MAKATI, 22 October 2015 – The Eleventh Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was convened on 18 20 October 2015 in Makati, the Philippines.

The Meeting reviewed the Terms of Reference of ACWC, and implementation of the Work Plan 2012-2016 including the three on-going thematic studies. The Regional Study on Child Protection System under the UN CRC Implementation in ASEAN Member States led by Indonesia is currently on-going. The preliminary draft Report, which was considered by the Meeting, provides an analysis on the characteristics of the child protection systems in ASEAN Member States including the legal framework, programmes, and resources.

The regional assessment on the laws, policies and practices within ASEAN Member States relating to the identification and treatment of victims of trafficking, especially women and children, is on-going under the coordination of Lao PDR. The regional consultant, national researchers and regional project coordination had been recruited and met on 16-17 October 2015 in Makati to discuss the national research plan including national report outline, methodology, guiding questions and timeline for incountry data gathering in ASEAN Member States in November 2015.

The draft Progress Report on Women’s Rights, Empowerment and Gender Equality was reviewed by the ACWC. The draft Report was scheduled for completion and launching on 8 March 2016 in time of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN. The study reviews the progress in advancing women’s political, economic and social rights at regional and national levels.

Towards the development of ASEAN Early Childhood Care, Development and Education (ECCDE) Quality Standards, a regional consultative meeting was planned for 7-10 December 2015 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The Representatives of the ACWC, ASEAN Inter Governmental Human Rights Commission (AICHR), and ASEAN sectoral bodies on education and health would be invited to share good practices especially on national quality standards for ECCDE and to develop regional minimum standards.

Under the coordination of Thailand, the development of an ASEAN Guideline for a Non-Violent Approach to Nurturing, Care, and Development of Children is on-going. The revised draft ASEAN Guideline was considered at the Meeting. The Guideline aimed to promote the implementation of a non-violent approach in nurture, care and development of children, with particular reference to children in the settings of home, school, educational settings, the community, workplace, alternative care/children’s shelters, and juvenile justice centres. The focus is on utilization of positive communication, positive discipline, and the need for children to protect themselves to increase their resilience.

The Meeting also provided inputs to the draft video spot prepared by Thailand for the ACWC’s public campaign on the theme “Violence against Women at All Life Cycle”. This fourth public campaign of ACWC was planned for airing on 25 November 2015 in commemoration of the International Day on Elimination of Violence Against Women. The Meeting considered the requests for cooperation by a number of civil society organisations and welcomed further exploration in the areas of mutual interests. The Meeting planned for a consultation meeting with civil society in early 2016 to discuss, among others, collaboration in implementing the RPA EVAW and RPA EVAC following the planned adoption at the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015.

There was also an open session with UNICEF EAPRO in which the publication entitled “Legal Protection from Violence: Analysis of Domestic Laws related to violence against children in ASEAN” was introduced to ACWC.

The ACWC also met the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) on 20 October 2015 to discuss the initial steps to implement the Regional Plan of Action on Elimination of Violence Against Women (RPA EVAW) in post-2015. The ACWC and ACW reviewed the outcomes of completed activities, notably: Regional Conference of Senior Officials on Gender-Responsive Migration Management Practices and Experiences Towards Policies to Promote and Protect the Rights and Welfare of Women Migrant Workers held on 13-14 November 2014 in Manila, the Philippines; Regional Conference on Social Impact of Climate Change on Women and Children in ASEAN held on 25-26 March 2015 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Regional Workshop on Gender Issues in Climate Change and Its Adaptation on 9-11 June 2015 in Langkawi, Malaysia.

The ACWC and ACW planned for a Regional Meeting in November 2015 to discuss strategies and processes to eliminate gender stereotyping and sexist languages in textbooks and to promote gender sensitive curriculum at primary to tertiary levels. The Regional Meeting would involve the Ministry of Education of each ASEAN Member State. The Twelfth ACWC Meeting is scheduled for 17-19 February 2016 at the ASEAN Secretariat. The Network of Social Service Agencies (NOSSA) is planned to be launched tentatively back to back with the Meeting.

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