Flags fly outside United Nations headquarters September 19, 2011 in New York in advance of the annual General Assembly. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Asian states must not waste the chance to address crimes against humanity

By Jan Wetzel, Senior Legal Advisor at Amnesty International

A treaty to address crimes against humanity globally has been under discussion for a decade. Next week in New York, states have a key opportunity to move towards turning it into a reality, and those from the Asia-Pacific region have a crucial role to play.

The general need for this treaty is beyond doubt. No region of the world is free from crimes against humanity. In the past 10 years alone, Amnesty International found such atrocities in at least 18 countries in all parts of the world. The Asia-Pacific has its share of experiences, spanning from the past – Japan, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and Sri Lanka – to the present: Afghanistan, Xinjiang in China, Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya and other populations, the Philippines in its “war on drugs.”

At the beginning of April, a committee of the United Nations General Assembly will meet to discuss a proposed international response to this scourge. What may seem like a technical exercise for specialists is in fact a major chance to improve the global framework for international justice.

Read the full article in The Diplomat