ASEAN commission on women’s rights debuts

The ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was officially established in Hanoi on April 7, with 20 members from 10 ASEAN nations taking part.

Speaking at the ceremony, Vietnam’s Prime Minister and Chair of ASEAN 2010 Nguyen Tan Dung, said that the setting up of the ACWC reflected the aspirations of ASEAN’s leaders as stated in the 2004 Vientiane Action Programme, the roadmap for building the ASEAN Community from 2009-2015 based o­n the three pillars of politics-security, economics and socio-cultural issues and narrowing the development gap.

“The move will also contribute to realising the theme of ASEAN 2010 which is, Towards the ASEAN Community: From Vision to Action,” said the PM.

The formation of the ACWC is considered an important measure that will help to increase social welfare and promote the participation of women and children from the region when building the ASEAN Community.

PM Dung said that the commission will champion the wishes of women and children within the ASEAN member countries, as well as the targets related to women and children set out in the ASEAN Charter, the roadmap for building the ASEAN Community and other legislation.

The governments leader said that he hoped the ACWC will work closely with the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission o­n Human Rights and other bodies both in and outside the bloc to help promote and protect the rights of women and children, who now account for more than a half of the region’s population and are the most vulnerable to adverse impacts resulting from the development process.

The Vietnamese Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chair of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community meeting, said the founding of the ACWC marked an important milestone in ensuring the equal development of women and children when building the ASEAN Community.

Ngan, who also takes over the chair of the ASEAN Social Welfare Ministers’ meeting, said that the ACWC will hold its first meeting to discuss targets and operational directions for the near future.

The debut of the ACWC was held within the framework of the third meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) prior to the 16 th ASEAN Summit.

The meeting discussed carrying out the ASCC’s master plan, the deployment of the community’s plans in the near future and debating and defining priorities for 2010 whilst adopting a number of documents related to the ASCC’s activities.