The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met virtually today with a diverse group of civil society leaders from Southeast Asia to hear about their courageous work advocating for human rights, justice, democracy, and unhindered humanitarian access for assistance to vulnerable groups. Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to putting human rights, justice, and democracy at the center of our foreign policy, including as we seek to strengthen our relationship with ASEAN. The Secretary noted that the concerns and personal stories he heard will help inform our engagement on democracy and human rights at the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit on May 12-13. He also noted diplomatic and economic actions the U.S. government is taking to support civil society and strengthen democracy across the region and the world.