- Human Rights

New National Plan of Action Prioritizes Multi-Partner Coordination in Combating Violence against Women

(KPL) The National Commission for the Advancement of Women and Mothers and Children (NCAWMC) and UNFPA convened a two-day workshop on the formulation of the new National Plan of Action on Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children (2021-2025).

More than 80 participants from the relevant line ministries, government entities from central and provincial levels, UFNPA, UN Women, and CARE International, other development partners, and civil society organisations attended the workshop.

International experts from UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Office facilitated and shared successful case studies from other countries.

In her opening speech, Vice Chairperson of NCAWMC, Bundith Prathoumvanh stressed that the national government of Laos has attached great importance to protecting the rights of women and girls through a series of laws, policies and other instruments.

At the recently concluded National Assembly, the new Law on Gender Equality was formally adopted. In addition, Gender equality and women’s empowerment are also addressed through the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP), and the 2030 Noi framework, with the emphasis on the protection of the rights of adolescent girls.

Ms. Sujata Tuladhar from UNFPA Asia Pacific Office and other technical experts shared successful experiences from other countries in applying the Essential Service Package (ESP) for women and girls subjected to violence.

The ESP is an internationally agreed guidance identifying the quality essential services provision by the health, social services, police, and justice sectors to all women survivors of violence.

It also includes protocols on coordination of multi-sectoral services. The Essential Services Package clarifies the needs and rights of all survivors, and helps governments and organisations respond to those needs in an effective, sensitive and coordinated way.

Through the multi-sectoral mechanism of ESP, those who experience violence will receive care and support, including referrals to protection, legal assistance, psychosocial support and other services.

According to the National Survey on violence against women, released in 2015 with joint support from the government and the UN, shows that 30% of ever-partnered women had experienced physical, sexual and/or emotional violence in her lifetime, and 43 percent of women who experienced partner violence did not seek help and report the incident(s), due to discriminatory gender stereotypes coupled with the inadequate services.

Mr. Victor Valdivieso, Deputy Representative of UNFPA Laos, expressed appreciation to NCAWMC for the leadership and coordination in promoting gender equality in Laos, as well as the collaborations from the line ministries and the development partners. The Sustainable Development Agenda cannot be achieved if women and girls are left behind and some of them still live in the shadow of violence, said Mr. Victor Valdivieso.

He pointed out that the new National Plan of Action on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Children is a crucial step to put into the action the national commitments on ICPD25, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Platform of Action, and other international agreements and obligations.

Its implementation with participation from all sectors will lead to achieving the goal to end gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030.

At the workshop, participants reviewed the achievements made in implementing the first national plan of action on combating violence against women and girls from 2014-2020. While significant progress was made in raising public awareness, policy making and national legislation, the new five-year plan will put more focus on establishing multi-sectoral mechanism, data collection and reporting, and further strengthening capacity building.

In rolling out the new National Plan of Action and adopting the ESP in Laos, UNFPA will continue to develop quality guidelines, protocol, tools and training manuals for provision of health, social, police and justice services.

In addition, guidelines on coordination and capacity building will also be developed to ensure a coordinated referral mechanism among sectors.

Source: Lao News Agency