Male Leaders in Timor-Leste Give Voice to
Ending Violence Against Women.
As part of the global campaign on 16 Days of Activism 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) launched a multi-media campaign on 26 November, 2007 to raise public awareness on and secure the commitment of Timor-Leste’s leaders to end violence against women.
The nationwide campaign features 11 of Timor-Leste’s foremost figures including President Jose Ramos Horta, Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, and President of National Parliament Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo, sharing their status and sentiments on violence against women to the nation. 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 the elimination of violence against women.
Dr Rui Araujo, former Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Health, and currently Special Adviser on Policy Implementation and Management Strengthening to the Health Ministry, echoed the message and theme of the campaign. “There is a widely held misperception that gender is a women’s 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,” he said.
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. “Attempts to end violence against women must of course begin at a national level“, he said, adding that: “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 (SGVB) conducted as part of UNIFEM’s programme on Supporting Community-Led Initiatives to Promote Women’s 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 border 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, a series of workshops on findings of the baseline study will be held during the period of 16 Days of Activism. UNIFEM supports workshops to be 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, runs in-country programmes in Timor-Leste seeking to further champion women’s empowerment in democratic governance as well as advocating for a platform within the country’s nascent democracy to eradicate violence against women. UNIFEM’s “Supporting Community-led Initiatives to Promote Women’s Engagement in Peace-building and Prevention of Sexual Violence” is a two-year programme aimed at developing community-based responses to SGBV and promoting women’s engagement in local conflict reconciliation and peace building initiatives.
For more information, please contact;
UNIFEM Timor Leste
p. (+670) 726 3773