Dialogue between ACWC and civil society groups held recentlyPublished on 04 Jul 2012 in News by author
Various civil society organizations (CSO’s) in Southeast Asia recently participated in a dialogue with the ASEAN Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) last 4 July 2012. The said dialogue was part of the programme of the ACWC’s 5th Official meeting that took place from 2 to 5 July in Jakarta, Indonesia.
CRC Asia including its members, namely, Yayasan SEJIWA, SAPA Indonesia, NGO Coalition for the Rights of the Child (Cambodia) and Vietnam Association for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, participated in the meeting.
During the dialogue, civil society groups raised recommendations specific to the ACWC’s work plan and on a proposed ASEAN declaration on violence against women and children. CSO’s also called for a sustained and meaningful communication and collaboration with the ACWC.
CRC Asia officially submitted to the ACWC its recommendations, which focused on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), violence against children, the Optional Protocol to the CRC on a communications procedure (OP3-CRC), and children’s participation. CRC Asia urged the ACWC to take an active role in ensuring internationally recognized child rights principles and provisions are reflected in the draft of the AHRD and that children participate meaningfully in the process of finalizing the declaration. On violence against children, CRC Asia called for a comprehensive legal prohibition of VAC and strengthening of monitoring and reporting systems. On the OP3-CRC, CRC Asia urged the ACWC to support the universal ratification of the said instrument. On children’s participation, CRC Asia urged for a transparent preparations for the ASEAN Children’s Forum and effective follow-up processes at the country-level.
The ACWC presented key themes in its proposed five-year work plan concerning child rights. In each theme, a country focal point took the lead in the development of specific actions.
Brunei Darussalam proposed the setting-up of performance standards for service delivery for children with disabilities.
Indonesia proposed the development of actions to address cultural and religious practices that have implications on the rights of children. In addition, they proposed the setting up of performance standards for an integrated child protection system in ASEAN.
Malaysia plans to publish best practices in addressing VAC, and to develop standards to ensure quality programs for early childhood care, development and education.
Philippines plans to develop a regional program focusing on the right of children to participate and creating an enabling environment for the participation of children in decision-making processes.
Singapore intends to develop a network of social welfare agencies.
Thailand aims to develop guidelines for non-violent approaches to child rearing and child care in various settings.
Vietnam seeks to promote convergence between the UN Committee on the Elimination for All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children, and the ACWC to ensure effective regional implementation of concluding observations.
Civil society groups were encouraged to provide substantive input, including researches and other information, to help develop specific strategies and actions under each theme.
Concerning the proposed ASEAN declaration on violence against women and children, civil society groups urged the ACWC to clarify the importance of having such specific declaration. It was noted that there are already existing instruments relevant to the rights of children and women to protection from violence. Groups have also urged that the declaration should give added value to existing instruments by recognizing the emerging forms of violence such as those taking place in cyberspace.