UN welcomes passing of the domestic violence bill in the Maldives
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Malé/New Delhi - The United Nations has welcomed the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill to address domestic violence in the Maldives. The successful vote is a testament to the passion, optimism and dedication of the political parties, ministries, non-government organizations and grassroots activities who have worked actively to reach this goal.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Andrew Cox said: “The enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill into law is urgently needed in the Maldives which has a high rate of gender-related violence, particularly affecting women and girls. The passing of the bill is a good example of how dialogue among different groups and cross-party cooperation can yield beneficial results to the country.”
UN Women provided detailed inputs on the draft bill along with other UN agencies. “We welcome the passage of the Bill. This is a remarkable gain for the women of Maldives. We hope to work together with the government and other UN agencies to raise awareness about the issue,” said Anne F. Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, UN Women South Asia.
A national survey on “Women’s Health and Life Experiences” conducted with the support of UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO showed that one in every three Maldivian women (aged 15-49) reported experiencing some form of physical or sexual violence at least once during their lifetime.
Information from Family Protection Units indicates a high prevalence of gender-based violence including child abuse, and that survivors know 87 percent of the perpetrators.
The passage of the Domestic Violence Bill is in line with Maldives’ international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The last CEDAW Report on the Maldives underscored the urgent need to address gender-based violence in the country, to put in place the appropriate legislative frameworks for prevention and protection, and to build stronger protective services for women and children.
UN Women and the Maldives
UN Women supports Maldives in reporting and implementing the CEDAW Convention. “Our focus is to enhance the capacities of government and non-governmental agencies to advocate for and implement CEDAW,” added Ms. Stenhammer.
UN Women, along with the UN team in Maldives, has conducted a number of interventions aimed at addressing violence against women. In 2012, the Thinakun Ekeh Campaign promoted awareness on gender-based violence. A 500 km run in Male City during the ‘16 Days of Activism for Eliminating Violence Against Women’ in 2011 also helped further the cause.
UN Women supports the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2011 -2015, specifically addressing outcome 15, which focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment.