Having made a significant contribution in the field of protection and promotion of children’s rights in high risk communities, the Laura Vicuña Foundation was invited to participate in this course which provided an introduction to the international framework on children’s rights and how it is implemented and applied in the ASEAN Region. Representing the Foundation was Ms. Emy India who was granted a full scholarship for the entire duration of this course. The participants came from Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines.
One of the highlights was a discussion on the ASEAN economic integration and how this will affect children particularly their fundamental rights. Posed with positive and negative impacts, the ASEAN member states goal is to implement the Free Trade Area, a second level of integration which will remove tariff and quotas resulting in lower prices of goods. This will be taking effect on December 30th 2015.
Perceived problems and issues which will affect children and youth by this ASEAN integration include the following: mobility (statelessness, children in detention/ shelters); poverty and income distribution; labor standards; environmental hazards; cost and standard of healthcare; access to food/health & shelter especially for migrants; smuggling and human trafficking (prostitutions/ forced labor/ organ trafficking); and feminization of labor among others.
Civil Organizations are calling for a harmonized effort to mitigate the negative effects of ASEAN integration, one of which is providing child rights’ based safety nets for the protection of children.