WPS and the Association of South East Asian Nations

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All ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have their own structures and mechanisms to advance women’s human rights. Further, all ASEAN member states are parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Collectively, they have likewise enshrined and sought to guarantee the rights outlined in CEDAW through regional declarations and mechanisms. When it comes to acknowledging women’s human rights in conflict situations, however, with the exception of the Philippines, ASEAN member states have largely failed to uphold their obligations under these mechanisms. Accordingly, both as individuals and as a regional collective, these states have proven unable to design and implement appropriate institutional responses to violence and instability. This chapter critically examines the institutional and political causes of these failures and assesses the challenges and benefits of invoking CEDAW General Recommendation 30 to advance the WPS agenda in the region.