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ACWC : Adoption of the Final Draft Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure for the UN CRC

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ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of

The Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)

Fax: +662-356-0538

[email protected]



ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of

The Rights of Women and Children (ACWC)

[email protected]

Dear Excellency:


We are a network of civil society organizations working towards the promotion and protection of child rights in ten countries in Southeast Asia. As part of our mandate, we advocate for the creation and strengthening of mechanisms for redress for children who have experienced violations and abuses of rights that are enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

As you may have known, a final draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide a communications procedure (OPCRC) has been adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. The said draft has been transmitted to the UN General Assembly for final adoption during its 66th regular session.

The UNCRC is the ratified human rights instrument globally. It is important to note that all member states of ASEAN are state parties to it. However, the UNCRC is the only core human rights instrument which lacks a communications procedure.

The UNCRC guarantees that all children have the right to submit complaints and seek redress for human rights violations they have experienced. Article 12(1) of the said instrument guarantees the right of the child to express views freely in all matters affecting the child in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. On the other hand, Article 12(2) places an obligation to the state to guarantee to the child the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child.

With regard to protecting the rights of victims of violence against children, Article 19 of the UNCRC mandates that states establish effective procedures for identification, reporting, investigation, treatment and follow-up. With regard to protecting children with disabilities from violence and neglect in the family and in institutions, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its General Comment No. 9(2006) suggests that a functional complaint-receiving and monitoring system is necessary to address systematic and continuing abuse.

The importance of having access to complaints mechanisms, particularly at the national level, has been reiterated several times by the UN Committee on the rights of the child in its general comments and concluding observations. In its General Comment No. 12(2009), the said committee identified as one of the core obligations of the state parties to the UNCRC the establishment of independent and accessible human rights institutions with a broad children’s rights mandate.

We urge the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) to actively support the adoption of the new OPCRC by encouraging ASEAN member states to either co-sponsor and/or vote in favour of the resolution officially adopting this new international instrument. Around 50 states globally have co-sponsored the Human Rights Council Resolution adopting the OPCRC, including Asian countries such as Thailand, Timor Leste, Japan and Bangladesh.

The adoption of the new OPCRC by the UN General Assembly will send a strong signal that children too, are rights holders and that they have the right to complain internationally when domestic remedies are ineffective, do not exist or have failed to provide justice to children.

The adoption of the OPCRC will significantly contribute to the overall protection of children’s rights by strengthening the monitoring of the UNCRC and promoting compliance by states. The adoption of the OPCRC will enable children to access an international mechanism that has experience and dedicated expertise to protect their human rights.

We also would welcome a meeting with you to discuss this recommendation and other issues concerning the OPCRC. Should you need further clarification on this letter, you may reach us through the following: (Telefax) +632-376-6388 or(Email) [email protected].


Ryan V. Silverio, Convenor, CRC Asia

Nooreen Preusser, Director, Protect and Save the Children (P.S. the Children) and Steering Committee Member, CRC Asia

Alberto R. Cacayan, Regional Coordinator, Terre Des Hommes Germany in Southeast Asia and Steering Committee Member, CRC Asia

Endorsed by:

International/ Regional Organizations

Save the Children Sweden

Southeast Asia Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)


Meas Samnang, Secretary General, NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child


Kreangkrai Chaimuangdee, Director, The Life Skills Development Foundation

Aung Myo Min, Executive Director, Human Rights Education Institute of Burma


Elizabeth Protacio-De Castro, Ph.D., Executive Director, Psychosocial Support and Children’s Rights Resource Center

Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights and Protection

Emmanuel C. Roldan, Executive Director, Kabataan Consortium, Inc.

Edith O. Casiple, Executive Director, Tambayan Center for the Rights of Children, Inc.

Roldan Gonzales, Executive Director, Gitib Inc.

Christopher Penales, Manager, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines-SocSarGen

Elsa Manabat, Executive Director, Katilingban Alang sa Kalambuan, Inc.

Agnes Zenaida V. Camacho, President of the Board of Trustees, Philippine Coalition to Protect Children Involved in Armed Conflict


Magdalena Sitorus, Chairperson, Sahabat Perempuan dan Anak Indonesia

Muhammad Jailani, Executive Director, Yayasan KKSP – Center for Child Rights Education and Information

Diena Haryana, Chairperson, Yayasan SEJIWA

Timor Leste

Joao Soares Reis Pequinho, Forum Tau Matan


Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights

14 October 2011