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Asia Pacific regional commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
At the Asia Pacific regional commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women held on 7 December at the UN building in Bangkok, the theme was commitment to ending violence against women and girls.
This year’s commemoration fell only months before the 57th Commission on the Status of Women scheduled for March 2013, which will have preventing and ending violence against women as its priority theme. “Governments must deliver on their commitments to undertake policy and legal reforms, and mobilize multi-sectoral actions to end violence.” Mr. Shun-ichi Murata, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, told the audience, “The issue must be put at the center of our policy agenda and the post-2015 development agenda.” His words echoed those of both the Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, calling for governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.
The event was held under the framework of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, and also served to introduce two new members of the Secretary-General’s Network of Men Leaders from the Asia Pacific region: Mr. ChulasinghVasantasingh, Attorney-General of Thailand and Mr. Pham Anh Khoa, a Vietnamese musician and activist.
A panel discussion featured panelists from across the spectrum of society including the Attorney-General and Mr. Pham Anh Khoa. Other participants present were a Thai police cadet, Ms. Powpanga Thanormchai, who recently received in-depth training in responding to domestic violence, Mr. Suppawit Sanguankumthorn a youth peer educator with BlackBox, and member of the UNiTE Youth Network, Ms. Khadija Ali - a Pakistani lawyer, activist and member of the UNiTE Youth Network as well as Miss Nghiem Thi ThuVan, a student from Viet Nam who won a painting contest on ending gender-based violence in schools. Each had a chance to express their views and the impact of their activities.
H.E. Ms. Sansanee Nakpong, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, addressed the audience noting that the Thai government is focusing on empowerment and citing the Prime Minister’s newly established National Women’s Development Fund which offers advice to women suffering from abuse and domestic violence. In Thailand, over 40% of women report having experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.
Today 125 countries have laws that penalize domestic violence, a huge step forward from just a decade ago but up to seven in ten women continue to be targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime and 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is observed each year on 25 November. The international day marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign. The 16 days were chosen to symbolically link the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and International Human Rights Day (10 December).
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