The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the ASEAN Region (DEVAW) was adopted by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (the highest decision-making body under the former ASEAN institutional structure – see ‘ASEAN Declaration’) on 30 June 2004.
A landmark moment for women’s rights, the DEVAW laid out the normative framework for member states to eliminate violence against women. Originally drafted under the leadership of the ASEAN Committee on Women, the DEVAW recognised that:
…violence against women both violates and impairs their human rights and fundamental freedoms, limits their access to and control of resources and activities, and impedes the full development of their potential.
Declaration set out 8 core areas to strengthen regional efforts to tackle violence against women, both collectively and as individual states:
- Increasing regional cooperation in systematic research on the extent, nature and consequences of violence against women and the impact of actions taken to eliminate it
- Promoting an integrated and holistic approach to eliminating violence against women through four areas of concern:
a. Services provided to survivors
b. Implementing appropriate responses to perpetrators of violence against women
c. Understanding the nature and causes of violence against women
d. Changing societal attitudes and behaviours toward violence against women
- Encouraging gender mainstreaming through policies and programmes, as well as systems, procedures and processes
- Enacting, reinforce or amend domestic legislation to prevent, protect, investigate, prosecute and punish all forms of violence against women, whether occurring in the home, workplace, community, society or in custody
- Empowering women and strengthening their economic independence to ensure their full enjoyment of human rights
- Intensifying efforts to develop and improve existing legislative, educational, social measures and support services aimed at preventing violence against women
- Strengthening collaboration between and among countries, through cooperation for resource mobilisation and technical exchange programmes
- Supporting initiatives undertaken by women’s organisations and NGOs and CSOs on the elimination of violence against women and to establish and strengthening relationships with these organisations, as well as with other public and private institutions