International Human Rights

Non-Intervention, Regional Stability and the ASEAN Court of Human Rights
-Ben Petok


This paper will take a broad view of human rights abuses in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and attempt to determine if there is a possible solution to the non-interventionist makeup of the ASEAN. Furthermore, this paper will give an overview of human rights abuses in a few of the more prominent ASEAN member states, the worldview that is used by those member states to rationalize the suppression of the fundamental rights of their citizens and the implementation of a human rights mechanism in the region.The paper will explore the language of the ASEAN Charter as compared with the UN Charter in Section I.  Section II will look at four member states, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Each of these states has varying degrees of human rights abuse and political, ethnic or religious repression and oppression. Section III will ask about how international aid is disbursed to the ASEAN member states[1] and will seek to determine if aid from international corporations and from lenders such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is dependent on proof of compliance with international human rights norms. Section IV will briefly discuss what attempts have been made by ASEAN member states to come into some level of compliance with international human rights norms. Section V will discuss the current development and implementation of an ASEAN court of human rights. Finally, Section VI discusses the notion of how Western aid organizations and investment groups (such as trans-national corporations and the IMF) can require measureable compliance with international human rights norms for the disbursement of dollars into the ASEAN economy. Would such a requirement infringe too deeply on the sovereignty of individual ASEAN members, and is it too late for those member states to withdraw from their obligations to such Western powers?

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[1] The author acknowledges that the ASEAN member states are not entirely unique in the way they receive aid. However, because this paper focuses on the ASEAN members and specifically on the interplay between human rights implementation and international investment and aid to those countries, they are the focus of such statements throughout the paper.