Conference among ASEAN countries on the issue of bullying children at schools and online

The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on November 26 held an online meeting among ASEAN countries on the issue of bullying children at schools and online.

The online conference saw the participation of representatives from the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), ASEAN specialist bodies working in education, health, information and communications, the ASEAN Secretariat, the UNICEF office in Vietnam, international organisations, and ASEAN partners.

In her opening address, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Ha said she highly values the cooperation and support of UNICEF, development partners, donors, specialist agencies from ASEAN, and civil and non-governmental organisations for their technical and financial support for activities to promote children’s rights in general and to protect them from bullying at school and on the internet in particular.

She suggested strengthening cooperation between ACWC and other specialist agencies within ASEAN, and between ASEAN member countries and other countries around the world, to work towards ending bullying and violence at school and online and creating a suitable environment for children’s comprehensive development.

Delegates exchanged views on bullying at school and online around the world and in ASEAN in particular.

They also shared good practice and made recommendations to relevant ASEAN bodies to address the issue.

On the “Children’s Insights” session, children from World Vision Vietnam’s “Tackling online child sexual exploitation” project represented Vietnamese children to share their perspectives, experiences, and key considerations for policymakers in order to end child bullying at schools and online.

The conference is part of the ACWC’s working plan in the 2016-2020 period, in the context of the increasing risk to children from bullying at school and online.

The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) is an ASEAN regional human rights institution established in 2010. It is an intergovernmental commission comprising 20 representatives, two from each of the ASEAN ten Member States.

ASEAN first called for the establishment of a commission on the rights of women and children in the 2004 Vientiane Action Programme (VAP). In 2009, this Commission was included as part of ASEAN’s community-building plan – the “Roadmap for the ASEAN Community (2009-2015)”.

In 2009, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council endorsed ACWC’s Terms of Reference (TOR) and the Commission was formally established on 7 April 2010.  ACWC held its 1st official meeting until February 2011, once all ASEAN member had nominated their ACWC representatives.

Tu Anh