2018 Southeast Asia Regional Judicial Dialogue

On 1-2 December 2018, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) held its 2018 Southeast Asia Regional Judicial Dialogue on enhancing access to justice for women in the region.

Participants included judges from Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The discussions, held in Bangkok, were focused around resources important for judges to aid in enhancing the capacity of their peers in eliminating gender discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards women in their work. These resources include a training manual on the use of the Bangkok General Guidance for Judges in Applying a Gender Perspective, and a draft reference manual on women’s human rights and the right to a clean, healthy, safe and sustainable environment.

Frederick Rawski, ICJ’s Director of the Asia and the Pacific Programme, opened the dialogue by emphasizing how important it is for judges to be gender sensitive in their delivery of justice. This could only be done by applying a framework that gives primary attention on ensuring recognition of the applicable human rights, institutional support for the promotion of these rights, and accountability mechanisms for their implementation.

Roberta Clarke, Commissioner of the ICJ and Chair of the organization’s Executive Committee, noted that this judicial dialogue demonstrates the ICJ’s commitment to have a sustainable contribution to the implementation of international human rights standards at the domestic level. She hoped that the judges could contextualize the resources presented and bring these back to their countries for trainings of their peers.

This judicial dialogue is part of a joint project on access to justice for women that ICJ is implementing with UN Women.

Anna Karin Jatfors, UN Women-Asia Pacific’s Interim Regional Director shared that gender stereotypes and social norms which discriminate women are not unique in each country. She pointed out the importance of the ICJ and UN Women collaborating in this project to deconstruct this image to bring better access to justice to women in the region.

Overall, the dialogue was rich and substantive, with the full and active participation from all participating judges who shared their views and experiences on countering gender discrimination in cases before them. At the end of the judicial dialogue, the participating judges expressed strong interest to use the resources for capacity building initiatives of their peers in their own countries.


Emerlynne Gil, Senior International Legal Adviser, t: +662 619 8477 (ext. 206), email: Emelynne.gil(a)icj.org

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