, and for combating trafficking in persons.

“The right to live free from fear and uncertainty; to live free from hunger and poverty; to live dignified lives of opportunity: these can only be fully realized if the growth we are experiencing now is felt equitably by the majority of our peoples,” he also stressed.

Significantly, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) serves as an assurance to a Filipino working within the region that his rights will be respected.

The AHRD, which is envisioned as the ASEAN’s articulation of its human rights principles, would serve as the guiding document for activities aimed at promoting and enhancing regional cooperation on human rights. The full declaration has an improvement of having 12 more points than the international version and includes provisions on civil and political rights, economic rights, social and cultural rights, right to development, rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups and cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights.

The signing ceremony was also attended by representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights who drafted the declaration.

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