Cambodia aims to finalize the drafting of an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration this year as it chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Cambodian Human Rights Committee chairman Om Yin Tieng said.

“This is a big job and needs a lot of discussions. However, we are confident that we can finalize it by this year,” said Om Yin Tieng, who is also a senior minister and chair of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights in 2012.

He said the commission would hold its first meeting on the declaration in Siem Reap on January 8 and 9, immediately ahead of a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.

Human rights group Amnesty International called Friday for ASEAN institutions to make public and accessible a draft of the declaration.

“An inclusive drafting process, taking into account input from civil society and any other interested individuals or groups, is crucial for the Declaration. The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration concerns every woman, man and child in the region, and it is only natural that they should be given an opportunity to have their say,” a statement said.

The group said it was “disappointed by the secrecy surrounding the drafting process so far. Not a single piece of substantive information on the process has been officially shared, and even the Terms of Reference of the Drafting Group have been kept confidential.”

Om Yin Tieng said the upcoming meeting of the commission was an internal meeting. (mtq) –Rasmei Kampuchea Daily, The Asia News Network