The ASEAN leaders expressed their commitment Wednesday to stronger and broader approaches to eliminate violence against women and children.
In a declaration adopted at the 23rd ASEAN Summit held here Wednesday, the leaders recognized that such violence affected victims of all ages in different settings.
“Violence against women and violence against children occur irrespective of the stages of the life cycle, whether at home, in school..as a result of gender bias, discriminatory and harmful practices and must be eliminated,” it said.
The leaders urged a strengthened “holistic, multidisciplinary approach” to promote the rights of women and children along with an approach that is responsive to gender and age as well as being sensitive to children to eliminate violence against women and children.
The document, titled “The declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the Elimination of Violence Against Children in ASEAN”, said such approaches should include investigating, prosecuting, punishing and rehabilitating perpetrators if necessary.
At the same time, it said, victims and survivors should be provided with access to justice, legal assistance, protection, social welfare services, education and health services.
The leaders tasked relevant ASEAN bodies to promote the implementation of this declaration and review its progress through appropriate instruments and actions with the support of ASEAN member states.
Meanwhile, the leaders also agreed at the summit with the theme “Our People, Our Future Together” to do more to encourage young people in Southeast Asia to develop entrepreneurial skills and undertake volunteer activities.
Recognizing that the regional youth unemployment rate was ” considerably higher” than in East or South Asia and projected to rise over the next five years, the leaders urged ministerial bodies under both the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Commodity and the ASEAN Economic Community to make efforts to address such challenges.
Established in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.