ASEAN renews its commitments to the promotion and implementation of the rule of law at the national and international levels in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN).

This was stated by Ambassador Le Hoai Trung, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, on behalf of ASEAN at the 6th Committee of the UN General Assembly 67 Session on Agenda Item 83 “The rule of law at international and national levels”, in New York on October 10.

Trung emphasised the bloc’s views that “efforts of the international community in implementing the rule of law must be based on principles of national ownership, sovereign equality of States, peaceful settlement of disputes, adherence to a rules-based regime and respect for territorial integrity.”

He affirmed that adherence to the rule of law constitutes firm legal foundations for the collective responses and solutions needed to deal with the many challenges that the international community is now facing.

Aligned with the principles of the UN Charter, full implementation of the rule of law at national and international levels is fundamental to efforts towards a durable peace, peaceful settlement of disputes, effective protection of human rights and sustainable economic development, the Vietnamese ambassador said.

Trung elaborated that in the past year, with the UN’s coordination, concrete progress and endeavour have been made to realise the central role that the rule of law is taking on the national and international stages.

He went on: “In this regard, ASEAN highly appreciates the High-level Meeting on the rule of law under the auspices of the UN on September 24, 2012 as well as the outcome of the Meeting which indicates very strong and solemn commitments of all nations in the world to uphold and implement the rule of law and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

ASEAN also believes that during this session of the Sixth Committee we should focus on discussing the ways to realise the commitments made at the High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law at national and international levels.

Towards the year 2015 when an ASEAN Community is established and under this year’s theme of “ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny”, ASEAN is intensifying efforts aimed at building a rules-based, people-centred, and fully integrated organisation through the implementation of the ASEAN Charter.

The ASEAN’s Leaders at the 20th ASEAN Summit Meeting in Cambodia in April this year emphasised that ASEAN has come a long way in overcoming many challenges and has achieved much based on ASEAN’s fundamental principles, such as mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations.

The Leaders also expressed satisfaction with the progress of the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, particularly on the development and adoption of various rules and procedures for its operationalisation, such as the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of ASEAN, the Protocol to the ASEAN Charter on Dispute Settlement Mechanism, Rules of Authorization for Legal Transactions under Domestic Laws, Rules of Procedure for the Conclusion of International Agreements by ASEAN and Rules of Procedure for the Interpretation for the ASEAN Charter.

Being a people-centred Community, in the past year ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Women and Children (ACWC), have stepped up their efforts to promote the work of ASEAN in the field of Human Rights, including drafting an important document on human rights, namely the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). The Declaration, which would be adopted at the 21st ASEAN Summit in November 2012, is to be a political document that reflects the aspirations and commitments of ASEAN to the promotion and protection of human rights.

In the ASEAN’s view, the rule of law is also an effective tool to promote sustainable economic development. With this in mind, the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), which entered into force recently, contains comprehensive and improved provisions at par with international best practices on investment liberalisation, protection, facilitation and promotion.

Through the Agreement, ASEAN aims to create a free and open investment environment for ASEAN member states and to promote further cooperation in this field with other partners.

Committed to stability and security in the region, in addition to effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) signed between ASEAN and China, recently ASEAN Senior Officials have made another step forward to agree on the basic elements of a Regional Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), which would be an important document aimed at promoting peaceful settlement of international disputes, mutual trust and lasting peace and stability in the region.

In this regard, ASEAN noted the growing interests of other countries to accede to ASEAN’s key legal documents such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and to respect the Treaty on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ).”

The Vietnamese diplomat reiterated ASEAN’s commitment to the building of a community of Southeast Asian nations that is firmly grounded upon the rule of law at national, regional and international levels.

“A rules-based, people-centred and more integrated Community would enable us to play a greater role in the advancement of the rule of law, and to promote prosperity and security in the region as well as to be an effective partner of the UN and other countries,” Trung concluded.-VNA