Workshop highlights efforts against gender-based violence

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The National Commission for the Advancement of Women and Mother-Child (NCAWMC)  will keep working hard  to  protect women’s and children’s’ rights amongst the local population.

That was the message at a workshop in Vientiane yesterday which discussed multi-sectorial responses to gender-based violence in the country.

The meeting, attended by Programme Analyst, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Andrea Nyberg, heard that violence against women, especially domestic violence, remains an issue in Laos.

At the workshop, participants discussed plans to hopefully eradicate violence against women.

Participants reported progress of their activities to successfully review experiences in the prevention and eradication of violence against women and children in Laos, including exchanging experiences on this issue from many countries in the region.

Vice President of NCAWMC,  Bundid Prathoumvanh, told the workshop there were difficulties in addressing violence against women which were largely based on society’s poor understanding of gender equality.

She said in the past, NCAWMC and partners had made progress on a framework for the protection and eradication of violence against women and improved legislation to match women’s rights. “This has also strengthened the understanding of government bodies on the protection of women, hoping to curb violence against women and children in Laos,” she said.

“They also highlighted a framework they will be following in the near future, including the promotion of gender equality in local communities, an anti-violence workshop, and the creation of support centres for local communities to make it easier to reach target groups,” she added. 

UNFPA’s Deputy Representative, Ulrika Rehnstrom said at present, violence against women and girls remained one of the most widespread and tolerated violations of human rights.

Violence against women is socially embedded and hidden. Its effects remain with women and children for a lifetime and can pass from one generation to another.

She said the silence on violence against adolescent girls and women must be broken through strong collaboration and coordination with various sectors.

 “We can reach results. We must work together to address the issue of gender-based violence that is facing many women and girls in Laos”, she said.

Based on the results of studies in Laos and worldwide, it was unacceptable that 1 in 3 women in their lifetime had to experience physical, sexual or emotional violence from husbands or partners, Ulrika Rehnstrom added.

The evidence clearly highlights the need to address violence against women and adolescent girls as one of the top priorities.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides us with explicit targets to eliminate violence against women. With a combination of committed leadership and grassroots action, acting in unison, we can make a change. Without reducing the violence against women and girls we cannot achieve SDGs by 2030, she explained.”

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