Advocating child rights perspectives in the ASEAN HR DeclarationPublished on 27 Jun 2012 in Campaigns, News, Slides by author
CRC Asia recently participated in the 2nd Regional Consultation on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, which was organized by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). The regional consultation took place last 22 June 2012 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The said consultation was convened in order to generate inputs coming from civil society organizations.
Several national and regional civil society organizations presented their perspectives and recommendations to improve the content of the AHRD. Each country delegation composed of four to eight members was given maximum of fifteen minutes to present. On the other hand, each regional organization was given ten minutes to present.
CRC Asia representatives, namely Ryan Silverio, CRC Asia’s convenor, Malathy Nagasayee, executive director of P.S. the Children, and Minerva Cabiles, child rights governance adviser of Save the Children, read out the recommendations concerning child rights.
The key recommendations raised by CRC Asia delegation include the following: ensuring that the best interest of children is given paramount consideration in all decisions and in all situations affecting children, the right of children to participate in all decisions is guaranteed, the right of children to special protection from all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation, and the right of children to accessible, effective and enforceable remedies. CRC Asia also called for a meaningful participation of children at the country-level in the drafting and finalization of the AHRD.
Recommendations related to child rights have been read out by NGO representatives from the country delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines and Viet Nam.
The alternate representative of Cambodia and Chairperson of the AICHR, Dr. Chet Chealy, gave a brief discussion on the background of the AHRD. He mentioned that the AHRD is not a legally binding document but an expression of ASEAN’s aspirations on human rights. The AHRD is envisioned as a regional document that adds value to existing international human rights standards, and is comprehensive in terms of the rights covered but succinct in terms of language.
The draft of the AHRD was not released during the recent consultation. Dr. Chet Chealy said that only the foreign ministers and the heads of states rather than the AICHR have the mandate to make public such document. Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree, the Thai representative to the AICHR, called for public awareness and dissemination activities once the AHRD has been finalized.
The ASEAN foreign ministers are expected to approve the draft AHRD during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in July 2012. The AHRD is expected to be adopted by the ASEAN heads of states during the ASEAN Summit in November 2012 that will be held in Cambodia.