BBC: “Asean opens with economic agenda”
The 10-member Association of South East Asian nations (Asean) has started a summit meeting in Thailand.
They will discuss how to address the impact of declining global demand on their export-dependent economies.
This is the first summit since Asean implemented a charter making it a legal entity more like the European Union.
But human rights groups say there is still no mechanism for dealing with routine abuses inside Asean member states like Burma and Vietnam.
With some Asean members dependent on exports for as much as three quarters of national income, the global economic crisis hangs over this summit meeting like a thunder-cloud.
But there is not much the member states can do to soften the blow – whereas human rights groups say they should be doing a lot more to give their new charter teeth so that fellow members can be held accountable for abuses of their citizens.