On 29 and 30 March in Bangkok the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) and Forum Asia held a consultation with civil society organisations on the implementation of its regional plans of action on the elimination of violence against women and children, adopted by ASEAN in late 2015.

The regional plans of action are putting into practice the commitment of ASEAN member states to eliminate violence against women and children expressed in their 2013 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Violence against Children in ASEAN.

The regional plan on eliminating violence against children was drafted by two working groups, one based in Thailand, with input from across the children’s rights sector, and another one comprising ASEAN member states’ representatives. Dr Saisuree Chutikul, a former cabinet minister in a number of Thai governments, who steered the process of drafting the two action plans and their adoption by the member states, provided a ‘behind the scenes’ overview of the process of drafting the plans. The plan focusing on children was drafted between October 2014 and August 2015 and the drafting working group reviewed more than 1,200 documents containing recommendations concerning violence against children in ASEAN member states. In addition to the active input from civil society organisation it also incorporated feedback from the office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children.

The plan on eliminating violence against children aims to ensure that ASEAN has institutionalised policies in this area and that ASEAN member states have effective prevention and protection services supported by national legal frameworks and institutional mechanisms. It covers a period of ten years but also sets priorities for the first five years.

The purpose of the meeting in which Terre des Hommes Netherlands took part was to establish the support civil society organisations are able to offer to member states in the implementation of the regional and national plans.

In his intervention on the first day of the meeting, Mr. Stefan Stoyanov, Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ trafficking and migration expert, outlined the range of inputs the organisation is able to provide to the implementation of the national plans through the work of its partner organisations that is already being implemented and through further contribution to the drafting and implementation of the plans. Mr. Stoyanov also emphasised the need for involving children in the process of development of the national plans on eliminating violence against children and commented on the omission of immigration detention as a form of depriving children of liberty, in the plan and called for joint up approach in government planning in the area of combating child trafficking. A number of member states expressed particular interest in Terre des Hommes Netherlands expertise in combating online child abuse and online protection of children. The input of the participating organisations highlighted the contribution civil society organisations are making, but did not provide enough information on governments’ progress with the development of national plans, with a few exceptions.

Terre des Hommes Netherlands is looking forward to partnering with governments, jointly with other civil society organisations, on the writing and implementation of the national plans of action to end violence against children.


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