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Asean CHR convenes in RP after ratification of convention against human trafficking

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

Days after the ratification of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) convention against human trafficking, the bloc’s intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (CHR) early this week has marked its first meeting in Boracay, Aklan.
The meeting was chaired by Leo Herrera-Lim, representative of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on February 13 to 15.
As announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the group has extensively discussed its 2017 Priority Programs that have expanded to new areas, including Sustainable Development Goals, access to education, judiciary and human rights, and right to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Among others, the AICHR agreed to convene the 2nd Asean-European Union Policy Dialog on Human Rights.
The 24th Meeting of the AICHR will be convened at the Asean Secretariat, Jakarta on May 15 to 19, 2017.
On February 7, the Philippines has been the sixth Asean member to deposit its instrument of ratification for the Asean Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP).
In accordance with the terms of the ACTIP, the Convention will enter into force on the 30th day upon the submission of the instrument of ratification of the sixth Asean Member State.
The other five signatories were Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
During her call on Asean Secretary General Le Luong Minh, permanent representative of the Philippines to Asean Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso emphasized that President Duterte places high importance to the fight against trafficking in persons.
Buensuceso underscored that the president highlighted this subject during the launch of the Philippine’s chairmanship to Asean in Davao City last January 15, 2017.
The envoy stressed that the ratification of the ACTIP is included in the “dream list” of deliverables during the Philippine Chairmanship of Asean this year.
As per the DFA, once the ACTIP enters into force, it will be implemented along with the Asean Plan of Action (APA) against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Since trafficking in persons requires multi-sectoral collaboration, the relevant Asean Sectoral Bodies and Organs are currently discussing measures to coordinate cross-cutting efforts in implementing the ACTIP and APA on both national and regional levels with the recent AICHR meeting as one level of this cooperation.
Emphasizing our “lead role” in the development, signing and implementation of the ACTIP, the DFA said the Philippines as this year’s chairman to Asean continues to advocate against human trafficking within the Asean Senior Officials/Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime.

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