Working on a Child Friendly ASEAN

The ASEAN Community Members gathered in Manila, Philippines, this week to discuss the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The discussion concentrated on challenges and current emerging issues related to child protection within the ASEAN countries. It focused on improved collaboration between ASEAN Member States to protect children from exploitation. This discussion was particularly relevant in relation to the open borders planned for the end of this year within the ASEAN Economic Community.

 

Promotion and protection of children's rights in ASEAN

“This workshop contributed to the promotion and protection of children's rights in ASEAN,” says Mr. Sopheap Suon, Country Manager for Cambodia and Lao PRD, Terre des Hommes Netherlands.

Government officials, local-based NGOs, NGOs and children across the ASEAN countries were taking part in the discussion. They discussed updates on the status of the implementation of the human rights mechanisms specifically on the promotion and protection of children’s rights in ASEAN. They also identified priorities and common or cross-cutting issues on children’s rights across the region and encouraged dialogue and coordination among the different agencies that implement measures to address the issues. Multiple stakeholders who envision a Child-Friendly ASEAN will work in partnership to develop possible standards that need to be met to achieve a child-friendly region.

“Additionally, we identified opportunities for possible areas of collaboration and cooperation keeping in mind the trends and opportunities in the upcoming ASEAN Integration,” says Mr. Suon.

A comprehensive ASEAN agenda for children

This workshop was organized by the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC). The overall goal in the next few years is to come up with a comprehensive ASEAN agenda for children that will inspire a process of national implementation and social change in each state in the ASEAN Region.

“Terre des Hommes will give continuous input in this process to ensure the rights of children are protected,”says Hanneke Oudkerk, Interim Regional Representative, Terre des Hommes Netherlands.

All ten ASEAN member states, having ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), are internationally bound to “undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention  within the framework of international cooperation.” In line with their obligations under the CRC, the ASEAN member states have been working to create policies and programs for children in their localities.

 

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