Child rights: Engage Asean NGOs, children

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As the Asean Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) met in Jakarta last month, the Child Rights Coalition – Asia (CRC-Asia) put forward a raft of recommendations.

14 February 2011

The Asean Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)
Jakarta, Indonesia

Dear Excellencies:

Greetings from the Child Rights Coalition – Asia (CRC-Asia).

CRC-Asia is a network of child rights and human rights organizations currently working in eight countries in South-East Asia since 2008. The network has a special interest in ensuring the effective and meaningful implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) in the region especially within Asean. It serves as a facilitator advocating meaningful civil society engagement with inter-governmental bodies such as the ACWC by promoting transparency and participation. The network aims to promote and ensure children’s right to participation in all processes and decisions that have an impact on their rights and welfare.

As part of our mandate to facilitate civil society interest and engagement in Asean affairs, CRC-Asia and its member organisations were instrumental in organising a child rights workshop during the Asean People’s Forum in September 2010 (Hanoi, Vietnam) and an Asean Children’s Forum civil society parallel workshop involving children and young people entitled ‘Making our Asean Meaningful for Children and Young People’ in October 2010 (Manila, Philippines), and in incorporating the child rights concerns in various civil society recommendations to Asean over the past two years especially emphasising the promotion of children’s meaningful participation.

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We support the ACWC’s first official meeting this February 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia. We think that this meeting serves as an important platform to discuss and generate clarifications on the rules of procedure and the future programme of action. Bearing this in mind, CRC-Asia would like to put forward the following recommendations:

  1. Develop mechanisms and processes within the ACWC that engage civil society groups and children to monitor and report on key child rights issues and violations in Asean member countries.
  2. Take into serious consideration and ensure implementation of the country-specific recommendations and Concluding Observations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and of other international human rights mechanisms such as from the Special Representatives to the UN Secretary General. In this regard, we request the ACWC to come up with research, mapping out the UN CRC Committee’s recommendations in line with the UN CRC reports and to monitor the extent of state compliance thereof.
  3. Encourage Asean member states to ratify the Optional Protocols of the UN CRC and Cedaw, and withdraw reservations made on the Conventions, in line with their commitments to uphold the principles of non-discrimination, protection and participation of all children in the region.
  4. Promote and adopt a common understanding and minimum standards of children’s participation that is consistent with the UN CRC and other international human rights standards and that reflects the diverse perspectives, experiences and contributions of local civil society actors and children. In this regard, we request the ACWC to closely engage in the process of finalising the terms of reference of the Asean Children’s Forum initially convened by the Philippine government and ensure that future processes are more inclusive and open for civil society groups especially the most marginalised.
  5. Develop and promote a set of indicators to measure and monitor child rights concerns and common guidelines for duty bearers mandated to address these, taking into consideration the existing international children’s rights and human rights standards and the diverse perspectives and experiences of civil society groups and children.
  6. Support the formation, operationalisation and the strengthening of institutions and mechanisms mandated to promote and protect the rights of children. In this regard, we request the ACWC to closely engage in the on-going global process of finalising and adopting a proposed Optional Protocol to the UN CRC creating a communications procedure.
  7. Institutionalise a transparent and participatory process in developing, implementing and evaluating the ACWC’s programme of action. We urge the ACWC, in coordination and consultation with civil society groups and children, to come up with its rules of procedure to further elaborate on the steps to implementing its mandate.
  8. Ensure the appropriation of adequate resources for the operations of the ACWC so it may fulfil its mandate of promoting and protecting the rights of children, including its proposed role to monitor, report and address thematic or country-specific situations of children.
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CRC Asia wishes the ACWC a fruitful and meaningful meeting.

Sincerely,

  • Ryan V. Silverio, Regional Coordinator, Southeast Asia Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (SEASUCS)
  • Eva Maria Cayanan, Regional Advisor Child Rights Governance and Protection, Save the Children Sweden Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific
  • Alberto R. Cacayan, Regional Coordinator, Terre Des Hommes Germany in Southeast Asia
  • Muhammad Jailani, Executive Director, Yayasan KKSP
  • Diena Haryana, Chairperson, Yayasan SEJIWA
  • Antarini Arna, Director, Children’s Human Rights Foundation
  • Tran Thi Mai Huong, Vice President, Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights (VAPCR)3
  • Nguyen Thi Huong, Executive Director, Centre for Research and Support for Vietnamese Children (CENFORCHIL)
  • Nguyen Thi Huyen, Institute for Social Studies
  • Roldan Gonzales, Director, Gitib, Inc. / Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights and Protection (MAG-CRP)
  • Aung Myo Min, Executive Director, Human Rights Education in Burma (HREIB)
  • Nooreen Preusser, Director, P.S. the Children
  • Kreangkrai Chaimuangdee, Director, The Life Skills Development Foundation

Endorsed by the following CRC-Asia Partner/Network Organisations:

  • Ly Samnang, Program Manager, NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC)
  • Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director, Forum-ASIA
  • The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  • Indonesia’s NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy (HRWG)
  • Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  • Dede Suhendri, Executive Director, Lembaga Advokasi Anak (LADA)
  • Tabrani Yunis, Director, Center for Community Development and Education (CCDE) Banda Aceh
  • Magdalena Sitorus, Chairperson, Sahabat Anak dan Perempuan Indonesia
  • Think Centre, Singapore
  • Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific
  • Chalida Tajaroensuk, People’s Empowerment Foundation
  • ALTSEAN-Burma
  • Veerawit Tianchainan, Executive Director, Thai Committee for Refugees
  • Margarita F. Gomez, Coordinator, Bantay Kita
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