ASEAN gets serious. An interview with Dr Surin Pitsuwan

The association of SEA nations, or ASEAN has been in existence since 1967 and was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.
The area ASEAN covers is massive.
4.46 million square kilometers which is 3% of the total land area of Earth, with a population of around 600 million people, which is 8.8% of the world’s total.
If ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the tenth largest economy in the world.
For many years, ASEAN has been regarded as a lame body or a toothless mouse. Its ASEAN way — an agreement of “non-interference” in each other’s affairs — meant that for the most part, there were no condemnations of, or sanctions against, or even reactions to alleged human rights violations amongst them from anyone in the group.
Former Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan says its now time for ASEAN to be taken seriously.