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Inaugurated: ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children
Source: aseansec.org
Source Date: Thursday, April 08, 2010
Created: Apr 12, 2010

The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was inaugurated today in a ceremony held in Ha Noi in the lead-up towards the 16th ASEAN Summit.

The inauguration of the Commission was officiated by the Prime Minister of Viet Nam and the Chair of ASEAN, H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, and the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, H.E. Mrs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. The inauguration comes within the framework of the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (ASCC), which was convened at the National Convention Centre in Ha Noi. It was witnessed by the ASEAN Ministers responsible for ASCC and for Social Welfare and Development, in addition to representatives from the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR), the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development and the ASEAN Committee on Women. Representatives from several UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNIFEM and from relevant ministries in Viet Nam were also present.

The establishment of the ACWC is to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and children in ASEAN. It will take into consideration the different historical, political socio-cultural, religious and economic context in the region and the balances between rights and responsibilities.

Speaking after the inauguration ceremony, the Secretary-General of ASEAN said that “the Commission is the fulfillment of the aspirations of the ASEAN Leaders. There are two groups that ASEAN likes to see have their rights and privileges promoted and protected and they are women and children.”

“If we wish to become a sharing and caring community, we have to take care of the women and children. We have to open up the space so that they feel ownership of ASEAN community-building efforts,” he added.

The establishment of the ACWC is also aimed to promote the well-being, development, empowerment and participation of women and children in the ASEAN Community building process which contribute to the realisation of the purposes of ASEAN as set out in the ASEAN Charter.

At the 14th ASEAN Summit on 28 February – 1 March 2009, the ASEAN Leaders adopted the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for the ASEAN Community (2009-2015) which includes the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Blueprint and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint that reiterated the establishment of an ASEAN commission on the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children as an important measure to ensure equitable development for women and children. The Terms of Reference of the ACWC was agreed upon by the Ministers responsible for Social Welfare and Development prior to the 15<sup>th</sup> ASEAN Summit last year.

The functions of the ACWC are, among others, to promote the implementation of international instruments, ASEAN instruments and other instruments related to the rights of women and children and develop policies, programs and innovative strategies to promote and protect the rights of women and children to complement the building of the ASEAN Community. It would also promote public awareness and education of the rights of women and children in ASEAN.

Each ASEAN Member State is to appoint two representatives to the ACWC - one representative on women’s rights and one representative on children’s rights. When appointing their representatives to the ACWC, Member States are to give due consideration to competence in the field of the rights of women and children, integrity and gender equality.

On the international front, all ASEAN Member States have ratified and are parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
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