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Trudeau talks human rights at ASEAN, others stay quiet

The concern voiced is in stark contrast with other countries, accused of skirting around the issues

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Trudeau talks human rights at ASEAN, others stay quiet

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The plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims and concern over claims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines have been brought up at the ASEAN summit by the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

The concern voiced is in stark contrast with other countries, accused of skirting around the issues.

The Canadian PM says he brought up concern on both subjects in private meetings with the leaders concerned, and the crisis in Myanmar was raised in an open session.

Trudeau told other leaders: “In light of events in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, I’ve named a special envoy to the region. I’ve asked him to engage in diplomatic efforts and identify ways in which Canada can support the response to the situation and the plight of the Muslim minority.

“Canada will continue to support ASEAN’s humanitarian and political efforts to find a sustainable and just solution to the ongoing crisis, and we will also continue to work with the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to allow for the safe return of displaced peoples


On human rights in the Philippines, observers say there was no pressure from US President Trump over Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, despite calls for a tough line to be taken.

After a meeting both leaders issued a statement that said the “two sides underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programmes.”

But Duterte’s team is reported to have said that Trump did not bring up the accustion of extrajudicial killings.


Trudeau, however, says in a meeting with Duterte he brought up concerns about human rights and the rule of law and specifically mentioned extrajudicial killings “as being an issue that Canada is concerned with.”

On the Myanmar crisis, Trudeau said: “This is a tremendous concern to Canada and to many, many countries around the world.”

Anti-US protesters have made their voices heard outside the summit, saying Trump should not have been invited to join the summit.

There has also been mounting criticism of ASEAN’s policy of not interfering in the domestic affairs of members states.

The summit ends later on Tuesday.