Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights
of Women and Children
Ha Noi, 7 April 2010
The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of
the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was inaugurated
today in a ceremony held in Ha Noi in the lead-up towards
the 16th ASEAN Summit.
The inauguration of the Commission was officiated by the
Prime Minister of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, and
the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, H.E.
Mrs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. The inauguration comes within
the framework of the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural
Community Council (ASCC), which was convened at the National
Convention Centre in Ha Noi. It was witnessed by the ASEAN
Ministers responsible for ASCC and for Social Welfare
and Development, in addition to representatives from the
Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR),
the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights
(AICHR), the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Social
Welfare and Development and the ASEAN Committee on Women.
Representatives from several UN agencies such as UNICEF
and UNIFEM and from relevant ministries in Viet Nam were
The establishment of the ACWC is to promote and protect
the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and
children in ASEAN. It will take into consideration the
different historical, political socio-cultural, religious
and economic context in the region and the balances between
rights and responsibilities.
Speaking after the inauguration ceremony, the Secretary-General
of ASEAN said that “the Commission is the fulfillment
of the aspirations of the ASEAN Leaders. There are two
groups that ASEAN likes to see have their rights and privileges
promoted and protected and they are women and children.”
“If we wish to become a sharing and caring community,
we have to take care of the women and children. We have
to open up the space so that they feel ownership of ASEAN
community-building efforts,” he added.
The establishment of the ACWC is also aimed to promote
the well-being, development, empowerment and participation
of women and children in the ASEAN Community building
process which contribute to the realisation of the purposes
of ASEAN as set out in the ASEAN Charter.
At the 14th ASEAN Summit on 28 February – 1 March
2009, the ASEAN Leaders adopted the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration
on the Roadmap for the ASEAN Community (2009-2015) which
includes the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC)
Blueprint and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC)
Blueprint that reiterated the establishment of an ASEAN
commission on the promotion and protection of the rights
of women and children as an important measure to ensure
equitable development for women and children. The Terms
of Reference of the ACWC was agreed upon by the Ministers
responsible for Social Welfare and Development prior to
the 15th ASEAN Summit last year.
The functions of the ACWC are, among others, to promote
the implementation of international instruments, ASEAN
instruments and other instruments related to the rights
of women and children and develop policies, programs and
innovative strategies to promote and protect the rights
of women and children to complement the building of the
ASEAN Community. It would also promote public awareness
and education of the rights of women and children in ASEAN.
Each ASEAN Member State is to appoint two representatives
to the ACWC - one representative on women’s rights
and one representative on children’s rights. When
appointing their representatives to the ACWC, Member States
are to give due consideration to competence in the field
of the rights of women and children, integrity and gender
On the international front, all ASEAN Member States have
ratified and are parties to the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and
the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
For the speech by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, please