APWLD and International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) formed the Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN (Women’s Caucus) in September 2008. The Women’s Caucus represents an extensive network of women’s human rights groups from 11 different countries in Southeast Asia.
The network currently consists of over 100 diverse women’s human rights partners of Southeast Asia. We bring together women from the Southeast Asia region and provide a platform for them to share information, build expertise, support collective advocacy and provide a strong, coherent voice to women. The Women’s Caucus strategically and positively engages with ASEAN and influence its processes, decisions, instruments and policies and structures in order to achieve the full realisation of women’s human rights in Southeast Asia. The Women’s Caucus also collaborates with the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and civil society networks.
The objectives of the programme are:
To see Women’s human rights principles and standards reflected in ASEAN processes, policies, outputs and mechanisms.
To achieve our goal we will undertake two intersecting strategies
- Strengthen awareness and expertise of ASEAN and its instruments amongst the women’s movement in SEA
- Engage with ASEAN and influence its processes, decisions and framework
The inter-governmental nature of the human rights bodies of ASEAN means that both national level engagement and regional level engagement remain essential. The Women’s Caucus has established national focal points who will continue to obtain information, make contacts, seek to engage with relevant ministries and bodies, facilitate national level activities and, together with other national members of the Caucus, raise awareness of ASEAN and its importance to women.
While the terms of reference for ASEAN are restrictive, it is imperative that civil society groups engage with ASEAN and explore opportunities to expand the mandate of the nascent human rights bodies. Other regional and international human rights institutions have similarly commenced with a restrictive mandate and have progressively expanded their jurisdiction. The Caucus wants to consider the strategies that have worked in other regions and how that might apply to ASEAN.
Principles: The Southeast Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN, also known as the Women’s Caucus, is committed to uphold and ensure the following three Principles:
• Human Rights For All Above All, particularly for the more vulnerable, marginalised, disadvantaged women and girl children;
• Ensure Accountability to Women and the Peoples of Southeast Asia through independent, transparent, effective and responsive processes and structures which are consistent with Member States’ human rights obligations to protect, promote, fulfil and realise the human rights of women. This includes extraterritorial obligations and recognition of primacy of human rights over and above other obligations;
• Meaningful and Substantive Participation and Representation of Women in ASEAN which is inclusive and representative of the diverse and multiple sectors of society aimed at eliminating discrimination and ensuring substantive equality of all women in Southeast Asia.
Women’s Caucus Bulletin
On behalf of the Women’s Caucus, APWLD produces a quarterly bulletin to keep members in the loop with the national and regional activities of the Women’s Caucus.
Learn More about ASEAN’s New Human Rights Mechanisms
Women’s Caucus Submission to ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and
Protection of Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)
Women’s Caucus’ submission on ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
The South East Asian Women’s Caucus on ASEAN sent its initial submission on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) to ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on 21 October 2011. The submission is a result of a series of national and regional consultation among the Women’s Caucus members, their partners and communities.The submission highlighted among different human rights, non-discrimination, sexual and reproductive health and rights, freedom from violence, decent work, freedom of movement, equal rights and roles in marriage, participation in peace processes.