Statement from the Southeast Asia Sub-regional Conference on Human Rights & Dignity of Asian Girls – Building Girl Friendly Cities, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 11-12, 2015

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SE Asia Conference on Building Girl Friendly Cities in Phnom Penh, May 11-12, 2015

  1. Introduction
    • Eighteen partners from eleven organizations from twelve countries (Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, France, Belgium, UK, USA, and Taiwan) involved in the Asian Girl Campaign met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on May 11-12, 2015 to discuss how to create “girl friendly cities” in the framework of dignity and human rights for girls in Asia.
    • We recognized the statement from the 2014 South Asia regional conference in Chandigarh, India on September 29th – October 1st, 2014.
    • We focused on three main themes of (1) personal safety and health rights; (2) increasing participation and removing stereotypes in education; and (3) policies and practices in realizing the promises of CEDAW and other international treaties.
    • We discussed in detail some of the many problems that affect girls in Southeast Asia including sexual reproductive health rights, sexual abuse, the cycle of violence, the culture of blind obedience and denial, LBT human rights, equality in education, sex education, employment, family relations, and the media.
  1. Enhancing Girls’ Personal Safety and Health Rights
    • We call on cities and states to adopt a human-rights based approach to prevention, intervention, treatment and advocacy for girls.
    • We encourage partners to work together with the authorities, including the police and courts, to train frontline officials to be aware of gender issues and protect victims with early intervention.
    • We call on countries to set the legal age of marriage to 18 years old, regardless of cultural practices and traditions that may contradict this.
    • We call on cites to raise awareness of sexual abuse of lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender/trans* (LBT) girls.
    • We call on cities to give special protection to children who are abused because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and bodies (SOGIEB).
    • We demand an end to the cruel and unnecessary practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
    • We call on cities to carry out programs to increase access to immunization.
    • We call on cities to provide well-funded early intervention and after-care programs for victims of violence and abuse.
  1. Choice of education paths: increasing participation and removing stereotypes
    • We call on cities to ensure that education is not a privilege but a right that is accessible to anyone regardless of economic or social status, or gender identity or sexual orientation.
    • We call on cities to mainstream gender equality in education programs and policies.
    • We encourage partnerships with schools, teachers, parents, and school children to promote awareness of gender-based violence, sexual bullying.
    • We urge schools to provide sex and health education.
    • We encourage partners to share curriculum and education materials within our network and adapt them to local needs.
    • We call on cities to implement personal safety education for girls through schools, communities, shelters and other spaces accessed by girls.
    • We call on cities to build support systems around high-risk children, teach children their human rights, and teach them assertive skills to build resilience to face dangerous situations.
    • We call on cities to encourage girls to play team sports to build leadership qualities and learn life-skills.
    • We call on cities to introduce programs that give girls guidance about their future career paths, encourage them to fulfill their full potential, and strive for senior leadership and boardroom positions.
    • We call on cities to help keep girls in school through problems of pregnancy, domestic abuse and other pressures that might interrupt their education.
    • We call on schools to use textbooks that are gender sensitive and do not promote traditional stereotypes.
  1. Policies and Practices in Realizing the Promises of CEDAW and other international treaties
    • We call on cities to give girls full equality, including equal space, equal voice, and equal worth, especially in the areas of education, employment and family relations.
    • We urge all Southeast Asian states that have not yet ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its optional protocol to do so immediately without reservations; and for those countries who have ratified CEDAW with reservations to remove their reservations immediately.
    • We call on countries to remove legal barriers, including national laws and dual legal systems, which are conflict with the spirit of CEDAW.
    • We call on states to submit regular CEDAW reports once every four years, and encourage NGOs to submit shadow/alternative reports regardless of whether their governments submit reports or not.
    • We call on cities to strengthen existing programs and policies to protect the economic rights of children of single parents, especially in cases of parents who do not pay child support.

Terms of reference:

  • Partners: Garden of Hope, SCWO, WAO, PS The Children, CSAGA, SALT, Ardhanary Institute, IJM Cambodia, Precious Women, CLRDC, Green Pasture Inn
  • States/Countries: Countries and states in Southeast Asia
  • Cities: Cities in Southeast Asia
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