11 September 2008

UNIFEM Press Release: Timorese Government Says No to Violence against Women

UNMIT - Timorese Government Says NO to Violence against Women

Timor-Leste, 10 September--The President of the National Assembly in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Fernando Lasama de Arujo officially launched the "Say No to Violence against Women" campaign on 10 September 2008. Araujo who stood in for the President of the republic, performed the ceremony by signing on to the note card during the Third National Women's Congress taking place at the sports complex hall in Dili. The signing of the campaign card was preceded by the signing of an A 4 size card demonstrating government's commitment to end violence against women and the dummy card will be on record symbolizing that commitment. Other distinguished figures that joined the Head of Parliament in signing on to the campaign were the Prime Minister, His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) in Timor-Leste, Dr.Atul Khare and the President of Rede Feto, an umbrella body of women's organisations in Timor-Leste,Maria Dias.

UNIFEM Regional Director, Dr. Jean D' Cunha witnessed the signing ceremony and was impressed with the level of Government's support, political will and commitment to end violence against women. "The 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". "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", the Bangkok-based D' Cunha said.

The signing of the campaign will be complemented by various activities aimed at raising public awareness on gender-related violence and also collecting signatures. UNIFEM hopes to amass 30,000 signatures from across the country by end of October. Both UNIFEM and its partners have established mechanisms for distribution and collection of signed campaign cards. UNIFEM Country Manager, Elaine Tan said the campaign is quite significant to the nation because it will benefit all the people. "Ending violence against women promotes men as well as women's engagement in peace building 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".

The launching ceremony was attended by government officials, politicians, diplomats, international aid agencies, women's organisations and the UN agencies.

Note to the Editor:

UNIFEM is the women's fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that promote women's human rights, political participation and economic security. UNIFEM works in partnership with UN organisations, governments and non-governmental organisations and networks to promote gender equality. It links women's issues and concerns to national, regional and global agendas by fostering collaboration and providing technical expertise on gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment strategies.

For more information contact:Gerald Nyamatcherenga Communications Specialist UNIFEM Timor-Leste E-mail: gerald.nyamatcherenga@unifem.org www.unifem.org Phone: +670-3313294. Ext.2115 Mobile: +670-7413276

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