The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) Expert Meeting brought together the ACWC Representatives and experts on economics, social and cultural rights, as well as on women’s human rights to develop a study framework on women’s economic rights to land and property ownership in ten ASEAN Member States.

The Representatives formulated the scope of the regional study and identified the research strategy, data collection mechanism, and timeline of the regional study. The study will map out and analyse the situations of women’s rights to land and property in ASEAN Member States. Two components that will be covered comprehensively are the provision of rights in the existing laws, and prohibitions and obstacles arising from the customary laws. The study will compile best practices and strategies of ASEAN Member States to address women’s deprivation in their entitlements, such as access to capital and productive resources, as well as access to and ownership of land. The study result is expected to provide input to ASEAN Member States in strengthening their poverty alleviation programmes for women and children. Poverty eradication strategies should address the multidimensional nature of poverty which includes low income and other factors, such as women’s autonomy, dignity and self-confidence.

The study was planned in the ACWC Work Plan 2012-2016 to contribute to the promotion of women’s economic rights particularly to land and property. Following the Meetings, the following follow-up actions were envisioned: (i) regional consultation workshop on the current situations in ASEAN Member States concerning women’s economic rights; (ii) each ASEAN Member State will be invited to draw on its legal and academic experts to provide its overall views of the issue at the regional consultation workshop; (iii) literature study of research on women’s economic rights to land and property in the ASEAN region; (iv) regional workshop for mapping and exchange views on the strategies and best practices to ensure women’s rights and access to land and property in ASEAN Member States; and (v) publication of the study result which includes policy recommendations for strengthening women’s economic rights to land and property in the region.

Mdm. Sri Danti Anwar, Ministerial Secretary of the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection of Indonesia opened the Meeting. The meeting was facilitated by Ms. Galuh Wandita, gender expert from Indonesia; and participated by Datin Paduka Hajah intan bte Haji Mohd Kassim, the ACWC Chair from Brunei Darussalam; Prof. Aurora Javate-de Dios, the Philippines’ Representative for women’s rights; Mdm. Siamphone Sirattanakoul, Lao PDR’s Representative for women’s rights; Prof. Savitri Goonesekere, expert from Sri Lanka; Ms. Ravadee Prasertcharoensuk, expert from Thailand; Ms. Teresita Vistro, expert from the Philippines; and other experts from Indonesia, namely Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana, Prof. Sulistyowati Irianto, Ms. Titi Soentoro, and Dr. Mia Siscawati. Representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat, civil society and university also observed the Meeting.

The Indonesia’s Representative for women’s rights to the ACWC, Ms. Rita Serena Kolibonso, together with the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, and Ministry of Foreign Affair of Republic of Indonesia, with the support of UN Women, CIDA and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) convened the meeting last month in Jakarta, Indonesia.