The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) convened its 7th meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from July 22-24, with the participation of ASEAN Member States (AMS).

According to the ACWC press release, the meeting finalised draft Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW) and Elimination of Violence Against Children (VAC) that addresses the concern of VAW and VAC as obstacles to achieving equality, peace and development, and reflects the collective efforts of ASEAN to intensify and strengthen policy, legal frameworks and institutional capacity to counter VAW and VAC.

The ACWC reaffirmed its commitment to remove such obstacles in the context of strengthening regional cooperation, collaboration, and coordination that endeavored to eliminate VAW and VAC by key measures, such as building adequate resourced national welfare systems, protection, recovery and rehabilitation of victims, promotion of legislation against VAW and VAC, protection of the right of women and children.

The Declaration also highlighted the coverage of vulnerabilities and emerging forms of abuse confronted by women and children such as conflict, migration, disaster, emergency situation, climate change, human trafficking, labor, cyber based abuses, persons with disabilities, statelessness and belonging to ethnic and/or indigenous groups, saying these need to be addressed.

The meeting recognised the contributions of AMS, sectoral bodies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in providing relevant inputs in enriching the Declaration period.

It further accentuated the need for intensified collaboration and partnership among AMS, CSOs, governments, and relevant institutions, both local and international, to effectively eliminate VAW and VAC.
The Declaration will be presented to the 23rd ASEAN Summit in October 2013 for adoption.

Delegates to the meeting also dealt with the progress of implementation of projects and activities led by AMS under the ACWC Work Plan 2012-2016.

The 8th ACWC meeting will be held in early 2014 at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia.-VNA