JAKARTA, 3 March 2017 – ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee met with Marta Santos Pais, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence against Children at the ASEAN Secretariat on 1 March. They had a dialogue with ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) on how to end violence against children.

DSG Vongthep and Pais discussed the imperative of mainstreaming the issue of violence against children in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. The UN Special Representative highlighted the need to put children at the heart of the implementation of both instruments in order to eliminate all forms of violence against children. DSG Vongthep underscored the importance of promoting a culture of prevention and actively involving children and the youth to effectively prevent violent extremism. Both agreed that it is important for ASEAN and the United Nations to synergise efforts in 2017 to amplify the voices of children.

During the Open Session of the 14th ACWC Meeting, Pais hailed the pioneering work of ACWC in developing and implementing the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence Against Children. She affirmed the partnership with ACWC in implementing the said plan of action and highlighted emerging issues that need to be addressed such as cyberbullying. She informed ACWC that the upcoming High Level Political Forum would be an opportunity for ASEAN Member States to showcase the groundbreaking initiatives at the national and regional levels in eliminating violence against children.

Further, Pais informed ACWC about the 7th Cross-Regional Roundtable on Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence on 6-8 June 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The annual forum will be co-convened by Pais, DSG Vongthep and the Philippines’ Leader for the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development. As a commemorative activity during ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary under the Philippines’ Chairmanship, the forum will serve as a platform for regional organisations and stakeholders to reflect on lessons learnt from initiatives that eliminate violence against children, and on emerging issues and challenges faced by children.

Parallel to the roundtable, there will be sessions participated in by children-delegates from the ASEAN Member States. In these sessions, the children-delegates will exchange views and develop recommendations that would be shared with the participants of the roundtable.