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ASEAN Declaration on the Rights of Children in the Context of Migration

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WE, the Heads of State and Government of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (hereinafter referred to as “ASEAN”), namely Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, on the occasion of the 35th ASEAN Summit;

NOTING with deep concern the millions of children worldwide who are displaced from their homes, including by conflict, poverty, disaster, climate change, and environmental degradation, experience exploitation, deprivation and discrimination on their journeys within and across borders, and acknowledging the need for mechanisms to ensure the protection of their rights and access to services in all regions of the world, including the ASEAN region;

REFERRING to the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which has been ratified by all ASEAN Member States, and recognising that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the standard for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, including in the context of migration;

RECALLING all other appropriate international instruments to which ASEAN Member States are Parties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;

RECALLING the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in New York, USA, in September 2015 including Goals 3, 4, 8, 10, 13, 16, 17, and in particular Target 10.7 to “Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”, and Target 16.2 to “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children”, in addition to many additional targets related to migration and the pledge that no one will be left behind and to reach the furthest behind first;

REAFFIRMING our commitment to the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Children (RPA on EVAC), the ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for Out-of-School Children and Youth, as well as the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;

FURTHER REAFFIRMING our commitment to the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the ASEAN Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the ASEAN Multi-Sectoral Work Plan, also referred to as the “Bohol TIP Work Plan”;

COGNISANT of our commitment under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 towards an inclusive ASEAN Community that promotes and protects the human rights of its peoples including, among others, children, youth, migrant workers, and vulnerable and marginalised groups;

RECOGNISING the sovereignty of ASEAN Member States, and the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, in determining their own policies relating to children in the context of migration, including determining entry into and departure from their territory and under which conditions they may remain;

REITERATING that ASEAN should make further progress as a cohesive and caring society committed to enhancing the quality of life and well-being as well as to strengthening cooperation in addressing the underlying causes of children in the context of migration, with an emphasis on the prevention of such causes;