MANILA, 9 June 2017 – Regional inter-governmental organisations around the world gathered in Manila for the 7th High-Level Cross-Regional Roundtable on Violence Against Children. Led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children (SRSG on VAC), ASEAN Secretariat, and the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, the roundtable themed “Placing Children at the Heart of the Sustainable Development Agenda: Accelerating Progress in Children’s Protection from Violence” shared progress and good practices on eliminating all forms of violence against children.

A key innovation of the event introduced this year by ASEAN is the gathering of children delegates from ASEAN Member States and the Republic of Korea to discuss among themselves issues that affect them, and share their views and recommendations with the representatives of the regional organisations. Issues of child abuse and neglect, exploitation, harmful traditional practices and bullying figured prominently in the children’s sharing.

Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, said that “now more than ever, it is imperative that we protect children, and the children themselves need to have a dialogue with one another. In a similar vein, we cannot forget those at the fringes: the children with disabilities, children living in at-risk and remote areas, children without any nationality, and children experiencing multiple vulnerabilities brought about by their physical, social and political conditions.”

The roundtable is an annual gathering organised by SRSG on VAC. The Philippines hosted it as part of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary commemorative activities with the support of ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF). The participation of regional organisations around the world in this event reflects ASEAN’s commitment to engage with international and global partners to promote positive change in the region and resonates with the Philippines’ Chairmanship theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”