UNIFEM Timor Leste
Male Leaders in Timor-Leste Give Voice to End Violence Against Women.
26th November, 2007.
For immediate release.
As part of the International 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Violence Against Women UNIFEM, with support from UNMIT, the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality (SEPI) and the Association of Men Against Violence (AMKV) will launch a multi-media campaign on the 26th of November to capitalize on the commitment of Timor-Lestes leaders to end violence against women.
Eleven of Timor-Lestes foremost figures, such as RDTL President Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, RDTL Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, and the President of National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araujo will share their status and sentiments on violence against women, to the nation, in a campaign that will reach all thirteen districts of the country. A series of posters, radio and television public service announcements have been developed in an effort to heighten public focus, awareness and government response in the country on violence against women.
Dr Rui Araujo, Timor-Lestes former Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Health and current Special Adviser on Policy Implementation and Management Strengthening to the Ministry of Health, echoed the message and theme of the campaign, suggesting, there is a widely disseminated misperception that gender is a womens issue. It is important to promote the role of men in advocating gender issues. Men, and the state, have to become greater advocates for ending violence against women.
The participation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Dr. Atul Khare, in the campaign demonstrates the commitment of the UN and the international community to ending violence against women:
Attempts to end violence against women must of course begin at a national level, said Dr Khare, however, there is widespread international recognition of the debilitating effects that such violence has on society, and the international community has an important role to play in helping to end it.
The campaign will complement a baseline study on the prevalence of, and attitudes towards, sexual and gender-based violence conducted as part of the UNIFEM programme Supporting Community- Led Initiatives to Promote Womens Engagement in Peace Building and Prevention of Sexual Violence in Timor-Leste.
Preliminary findings of the baseline study reveal sexual exploitation as particularly common in the borderline sub-district of Covalima. In contrast, discussing the issue of sexual violence remains taboo in Bobonaro, where the community largely remains silent on the subject.
In an effort to raise community awareness as a prevention strategy towards violence against women, workshops on findings of the baseline study will be held in the 16 days of activism period, with UNIFEM supporting workshops conducted by the Asia Pacific Support Collective-Timor Leste (APSCTL) on the reporting back of baseline findings in Maliana and Suai as well as community discussions on domestic violence and violence against women in Iliomar, Lospalos, being implemented by AMKV.
UNIFEM, which works to promote women’s empowerment, rights and gender equality worldwide, in Timor-Leste, runs in-country programs seeking to further champion womens empowerment in democratic governance as well as advocating for a platform within the countrys nascent democracy to eradicate violence against women. Their Timor-Leste Programme Supporting Community-led Initiatives to Promote Womens Engagement in Peace-building and Prevention of Sexual Violence (SGBV) is a two-year programme aimed at developing community based responses to SGBV and promoting womens engagement in local conflict reconciliation and peace building initiatives.
For more information, please contact;
UNIFEM Timor Leste
p. (+670) 726 3773