Press Release

Calling for increased investments to end violence against women and girls for sustainable development of Lao PDR

29 November 2016

29 November 2016, Vientiane Capital – On the occasion of International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism, the National Commission for Advancement of Women (NCAW) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) conducted a seminar under the theme: “Elimination of violence against women and girls for sustainable development in Laos” at the Landmark Hotel.

The seminar was attended by panelists from line ministries and the Development Partners. It aims to increase partnership from various sectors to highlight the needs for adequate and sustainable investments of initiatives to effectively eliminate violence against women and girls in Lao PDR.

Violence against women and girls includes domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking and harmful practices, such as forced child marriage.

Violence against women and girls remains one of the most widespread and tolerated violations of human rights. Globally, 1 in 3 women has experienced physical or sexual violence, most often by an intimate partner (husband/partner).

Lao PDR is no exception. 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. One in 3 ever partnered women reported to have experienced at least one type of violence: physical, sexual and emotional, according to the recent study on violence against women launched early this year. About 5 percent of women had unwanted first sexual intercourse prior to age 18 stated in the survey on violence against children.

H.E. Dr. Inlavanh Kepbounphanh, President of Lao Women Union  at the opening said  that: “despite the government’s efforts in addressing violence against women, there is still a gap in translating the law and action plan into actions. Addressing violence against women and girls is not only critical to the lives and well-being of women and girls, but also to the countries development; LDC graduation and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.”

One of the major challenges to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. A strong partnership among the Government, Development Partners and the private sector is required to ensure adequate and sustainable resources  to  end violence against women and girls.

Ms. Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative said: “The Sustainable Development Goal Framework  provides great opportunities to work together on the issue of preventing and ending violence against women and girls. It includes specific targets to end violence against women and other harmful practices, such as early marriage. However, the initiatives must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.”

The International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women (16 Days of Activism) starts from 25 November to 10 December. It is marked by awareness raising campaign around the world. In Lao PDR, a series of activities has been be conducted during the 16 days of activism by a joint collaboration among the Government, Development Partners including Civil Society and the Private Sector including NCAW, Lao Women Union, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, CARE International, Association for Development of Women and Legal Education, Gender Development Association, British Embassy and Theun Hinboun Hydropower. The activities include the Deputy Prime Minister’s Statement, Seminar, Panel Discussions, the Mini-Marathon, community awareness and radio programme interviews.

Although the key aim of the current campaign is to end violence against women, it is also vitally important to stress the other side of the coin - to highlight the full potential of every girl and woman when they grow up in a safer and more equal environment.

Despite a significant progress in the area of gender equality in Lao PDR, there are still many challenges facing women and girls in Lao PDR including early marriage, early pregnancy, and lack of education and employment opportunities.

 

For more information please contact:

Ms. Kay Amphone, Communications Associate – UNFPA Lao PDR

Tel: +856 21 315547

Fax: +856 21 31353051

E-mail: singhalath@unfpa.org