Siem Reap, Cambodia: The 8th Informal Seminar on Human Rights, entitled "Freedom of Expression", was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia from 26-28 September, 2007. Countries in Asia and Europe are converging around the principle of freedom of expression, recognising not only its intrinsic value for realising everyone's full human potential, but also its indispensable contribution to developing tolerant, prosperous and harmonious societies.
Participants affirmed the continued relevance of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." There was no divergence of view on the positive contributions of this fundamental freedom to society. The key debates in the seminar, therefore, were not over the principle of freedom of expression, but the challenges of implementing this freedom in effective ways in ASEM countries.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Informal Seminar on Human Rights aims to promote better mutual understanding and co-operation between the countries of Asia and Europe in the area of political dialogue, particularly on human rights issues, between government officials, academics and civil society participants of the 43 ASEM countries.
This 8th Seminar was hosted by the government of Cambodia and is organised with support of the government of Japan. The series of ASEM Informal Seminars on Human Rights are co-organized by Asia-Europe Foundation, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Sweden.