AICHR Holds Dialogue to Strengthen Awareness on the Rights of The Child
MANILA 12 December 2019 – The ASEAN Intergovernnmental Commission on Human Rights Philippines, in partnership with Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia) and Norway, hosted the ASEAN Dialogue on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) General Comments on 11 to 12 December 2019 in Manila.
The Dialogue is a follow through on the ASEAN Dialogue on the UNCRC and Its Related Instruments held in Manila in October 2018 which recommended raising awareness on the UNCRC General Comments and strengthening collaboration between ASEAN and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
This year’s Dialogue shared best practices in addressing challenges by discussing the General Comments as authoritative interpretations of the UN CRC articles and as a means to identify regional and international similarities in advancing the rights of the child. General Comment 12 on the right of the child to be heard and General Comment 14 on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration were extensively discussed.
Recommendations raised include strengthening the awareness of decision makers on General Comments, institutionalizing monitoring and evaluation processes on the implementation of General Comments, reinforcing efforts to educate children about their rights, and streamlining the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in ASEAN, among others. These recommendations will serve as inputs in policy formulation at the national and regional levels. Special focus was given to children in vulnerable situations such as children of illegal migrants, child brides, children of sex workers and those with disabilities. A special session on child participation with a child rights advocate, 16-year old Ericka Quilos, was also held during the Dialogue.
Experts and practitioners included Atty. Mikiko Otani, Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child; Prof. Dato’ Noor Aziah Mohd. Awal, Malaysian Commissioner for Child Affairs of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM); Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, former Representative of AICHR Thailand; and other child rights experts and advocates from ASEAN Member States. The Dialogue was attended by representatives of ASEAN Member States, government agencies, national legislators, civil society organizations, and other persons working with children.
Philippine Representative to the AICHR Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso read the message of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. who called on participants to find more ways to interpret and implement the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the face of new challenges confronting the children of ASEAN. Secretary Locsin enjoined government decision-makers and civil society representatives to give meaning to the Convention’s core objective of promoting and protecting children’s rights and to share best practices that have saved children from abuse and neglect. Undersecretary Florita Villar of the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development also read the message of Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista who challenged the participants to realize efforts in advancing children’s rights.
The Dialogue is part of the 2019 AICHR Priority Programme and Activities and is funded through the Norway-ASEAN Regional Integration Programme.