Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Southeast Asian Civil Society Leaders
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with civil society representatives from all ten Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) countries in advance of the upcoming U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Summit at the Sunnylands Retreat in California. Ambassador Rice highlighted that U.S. support for civil society, good governance, and human rights is a focus area for the U.S. Rebalance to Asia and is a topic President Obama will stress at Sunnylands. The participants—who included leaders in their home countries on women’s rights, civil-political rights, LGBTI rights, religious freedom, justice and accountability, and pro-environment economic development—underscored the need to respect universal rights and fundamental freedoms and expand political space for civil society. Ambassador Rice reiterated the United States’ steadfast commitment to sustaining and supporting civil society in Southeast Asia and around the world, including through the President’s Stand with Civil Society initiative.