At the CSO-ACWC interfacon 8 September 2011 in Solo, Indonesia, CSOs read a statement which stressed the need for alignment between the functions of ACWC and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Such alignment must happen in terms of substance, procedure and structure. CSOs also urged the ACWC to engage AICHR in the development of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) “by providing expertise on issues related the rights of women and children and gender perspectives.” In addition, they urged ACWC to have a dedicated unit that can provide secretariat support for the ACWC.
Civil Society’s Statement to the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)
Presented to ACWC in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia on 8 September 2011
1. We, civil society organizations from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, have gathered in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia for the Civil Society Forum to the Meeting of the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) to discuss and share information concerning challenges and good practices in ASEAN related to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children, organized by Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Kalyanamitra Foundation, KKSP Foundation, Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN, and Child Rights Coalition in Asia (CRC-Asia);
2. We recognize that ACWC is part of the ASEAN Community Building by 2015. We are, however, alarmed that human rights is not mainstreamed in the Three ASEAN Community Blueprints. Worse, there has been no synergy displayed among the three ASEAN Community Pillars that further negatively impact on the rights of the ASEAN peoples, especially women and children.
3. We reiterate our recognition of the role of the ACWC as an important regional human rights mechanism for civil society to hold ASEAN Member States accountable to their international and regional obligations to promote, protect and fulfill human rights as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter;
4. We are aware that the alignment between human rights mechanisms and ASEAN sectored bodies is important to ensure the realization of human rights for all. We recommend that the alignment process should include the following:
a. alignment of substance which involves various commissions and declarations,
b. alignment of procedures in providing ASEAN regional database on issues related to violence against women (VAW), violence against children (VAC) and women and children on the move (including trafficking, statelessness, refugees, migrant workers), supporting machinery of ACWC, inter-commissions relationship and communication,
c. alignment of structure which makes all human rights commissions are in equal power;
ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
5. We urge the ACWC to take an active role in the on-going process of drafting the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) by providing expertise on issues related the rights of women and children and gender perspectives; We also encourage ACWC to express the interest to get involved in such process to the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), especially to ensure its coherence with the existing ASEAN Instruments as well as with the most ratified International Conventions: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) and to be in line with ACWC’s work plan;
6. We call on ACWC to convey AICHR to reaffirm the respect to all international human rights principles including universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the principles of the rights to life and human dignity as inalienable and non-derogable rights under international law and the duty of member states to promote social justice in drafting process of AHRD;
Meaningful and Substantive Dialogue and Consultation with Civil Society
7. We appreciate the commitment demonstrated by the ACWC to continue the process of dialogue and consultation with civil society. We are confident that the ACWC Representatives and civil society have a shared common concern on the issues of the rights of women and children in ASEAN and the understanding that cooperation is needed to address the issues with stakeholders. We wish ACWC to invite civil society to participate in exchanging views with the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Children;
8. We call on ACWC to develop a cross-border mechanism to address trafficking, migration, refugees, Violence against women and children over the cyberspace, its systems for information sharing; the common indicators for national reports for CRC and CEDAW and other treaty bodies; mechanisms for the popularization of ASEAN human rights mechanisms; ways for people participation in ACWC’s processes including children.
9. We renew our commitment to engage the official processes of ASEAN and ACWC at all levels to contribute and ultimately benefit from the ASEAN Community envisioned for the peoples of ASEAN.
Secretariat Support for ACWC
10. We urge ACWC to request ASEAN to develop a dedicated unit within the ASEAN Secretariat to support the secretariat needs of the ACWC, particularly by providing needed data on women and children’s issues.
Rena Herdiyani, Kalyanamitra Foundation, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Muhammad Jailani, KKSP Foundation, Email: email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org
Yuyun Wahyuningrum, HRWG, Email: email@example.com