Press Release of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)

The Fourteenth Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was convened on 28 February – 2 March 2017 at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Meeting reviewed the status of projects and activities under the ACWC Work Plan 2012-2016. The Meeting deliberated on several projects for completion this year, including the finalisation of the draft Progress Report on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights in ASEAN led by the Philippines and draft Baseline Study on Child Protection Systems in ASEAN Member States led by Indonesia, as well as on-going drafting of the Baseline Study on the Status of Child Participation in the ASEAN and ASEAN Member States also led by the Philippines.

The Meeting discussed ACWC’s cross-sectoral collaboration with other ASEAN bodies on key thematic issues, such as on gender mainstreaming across the ASEAN Community pillars with the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), on trafficking in persons with the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), and on persons with disabilities with the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD).

The Meeting discussed the alignment of the new ACWC Work Plan 2016-2020 with the implementation of the ASCC Blueprint 2025, specifically to ensure coherence with the Blueprint’s strategic measures. The Meeting agreed on the new projects and programmes that would be included in the ACWC Work Plan 2016-2020 and submitted to the ASEAN Ministers Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD) for support. Thethematic areas of the previous Work Plan remain relevant and will be continued. Several new projects were approved, such as the AICHR-ACWC Training Workshop on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Strengthening the Survivor for Preventing Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) in ASEAN, Advancing Gender, Peace and Security in ASEAN, and development of the Guidelines and Procedures to Address the Needs of TIP Victims in accordance with the ASEAN Convention Against TIPs Especially Women and Children (ACTIP).

The Meeting conducted an open session with Mdm. Marta Pais, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children (SRSG-VAC), to continue the partnership on implementing the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence Against Children (RPA on EVAC). Mdm. Marta Pais applauded ACWC involvement in the global campaign, “High Time to End Violence Against Children” movement, and its support to put children at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation. Prior to that, she encouraged for greater commitment of the governments to place children at the heart of country’s development agenda. She also informed the meeting of the upcoming 7th Cross-Regional Roundtable on Violence Against Children scheduled on 6-8 June 2017 in Manila, which is co-organised by the Philippines as the ASEAN Chair, SRSG-VAC, and ASEAN Secretariat to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN.The ACWC and Mdm. Marta Pais agreed on the importance of giving a greater attention on violence against children at the heart of implementing the SDGs as well as ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

The Meeting also conducted an open session with the Secretary-General of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), H.E.Isra Sunthornvut. He invited ACWC to collaborate on AIPA’s initiative to address the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT). Highlighting the role of parliaments in crafting laws, the partnership presents an opportunity for both AIPA and ACWC to advocate for strengthening legal framework to address the issue.

The Meeting likewise conducted an open session with the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention). H.E. Kimberly Kelly, Consul General of the U.S. Embassy to Jakarta, briefed the meeting on the features of the Hague Convention, its implementation, and its relevance and significance to ASEAN.

The Fifteenth ACWC Meeting is scheduled on 4-6 September 2017 in Phuket, Thailand.