ASEAN gov’t officials to train on children’s rights
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) will be launching a region-wide pioneering course to train ASEAN government officials on formulating policies to protect children’s rights.
Jaymie Reyes, a program officer at the AHRC, said the course is part of an initiative to create a regional framework for the protection and promotion of children’s rights in Southeast Asia.
“This course is the first of its kind. We want to build a network of champions (for child’s rights) across the region but first we should capacitate people, especially those in government who are very involved in policy making,” she told The Brunei Times.
Reyes said AHRC will partner with the ASEAN Secretariat and international non-profit Save the Children to run the course in Cambodia this June.
“We met with officials from various Brunei government agencies this week and they have expressed keen interest to attend, she said.
She added the week-long course will involve dialogues with prominent academics and human rights activists.
While the first course will be run specifically for policy-makers, a second course will be held in August for non-government organisations (NGOs).
“One of the recommendations from the UN committee was that Brunei should improve its expertise in policy formulation with regards to child’s rights, particularly on children with disabilities,” said Reyes.
She was in Brunei this week as a facilitator for a local forum to raise awareness on children’s rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The forum was held for local NGOs involved in the advocacy of children’s issues, and was organised in partnership with the Brunei Council on Social Welfare and Save the Children.
In its last report to the UNCRC Committee, the Brunei government highlighted several issues that need addressing in order to improve child rights, such as child online protection, improvements in the juvenile justice system, lack of expertise with regard to children with disabilities, inadequate data and awareness of children’s rights, and concerns over the low minimum age for marriage.
The Brunei government is due to submit a periodic report to the UNCRC Committee this year, where it will outline its efforts to honour its legal obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of all children within its jurisdiction.
The Brunei Times