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Amnesty International Urges Obama to Not Ignore Human Rights During His Meeting With ASEAN Leaders
Meeting will occur during the APEC summit in Singapore
WASHINGTON - November 12 - T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA's director for international advocacy and one of the foremost experts on Asia, issued the following statement prior to President Obama's trip to Asia including attending the APEC forum in Singapore and visiting Japan, China and South Korea. During his visit, he is reportedly scheduled to meet with ASEAN leaders on November 15:
"President Obama must not ignore human rights abuses in Southeast Asia during his meeting with the leaders of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While ASEAN should be applauded for the creation of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), President Obama needs to urge that this new body is independent and impartial in its activities.
"In addition, the U.S. government should urge all of the ASEAN leaders to release political prisoners in their respective countries, allow media freedom, stop political killings, allow freedom of religion and stop persecuting opposition leaders. Since (Burma) Myanmar's Prime Minister, Thein Sein, is one of the leaders attending this meeting with President Obama, the President should urge him to release approximately 2,100 political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who are currently in government custody.
"President Obama must not allow a key opportunity to push human rights in the region to be squandered away. Otherwise the leaders of these countries will begin to think that that any push for human rights is merely rhetoric."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.