UN Women to hold a colloquium to promote women’s human rights in the Southeast Asian judicial system

Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Other language: Thai

Bangkok, Thailand - Women’s rights in all Southeast Asian nations are guaranteed by their states’ acceptance of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), praised as the most comprehensive international treaty for women’s rights.

The convention articulates a broad basis for member countries to ensure equal rights of men and women of human rights and basic fundamental rights in all areas. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, CEDAW has been ratified by a total 187 UN member countries to date.

CEDAW emphasizes as the cornerstone of member countries’ commitment, incorporation of the principle of equal human rights between men and women in their legal systems and establishment of conducive legal mechanism, given strong role of the judicial sector in reinforcing protection of women’s right outlined in the convention.

South East Asian nations have taken considerable steps to comply to CEDAW and international human rights standards in eliminating discrimination against women in the judicial system and promoting gender equality, albeit there has been an uneven progress. More efforts are needed to ensure that core principles of CEDAW and the observations of the CEDAW Committee are implemented in South East Asian countries’ domestic court rulings and decisions.

UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with Office of the Judiciary of Thailand and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) will commence on a landmark forum of Southeast Asian and international judges and judicial experts to promote their understanding on substantive issues of gender responsive jurisprudence,  women’s human rights and will foster dialogue and , knowledge sharing. The discussions will be anchored around principles of women’s human rights as defined in international human rights laws. .

Entitled the “Southeast Asia Regional Judicial Colloquium on Gender Equality Jurisprudence and the Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Women’s Access to Justice”, the forum offers a rare opportunity for all journalists to hold exclusive interviews with dignitaries in the international and regional judicial sector; and learn about their assessment of gender equality in the region, progress of CEDAW’s implementation and challenges; and recommendations.

The colloquium will be held on 4th -5th September at the InterContinental Hotel, Bangkok. Journalists are invited to the opening session on the morning of 4th September and to the reception dinner on 4th September.

Speakers at the opening session include Justice Wirat Chininigkul, Secretary General of the Thai Office of Judiciary; Ms. Roberta Clarke, Regional Director of UN Women and Representative in Thailand; Mr Saman Zia-Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director; and H.E. Mr. Philip Calvert, Ambassador of Canada for Thailand. Among the forum’s participants are Justice Suntariya Muanpawong, Chief Judge of the Juvenile and Family Court in Thailand’s Nakhon Pathom Province; Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Supreme Court of the Philippines; Judge Adele Kent, the National Judicial Institute of Canada; Justice Vacharin Patjekvinyusakul, President Justice of Thailand’s Supreme Court; Prof Virada Somswadi, head of Women Study Center of Chiang Mai University; Shanti Dairiam, CEDAW Committee Member and Ms. Imarana Jalal, Senior Social Development Specialist on Gender and Development, Asian Development Bank. The reception dinner on 4th September will have members of diplomatic community.

The forum is an important initiative, organised at this scale, with the judiciary of South East Asia on women’s human rights. This activity by UN Women’s, is undertaken with the support of the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), to improve the progress of CEDAW implementation and strengthening regional network of judicial personnel in eight Asean countries namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Parista Yuthamanop, Communications and Media Liaison Officer, CEDAW SEAP Regional Programme, +6681 9095491, pyuthamanop@gmail.com

Montira Narkvichien, Communications and Outreach Officer, UN Women, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, +6681 6688900, montira.narkvichien@unwomen.org

About UN Women Programme

UN Women is implementing the Regional Programme on Improving Women’s Human Rights in Southeast Asia (CEDAW SEAP) supported by the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada (DFATD), covering eight countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. One of the key focus areas of the Programme is enhancing women’s access to justice through awareness raising and capacity development of government (executive, legislative and judiciary) as well as of civil society organizations.