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Human Rights and Children
LAWASIA has a long history of support for the welfare and human rights of children. 
Following the 1993 World Congress on Family Law and Human Rights held in Sydney, Australian solicitors Stuart Fowler and Rod Burr (both subsequently judges of the Family Court of Australia) arranged for proceeds of AU$160,000 to be applied to the creation of the LAWASIA Children's Trust which today continues to act as a source of funds for LAWASIA initiatives focussed on promoting and protecting the rights of children throughout the Asia pacific Region.
LAWASIA has consistently monitored and raised issues relevant to the human rights of children in the Asia-Pacific Region, everything from the practice in some Middle East countries of forcing children to ride as camel jockeys, to the practice of child prostitution in Cambodia. 
LAWASIA now holds a bi-annual conference on Children and the Law, and in 2011 under the late President Malathi Das it adopted a Declaration on Children's Rights at its Council meeting in Seoul, endorsed the so called LAWASIA Siem Reap Principles and confirmed LAWASIA's commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Human rights generally
There have been a range of other LAWASIA statements, resolutions and declarations relevant to a range of aspects of human rights. These have included:
·  resolutions on the need for a more humane approach to the legal regulation of asylum seekers;

·  an expression of concern about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and

·   concern about human rights abuses in Nepal (2004), Myanmar (2017) and Brunei (2019).
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, LAWASIA issued a lengthy statement calling for the proportionate implementation of emergency measures. The statement was prompted by concerns over the potential use of quarantine restrictions as a means of curtailing the legitimate activities of courts and lawyers. The statement called on governments to "ensure that all measures adopted are appropriately balanced against the rights being violated, and that States adhere to their binding human rights obligations while tackling the spread of the virus", and to "ensure that the rights of members of the legal profession, including human rights defenders, are protected, and that they are enabled to perform their professional functions and their work towards protecting and promoting human rights".
In March 2022, LAWASIA addressed the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically the impact of military activity on civilians including women, children and medical staff. LAWASIA president Melissa Pang called on Russia to "cease hostilities immediately, and peacefully withdraw its troops from Ukraine, to uphold the rule of law and respect the international conventions, treaties, accords and principles to which it has agreed to be bound".
Access to justice
Access to legal representation is another form of fundamental human right.
In this context, it is relevant to emphasise the adoption by the LAWASIA council in 2010 of its Statement on Principles of Access to Justice. While expressly refraining from recommending specific access to justice initiatives for implementation within the region as a whole, the principles assert the fundamental importance of facilitating access by individuals to courts and guaranteeing legal representation.
LAWASIA seeks not stray into domestic politics. Its philosophy has always been that any form of political activism would potentially compromise its credibility as an independent commentator on human rights and the rule of law.
The difficulty, of course, is that it is often a fine line to be drawn. If governments cause human rights abuses, fail to respect the separation of powers, or fail to appropriately respond (or indeed facilitate) attacks on the legal profession, then the response of international legal organisations might well be considered "political". 
LAWASIA has always been careful to tread carefully in this regard and hopefully its judgement is usually correct. Whilst there are many instances where it has refrained from speaking out because of concerns that it would appear politicised, it did feel able to speak out:
·  to condemn the shooting down of a Korean Airlines flight by a Soviet fighter over the Sea of Japan in 1983 which caused the death of 269 passengers and crew, and the downing by a United States missile of an Iran Air flight in Iranian airspace in 1988 which resulted in 290 deaths;

·  to condemn the assassination of Senator Benigno Aguino in the Philippines in 1983, and the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984;

·  to criticise the French government for its nuclear testing in the Pacific in 1995;

·  to criticise the United States over conditions at Guantanamo Bay in 2003;

·   to highlight perceived irregularities in the various trials of Malaysia's former opposition leader and now Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, dating back to 1988; and

·   as mentioned above, to draw attention at various times to a range of government activities in jurisdictions as diverse as Fiji, Samoa, the Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Russia.
Annual conference
Much of LAWASIA's activity stems from its Annual Conference. The annual conference provides a forum for discussion of human rights, rule of law and other matters. It is also accompanied by the annual council meeting and, every two years, the Conference of Chief Justices of the Asia-Pacific Region.
Beginning in Kuala Lumpur in 1968, the LAWASIA conference was initially a biennial event. With the increasing ease of travel, and with an increasingly heavy workload, the conference converted to an annual event following the 2007 meeting in Hong Kong.
Due to COVID-19 travel and meeting restrictions, the conference was conducted online by the LAWASIA secretariat in 2020 and 2021, but live meetings resumed in 2022 and the conference was held in Sydney, Australia, in November of that year.

Human rights and the rule of law were a significant component of the Sydney program, addressing issues such as modern slavery, the rights of women lawyers, appointment criteria for judges, public sector integrity and the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The next conference will be held in November 2023 at Bengaluru, India.

The large attendance and enthusiastic participation at the Sydney conference demonstrates that LAWASIA remains as active and as relevant as ever. 

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