Intergovernmental Support

Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Regional Mechanisms to Protect the Human Rights of Women and Girls in Southeast Asia

Programme Duration: April 2010 – September 2014

Donor: DFATD

UN Women’s mandate is to promote women’s human rights and to facilitate the realization of gender equality. Within Southeast Asia, it has partnered with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in  various efforts to help the member government effectively implement human rights standards set out in the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

To support, ASEAN mechanism for human rights, women’s rights and gender equality, such as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), UN Women is implementing a regional project titled, Regional Mechanisms to Protect the Human Rights of Women and Girls in Southeast Asia (2010 – 2014), in response to the growing need to support the mandates of the AICHR and ACWC for gender equality and women and girl’s rights.

About the Project

The project aims to ensure that women and girl’s rights are better protected in ASEAN Member countries through effective regional mechanism such as the AICHR and ACWC. It is generously supported by the Government of Canada.

  • Long term outcome:

Women's and girl’s rights are better protected in ASEAN member countries

  • Immediate Outcomes of the Project:
  1. AICHR and ACWC adopt programmes and dialogue mechanisms that effectively promote and protect women’s human rights,
  2. Enhanced capacity of national and regional women’s groups and NHRIs to engage with AICHR and ACWC and advocate with them on the women’s human rights issues that need to be addressed at the regional level,
  3. The Secretariats for AICHR and ACWC within the ASEAN Secretariat provides effective support to the respective Commissions that they serve in addressing women’s human rights principles and priorities in the region to effectively support AICHR and ACWC.
  • In 2013, there were positive developments in Southeast Asia related to human rights promotion and protection.  Some examples in the region include: continued political reform in Myanmar, which resulted in the release of more political prisoners; withdrawal of bans on political parties; greater freedom for the media; the adoption of the Declaration on Elimination of Violence against Women and Violence against children; Elections in Cambodia in 2013 and formation of a young women’s cross-party coalition, signing of the Peace agreement in the Philippines 2013 resulting in progress in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao, Philippines.
  • Within ASEAN sectoral bodies and secretariat in 2013, Brunei Darussalam was the Chair of ASEAN. A few notable events which have direct implications on human rights protection in the region are:
  • The implementation of the Declaration on Human Rights was also high on the agenda of the AICHR and other ASEAN HR Sectoral bodies. The AHRD was printed and launched in all ASEAN member states and several panel discussions were held around the year on Human Rights Challenges in the Region and the implementation of the AHRD.
  • In December 2013, The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) agreed on a plan of action at its Special Meeting convened on 26-27 November 2013 in Brunei Darussalam. This includes the implementation of the declaration on the elimination of violence against women and violence against children.

Project Strategy

AP Flags

In assisting the AICHR and ACWC in fulfilling their approved mandates towards human rights for women and girls, UN Women will employ the following strategies in this project:

1) Support the generation of knowledge and evidence base on the situation of women’s human rights, including good practices, in ASEAN region and the extent of discrimination against women towards creating a greater understanding of special areas of attention needed on women’s rights.

This will include;

  • Supporting in-depth research on women’s human rights within the region
  • Organizing and supporting the organization of forums, colloquiums, seminars and other events to facilitate a common understanding among AICHR and ACWC representatives of women’s human rights situation in the region and the role that the commission can play for the protection and promotion of women’s human rights
  • Supporting the establishment of consultation mechanism of AICHR and ACWC members with Civil Society Organizations, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) representatives and human rights experts;

2) Supports the Southeast Asian Women’s Caucus on ASEAN in further mobilizing national and regional NGOs in engaging with the AEAN Human Rights Commission and other bodies through national and regional level meetings, workshops and other events;

3) Supports interregional exchanges of the Southeast Asian Women’s Caucus on ASEAN members with representatives of African, American and European women rights advocates, who have experience engaging with their respective regional human rights mechanisms;

4) Provide assistance to NHRIs to bring women’s rights violation to the attention of the AICHR and ACWC through joint sessions and consultations with women’s organizations; and

5) Support AICHR and ACWC Secretariat staff in building their knowledge and understanding of women’ human rights principles, international human rights mechanisms, and women’s human rights priorities in the region through training workshops and participation in external training programmes  

Project Partners
  • ASEAN Human Rights Bodies: AICHR, ACWC
  • ASEAN Secretariat
  • ACW and SOM-SDW
  • Southeast Asian Women’s Caucus on the ASEAN
  • Southeast Asia NHRI Forum (SEANF) and its members NHRIs
  • UN Agencies and development partners: OHCHR, UNICEF, UNDP, SEARCH project
The project is generously supported by the government of Canada.

For more information on the project, contact UN Women Office for Asia and the Pacific, CEDAW Southeast Asia Programme.  Email:  cedaw.seap@unwomen.org