ASEAN Ministers Start Preliminary Meetings in Vietnam Amidst

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Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are meeting in Vietnam to promote and protect human rights, ahead of regional talks. The official talks will take place this Thursday and Friday.

Vietnam has stepped up security for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—also known as ASEAN. Vehicle checkpoints and X-ray machines were set up around the National Convention Center in Hanoi to ensure the safety of ASEAN ministers who arrived early for preparatory meetings ahead of the annual regional summits.

Ministers of the 10-members of ASEAN held talks in Vietnam on Wednesday to promote and protect human rights ahead of the start of official talks.


[Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnamese Prime Minister]: (male, Vietnamese)
"The founding of the ASEAN commission on promotion and protection of the rights of women and children in ASEAN is one of the important measures to strengthen the social welfare and the participation of the women and children in the process of building an ASEAN community.”

The Thai Foreign Minister says there is more work to be done to promote human rights in Burma—also known as Myanmar.

[Kasit Piromya, Thai Foreign Minister]: (male, English)
"I think it's not just the human rights in Myanmar, the question is of all human rights in all the 10 ASEAN countries. Because all of us together are not yet a fully democratic society, we still have to work a lot towards it."

Besides human rights issues, the official talks will also consider winding down emergency stimulus policies adopted during the global financial crisis.

The talks expect to bring change to the region as ASEAN has ambitious plans to establish a political and economic community by 2015 and the theme of this year's summit is to translate that "vision into action."

ASEAN comprises of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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