Timor-Leste joins UN campaign to end violence against women

10 September 2008 – Timor-Leste has become the latest nation to join an ever-growing United Nations global advocacy and awareness-raising effort to eliminate violence against women.

Organized by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the “Say NO to Violence against Women” drive is designed to support Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s multi-year UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.

UNIFEM seeks to gather 1 million names through its “Say NO to Violence against Women campaign” website. The campaign will run until 25 November, when the signatures will be handed over to Mr. Ban in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

“Say No to Violence is in support of the Secretary General’s multi-year campaign to end violence against women which aims to engage men leaders and mobilize men and boys as partners with women and girls to put a stop to violence against them,” UNIFEM Regional Director Jean D’ Cunha said at signing ceremony in the Timorese capital, Dili, today.

“If we leave male consciousness and practice unaddressed, we will be thwarting the move towards empowering gender relations and the building of wholesome human communities,” said Ms. D’ Cunha, who expressed appreciation for the level of the Government’s support, political will and commitment to end violence against women.

UNIFEM Country Manager Elaine Tan said the campaign is very significant to the young nation that the UN helped shepherd to independence in 2002 because it will benefit all the people. “Ending violence against women promotes men as well as women’s engagement in peacebuilding initiatives and local conflict reconciliation in Timor-Leste.

“It enables both men and women to build cultures and communities of peace, security and equality in gender relations,” she added.

The move by Timor-Leste comes just one day after Norway offered its full support to the campaign, at a ceremony in Oslo organized jointly by UNIFEM and CARE Norway.

Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is set to hand over to Timorese health officials two ultrasound machines as well as specialized instruments and supplies for fistula surgery. The equipment will allow doctors to provide better gynecological, maternal and neonatal healthcare, for ensuring safer pregnancies, healthier mothers and healthier babies.

The instruments and supplies donated for the treatment of obstetric fistula are provided within the framework of the Global Campaign to End Obstetric Fistula, one of the complications of delivering children without adequate health assistance.


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