Statement of acwc in Panel Discussion on Strengthening cooperation in promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights of women

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Statement of ACWC in Panel Discussion on Strengthening cooperation in promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights of women
My gratitude – on behalf of ACWC (The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection on the Rights of Women and Children - for the invitation of OHCHR to attend the workshop on Enhancing Cooperation between United Nations and Regional Mechanisms for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and also by giving me a chance on behalf of ACWC to speak in the Panel Discussion about Strengthening cooperation in promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights of women.

Let me introduce what is ACWC, which is a new commission on the promotion and protection on the rights of women and children in ASEAN. Together with AICHR (ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights) we are mandated to look after the human rights in ASEAN, but ACWC is more focus on the rights of women and children.

As ASEAN has three pillars, ACWC is under the pillar of social and cultural and reporting our activity to the AMSWD (ASEAN Minister on Social and Welfare Development). We are organizationally a bit unique as we emerging women and children rights in one commission. Each country selects two representatives, one for women rights and another one for children rights. The backgrounds of representatives are variously coming from government and non government organizations.

Based on the ToR, ACWC has 16 mandates and functions:

  1. To promote the implementation of international instruments, ASEAN instruments and related instruments to the rights of women and children

  2. To develop policies, programs and innovative strategies to promote and protect the rights of women and children to complement the building of the ASEAN Community

  3. To promote public awareness and education of the rights of women and children in ASEAN

  4. To advocate on behalf of women and children, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, and encourage ASEAN Member States to improve their situation

  5. To build capacities of relevant stakeholder at all levels, e.g, administrative, legislative, judicial, civil society, community leaders, women and children machineries, through the provision of technical assistance, training and workshops, towards the realization of the rights of women and children

  6. To assist, upon request by ASEAN members in preparing for CEDAW (and CRC) periodic reports, the human rights council Universal Periodic Report with a specific reference to women (and children)

  7. To assist in implementing the Concluding Observations of CEDAW (and CRC) amd other treaty bodies related to the rights of women (and children)

  8. To encourage ASEAN Member States on the collection and analysis of disaggregated data by sex, age etc. related to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children

  9. To promote studies and research related to the situation and well being of women and children with the view to fostering effective implementation of the rights of women and children in the region

  10. To encourage ASEAN Member States to undertake periodic reviews of national legislations, regulations, policies and practices related to the rights of women and children

  11. To facilitate sharing of experiences and good practices, including thematic issues, between and among ASEAN Member States related to the situation and well-being of women and children and to enhance the effective implementation of CEDAW and CRC through, among others, exchange of visits, seminars and conferences

  12. To propose and appropriate measures, mechanisms and strategies for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violations of the rights of women (and children), including the protection of victims

  13. To encourage ASEAN Member States to consider acceding to, and ratifying, international human rights instruments related to women and children

  14. To support the participation of ASEAN women (and children) in dialogue and consultation processes in ASEAN related to the promotion and protection of their rights

  15. To provide advisory services on matters pertaining to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children to ASEAN sectoral bodies upon request

  16. To perform any other tasks related to the rights of women and children as may be delegated by the ASEAN Leaders and Foreign Ministers

By having those mandates and functions, ACWC reinforces international standards by providing venue where human rights concerns can be addressed within the social, historical and cultural context of a particular region. Then, we think that we need to strengthen the implementation of women rights set up by CEDAW and other international instruments in the ASEAN region by providing sustained and enabling conditions in support of women rights. We furthermore identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of CEDAW and other instruments and develop collective strategies to address these issues. We also think to find the platform for convergence of government efforts and NGO initiatives in addressing the urgent issues of women.

2012 – 2016 Progress So Far

  1. Publication of best practices in addressing violence against women

  2. Declaration on Violence Against Women (and Violence Against Children)

  3. Convergence Towards More Effective Implementation of CEDAW and CRC on Citizenship and Statelessness

  4. High Level Conference on Gender Dimensions of Migration

  5. Social Impact of Climate Change on Women (and Children)

  6. ASEAN Wide Commemoration of Day Against Violence Against Women

Partnership with other ASEAN Bodies for Greater Impact

ACWC has some planning to work together with other ASEAN Bodies, such as:

  1. Joint Conference on the Protection of Migrant Women Workers with ASEAN Committee on Women

  2. Joint Research on Promoting Gender Fair Education and Removal of Sex Stereotypes in Curriculum with ASEAN Committee on Women

  3. Forthcoming joint project with AICHR on trafficking, human rights education, gender, peace and security

  4. At national level, we have a diversity of joint activities, consultation with other institutions, such as national consultation in Viet Nam, National Women’s Summit in Philippines, VAW campaign in Thailand

  5. Proposed Joint Statement on Beijing, CEDAW and MDG with ACW

  6. Proposed Joint Conference on the Economic Impact on Women of the ASEAN Economic Integration with ACW


There are some opportunities for us to play the role in advocating the rights of women especially in related to the economic, social and cultural rights. ACWC ha a close relationship with civil society and other groups on the ground has provided a better grasp of women’s situation and needs. In the principle of complementarily, equality and coordination, we welcome all stakeholders to seat together to discuss and design joint program with all stakeholders.

On the external condition, we also see that the ASEAN Integration program opens the door for more regional activities and actions as well as in raising standards for direct participation of women (and children) in the programs of ACWC thru a direct accreditation process. This also provides an opportunity for ACWC to make a stronger bid for gender mainstreaming of perspectives and programs in the 3 pillars of ACWC. There is a major disconnect between economic and social and cultural pillars. Human rights and standards on economic rights, social inclusion and social protection are not considered adequately in the economic integration agenda. There is lack of inter-ASEAN dialogue and collaboration between and among the 3 pillars.
There are some possible areas of Discussion, Research and Advocacy of ACWC in the ASEAN Economic Integration.

  1. A More Inclusive View of Women’s Contribution to Economic Development and women’s location in the economy and the forthcoming economic integration of ASEAN.

  2. A critical analysis of the feminization of poverty and feminization of migration and its relationship with the lack of women’s economic rights in land and property.

  3. Coherence and congruence of human rights standards with ASEAN’s economic integration agenda.

  4. Exclusion of domestic workers in the free movement of labor agenda.

  5. VAW and other Discriminatory practices against women including in work and employment.

Limitation of ACWC

  1. ACWC does not have the power of monitoring nor conducting investigations on violations of rights of women (and children);

  2. ACWC does not require countries to submit regular progress reports on women (and children);

  3. ACWC does not have the power to communicate when serious violations against women (and children) occur;

  4. The organizational and substantive isolation and marginalization of gender issues from the political, security and economic issues in ASEAN

Challenges in Promoting and Protecting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Women

  1. Generation of sex disaggregated data and feminist analyses of the impacts of economic integration in ASEAN should be undertaken on specific sectors;

  2. Systematic integration of gender perspectives, programs and expertise in all three pillars of ASEAN by setting gender indicators and standards in project delivery;

  3. Increase the visibility and connectivity of ACWC representatives thru ICT and person to person interaction at the national level;

  4. Develop comprehensive guidelines in the engagement of ACWC representatives at the national level.

  5. Strategic planning for an outcomes/results based and sustainable ACWC ;

  6. Monitoring of results for greater accountability.

  7. Developing a possible reporting process ;

  8. Engaging the ASEAN governments in constructive conversations about critical issues involving women in the region;

  9. More intensive campaigns against violence against women (and children) as part of ASEAN annual agenda;

  10. Strengthening Network of Social Services Provider initiatives to equip social services to assist abused/exploited women (and children) in gender based violence including during complex emergencies and conflict situations.

Future Steps

For the future agenda – together with other entities – we would like to strengthening program to influence ASEAN political, economic and cultural agenda. Furthermore, it is also important to develop a common template for reporting on the status of situation of women (and also children) in ASEAN. ACWC is also trying to issuing collective positions and statements on significant events and for a (Beijing + 20; MDGs and Post 2015 agenda etc) as well as regional developments relating to women (and children). We also think that we need to build and develop a regular resource base for human rights action, research and capacity building with a gender perspective in ASEAN in cooperation with civil society and strengthening a gender responsive capacity building program for ASEAN countries to respond to women and children’s rights issues with due diligence including preparing reports to human rights bodies. Finally, we would like to linking and harmonizing human rights goals with development goals.

Recommendations to UN Mechanisms

  1. To facilitate an exchange of best practices among regional mechanisms and UN mechanisms.

  2. To provide technical assistance to ASEAN mechanisms and to national institutions in order to meet the goals of promoting and protecting the economic, social and cultural rights of women particularly to the most marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Geneva, 9 October 2014

Ahmad Taufan Damanik

Indonesia Representative for Children Rights to

The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection on the Rights of Women and Children

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