MKM attends Cambodia meet
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Brunei Council on Social Welfare (MKM) recently participated in the Asia-Pacific Partnership Meeting of Child Rights Coalitions and Network in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from June 2 to 4.
According to a press statement by the MKM, this was the first meeting organised by the Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia).
CRC Asia is a child rights and human rights organisation currently working in eight countries in Southeast Asia.
It operates in collaboration with its member organisation NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC) and is funded by Save the Children and UNICEF.
The meeting brought together 45 heads and representatives of national and regional coalitions and networks engaged in child rights advocacy from 16 Asia Pacific countries – Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Nur Judy Abdullah, MKM Vice President 1, represented the MKM together with Zubaidah Dato Paduka Hj Abu Zar, MKM Head of Children Committee.
Nur Judy said, “The interactive discussion among the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the Asia Pacific region gave us the opportunity to learn about how other experienced CSOs prepare alternative reports for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).”
“The various processes involved in advocating for the implementation of concluding observations, including budget advocacy for realisation of child rights in each country, were also extensively discussed,” she said.
Meanwhile, Zubaidah said she observed the significance of involving the children in the process of preparing an alternative report through nationwide consultations among children from various levels and categories.
Brunei acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in December 1995. It submitted its initial report in 2003, followed by the second and third report in March 2014.
The CRC implementation status in Brunei is due for another review in January 2016.
The Siem Reap meeting aimed to bring together national coalitions and networks in the Asia Pacific region to explore areas of collaboration and cooperation on child rights issues.
It also hoped to share ideas and develop plans for greater cooperation on child rights advocacy in the Asia Pacific region.
CRC Asia Regional Director Amihan Abueva cited statistics from United Nations World Population Prospects 2010 that over 60 per cent of the world’s youth live in Asia Pacific and this translates to more than 750 million young women and men aged 15 to 24 years.
She said Asia has the third largest number of children in the world and it is high time that Asia takes the lead in working on protecting the children’s rights for a better future.
In the meeting, each national CSO presented their organisations’ activities on child rights’ key issues in Asia Pacific including juvenile justice, children in poverty, violence against children, corporal punishment, bullying, children in disaster areas, children in conflict with the law and child labour, among others.
The meeting was designed to serve as a venue for participants to learn from fellow experts and advocates about trends, opportunities and challenges on a given child rights issue or initiative and for participants to share their own knowledge and experiences on the topic.
Updates on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (OP3 CRC) and the Human Rights Council Resolution on Investments in Children, as well as the draft of Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Children of the ASEAN were also extensively discussed.
The statement said the Asia Pacific region is experiencing great leaps in Internet connectivity and use, and children and youth are among the biggest users of the Internet.
Thus, the issue of online child protection and children’s rights to access the Internet have become key concerns of child right’s advocates.
Advocating for child protection in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were also agreed upon to be part of the collaborative work among the CSOs in the Asia-Pacific regions, the statement added.
The Brunei Times