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Public International Law Research

A guide that highlights resources and recommended strategies for conducting research on international law topics.

Overview of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

General Overview of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Established in 1967 with the signing of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Declaration, ASEAN's purpose is to promote the well being of each of its Member States socially, culturally, and economically, as well as promoting a more peaceful, collaborative world. ASEAN is made up of 10 Member States in Southeast Asia, including:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

ASEAN is divided into three "pillars," or communities, that work to promote growth in the primary focuses of ASEAN.  Each of these communities is guided by a blueprint that lays the future vision for that community.  Access the current blueprints and other important documents for each community below:

  • Political-Security Communityworks to ensure that countries in the region lives at peace with one another and with the world in a just, democratic and harmonious environment.  Access the 2025 Blueprint here.
  • Economic Communityestablished in 2015, this community works to promote the economic well-being and integration of the countries in Southeast Asia.  Access the 2025 Blueprint here.
  • Socio-Cultural Communitythis community works to improve the quality of life of the people in the Member States by creating opportunities to enhance culture and information, education, youth, health, social welfare and development, women and gender, rural development, poverty eradication, and many more.  Access the 2025 Blueprint here.

Locating ASEAN Primary Materials

Locating ASEAN Primary Materials

Over the years, ASEAN has created several official documents that provide clarity about the nature of the relationships between the Member States and how ASEAN as a whole will be run.

ASEAN's Charter

ASEAN's Charter outlines the legal status and institutional framework of ASEAN by codifying their norms, rules, and values, setting clear targets for achievement, and presenting accountability and compliance.  This Charter was entered into force on December 15, 2008 and has since served as a legally binding agreement among the ASEAN members.  

Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia Indonesia

This treaty details the obligations that ASEAN's Member States owe to one another in their fundamental principles.  FThese fundamental principals include mutual respect, each State leading themselves without interference from others, and settling disputes peacefully without the threat or use of force.

ASEAN Summit Statements

In April and November of each year, ASEAN comes together for a Summit where Member States and other world leaders discuss the social, economic, cultural, security and political issues as they relate to each Member State.  The statements and discussions made at these meetings are available in their entirety for download on the ASEAN Summit website.

Recommended Secondary Sources

Recommended Secondary Sources

For further information about ASEAN, the following resources are recommended.

Journal of Southeast Asian Economies (formerly published as the ASEAN Economic Bulletin)

This journal focuses on economic issues in Southeast Asia and provides insight on these topics through original research, research notes, and policy reviews.  This journal was formerly published as the ASEAN Economic Bulletin, so for earlier issues (1984-2012), use that link.  For articles from 2000-present, use the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies link.

Journal of ASEAN Studies

Created in 2013, this international peer-reviewed bi-annual journal focuses on the past, current, and future issues relevant to ASEAN and its member countries.  The Law Library has online access to this journal's issues from 2013 to present.