Joint judicial colloquium on gender equality and women’s access to justice in Southeast Asia

The ICJ collaborated on this judicial colloquium with the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the Thailand Office of the Judiciary.

The Judicial Colloquium on Gender Equality Jurisprudence and the Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Women’s Access to Justice was held from 4 to 5 September 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Judges from eight Southeast Asian countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Thailand) came to the colloquium to discuss the role of judges in the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Representatives from the eight countries’ judicial training institutions and civil society organizations joined them in this colloquium.  All eight participating countries are parties to the CEDAW.

The judicial colloquium is part of the work of the ICJ in engaging various actors, including judges, lawyers, and human rights defenders, to explore ways to address the range of obstacles that persistently reduce women’s access to justice and legal protection.

Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, also noted the importance of this colloquium in the context of the development of a regional human rights mechanism in the ASEAN. He observed during his opening speech that the ASEAN is in the midst of setting standards and emphasized “it is important for judges to be aware of international standards of this issue so that they can substantially contribute to the discourse in setting up a regional mechanism.”

At the end of the colloquium, the participating judges, representatives from judicial training institutes and civil society organizations adopted a statement which noted, among other things, the uneven progress in the implementation of CEDAW in domestic laws and that judges should strive to interpret domestic law in consonance with the CEDAW.

They also agreed on recommendations, one of which is to encourage the formation of a regional network of judges to promote continuing dialogue, knowledge and information sharing regarding the application of CEDAW and other international human rights treaties in judicial systems.


Emerlynne Gil, International Legal Advisor, tel. no. +66 6198477 ext. 206 or emerlynne.gil(a)




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