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ASEAN Human Rights Declaration safeguards freedom of expression: envoy

Bali (ANTARA) – The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration protects the freedom of opinion and expression of people in Southeast Asia, according to Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia Kurt Kunz.

“The freedom of opinion and expression is fundamental in a democracy,” Kunz stated on the sidelines of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) consultations in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Sunday.

Clear legal rules or mechanism should be set out to safeguard the freedom of opinion and expression, he emphasized.

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Kunz called for a mechanism to be put in place on rules and restrictions to which extent all can exercise the freedom of opinion and expression.

“Although everybody can express opinions freely, please do so in a responsible manner based on facts,” he remarked.

Freedom of opinion and expression should not in any way hurt public sentiments, let alone tear the community apart, he cautioned.

“Everybody must express their opinions smartly without touching on the issue of ethnicity, religion, and race (SARA),” he stated.

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Article 23 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration stipulates that every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to defend opinion without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information, either verbally, in writing, or other way chosen by the person.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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