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How Safe is ASEAN for Women?

11 September, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Over the past decades, we have seen growing policy attention in Southeast Asia for the promotion and protection of women’s safety and security at both the national and regional levels. For instance, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN), according to its official website, now has six active regional mechanisms along with seven regional instruments which specifically designed and mandated to carry this mission. Since its establishment in 2010, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children(ACWC) has spearheaded many initiatives campaigns in this area. Most recently, ASEAN, with support from partners, launched the ASEAN HeForShe Campaign in 2017 and the making of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Violence against Women and Girls Data Collection and Use in 2018.

In the face of the increasing threats posed by conflicts and the rise of violent extremism special interest has been for enhancing women’s engagement in solving the peace and security-related problems. This has resulted in the adoption of Joint Statement on Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN in 2017, the launching of the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry in late 2018, and the Regional Training on Women, Peace and Security hosted by Indonesia in April 2019. However, questions remain on the implementation and impacts of these policy efforts regionally, nationally and locally. There are questions whether the perspective of gender is integrated into all initiatives, and whether the autonomy and rights of women are at the center of the proposed initiatives. Most importantly, there is a need to assess in how far the approaches by ASEAN and its Member States have responded to the real needs of women and fulfilled the promise to enhance protection and promotion of women’s safety and security in the household as well as in the public sphere.

Bearing these issues in mind, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Jakarta-based think tank and SEA Junction are co-organizing a panel discussion on 11 September at 6.30PM at SEA Junction with the support of Canada Mission to ASEAN and Partners Asia (see below). This is also part of a series of events focusing on various dimensions of women leadership in Southeast Asia initiated by SEA Junction in collaboration with Partners Asia. Issues that may be raised during the panel presentations and discussion include the prevailing understanding of ‘safety’ by ASEAN with regards to women; the gap between policies and experienced realities; connection of women’s safety and women’s security, and interventions needed to address the conditions of women who feel unsafe right now in the region, included migrant and refugee women and girls. The panel composition of speakers who will reflect on the theme from different angles is as follows:


Dr. Rosalia Sciortino Sumaryono
Associate Professor IPSR, Mahidol University and Director, SEA Junction

Opening Remarks

H.E. Ambassador Diedrah Kelly
Ambassador of Canada to ASEAN


  • Rachel Arinii Judhistari, East Asia and ASEAN Program Manager at Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia)
  • Deepa Bharathi, Chief Technical Adviser, Safe and Fair: Realizing women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
  • Aurora Javate de Dios, Senior Project Director of the Women and Gender Institute at Miriam College
  • Usa Lerdsrisuntad, Programme Director at Foundation for Women, Thailand
  • Fitriani, Researcher at Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia

Caption & Source: Women’s march to demand the ratification of the Bill against Sexual Violence in Jakarta on 8 December 2018 (Photo: ANTARA FOTO/Sigid Kurniawan in Kumparan https://kumparan.com/@kumparannews/foto-aksi-damai-menuntut-peresmian-ruu-penghapusan-kekerasan-seksual-1544253182616008153)

Speakers’ Short Bios 

Rachel Arinii Judhistari

Rachel Arinii Judhistari is East Asia and ASEAN Program Manager at Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia). Prior to that she was the Programme Manager for ASEAN Parliamentarian for Human Rights and also served as Asian Pacific Research and Resource Centre for Women (ARROW)’s Programme Advisory Committee. Rachel has worked with the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID); Executive Coordinator of Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR), and ARROW Program Officer among others.

Deepa Bharathi

Deepa Bharathi is the Chief Technical Adviser, Safe and Fair: Realizing women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region, ILO and the United Nations (UN) Women Regional Offices for Asia and the Pacific. She has worked in various UN agency including with UN Women as Programme Manager, Regional Programme on Empowering Women Migrant Workers in Asia.

Aurora Javate de Dios

Aurora Javate de Dios is lifelong feminist leader who combines academic excellence and advocacy for women’s human rights and gender equality. She is currently the Senior Project Director of the Women and Gender Institute at Miriam College, where she was former College Dean and currently Professor in International Relations, Migration and Gender studies. She is currently a Co-Convener of the Women’s Peace Collective. Formerly she was appointed as Representative for Women’s Rights to ACWC in 2010-2015; Chairperson of the Board of the Commissioners of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and was elected as one of the Experts in the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women where she became Rapporteur.

Usa Lerdsrisuntad

Usa Lerdsrisuntad is the Programme Director of the Foundation for Women and coordinator of the project “Protecting the rights of transnational migrant women and children in Thailans”. She has worked as Women’s Information Officer, at the Home for Battered Women, and for Weaving New Lives project addressing violence against women and children at the community level. She has a Bachelor Degree in Economics and a Master Degree in Human Rights.


Fitriani is a researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Her research covers women active engagement in peace and security, including peacekeeping operation and radical groups. She graduated from, and give lectures at, the University of Indonesia, focusing on gender in international relations. Fitri obtained her PhD from Cranfield University, UK in 2016. Her public writing can be accessed at https://fitribintang.com/


For Information/reservation for our events please email southeastasiajunction@gmail.com or phone/wa +66970024140

NB: The event is free, but donations are most welcome!


SEA-Junction, OUR Venue on Southeast Asia

SEA Junction aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions – from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org and joint the fb group sea-junction.

Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

CSIS Indonesia is an independent think tank that works on the issues of economics, politics and social change, as well as international relations. The think tank is founded in 1971 to promote public policy-oriented discussions both nationally and within the Southeast Asian region. CSIS is a regional think tank network founding institute, the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN ISIS) and acts as its secretariat. Please check CSIS website for more information on the organisation at https://csis.or.id.


Partners Asia, Connecting Local Leaders with Global Resources

Partners Asia has traditionally supported community initiatives to improve the lives of Myanmar’s most vulnerable in Myanmar and across the border, and now is starting to explore grant-making opportunities also in other countries in Southeast Asia. Partners Asia builds relationships with innovative community organizers and with international donors to help bridge the gap between local leaders and global resources. For more information see http://partnersasia.org


11 September, 2019
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


SEA Junction, Room 408, BACC
939 Rama 1 Rd, Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330 Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
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