Stories

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Palu, Indonesia – Supported by UN Women and its project partner, The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN Indonesia), activists and government authorities who believe that women can play important roles in the effort are devising gender-responsive ways to tackle the risks of violent extremism in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province.
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What does it mean to make laws gender responsive and survivor-centred in the context of ending violence against women? In simple terms, it means to ask survivors of violence about how a specific law would impact their daily lives and then draft laws with the input received. When drafting laws, it is important to engage with women, and the people that support them, such as those who work in shelters, and not just assume what the impact will be on survivors. It is extremely important to speak to survivors and ask them frankly what would make their lives easier. We ask survivors what laws would make them feel safer, and hold the offender accountable, knowing that, especially in the case of domestic violence, the relationship between offender and victim may continue.
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Andhika Chrisnayudhanto is Deputy for International Cooperation of the National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) of Indonesia. He is the chair of the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), Working Group on Counter Terrorism, of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Working Group on Counter Terrorism led in developing the ASEAN Bali Work Plan 2019-2025 on countering extremism. BNPT partnered with UN Women on the report, Gender Analysis of Violent Extremism and the Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in ASEAN.
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Dewi Rana is director of  Lingkar Belajar Untuk (Libu Perempuan), or Learning Circle Association for Women, a non-governmental organization that promotes women’s rights in Central Sulawesi province, Indonesia. The organization gathered members of civil society and government officials to draft the province’s action plan on preventing and countering violent extremism. That work has been supported by UN Women and its partner Aliansi Masyarat Adat Nusantara, or The Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago. Rana was interviewed by Xinyue Gu of UN Women.
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The Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed an agreement in 2014 to end the protracted conflict in the Bangsamoro region of the southern Philippines. But while the agreement included provisions on empowering women, women and other groups including indigenous peoples, people living in conflict-affected areas and former combatants are at risk of being pushed to the margins.
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Alexandra Phelan is the deputy director of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She recently led the research report, Gender Analysis on Violent Extremism and the Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in ASEAN: Evidence-based Research for Policy. The report was done for the UN Women project, Empowering Women for Sustainable Peace: Preventing Violence and Promoting Social Cohesion in ASEAN.
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Tarikul Islam is a Commanding Officer and Superintendent of Police at Bangladesh Police’s Armed Police Battalion in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Since 2019, UN Women has supported the Bangladesh Police to strengthen gender-responsive policing in Cox’s Bazar and improve the availability, accessibility and quality of services in alignment with the United Nations "essential services package” for women and girls subject to violence.
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The rights of migrants across the Asia-Pacific region have seen considerable progress in the three years since the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) was adopted. However, much remains to be done, particularly ahead of the first international review in 2022 (International Migration Review Forum), to effectively face both longstanding and emerging challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh is home to over 880,000 Rohingya refugees who fled violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Most Rohingya women and girls in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps are either survivors of, or witnesses to, gender-based violence. “In the Rohingya camp, community members have come from another country after experiencing tragedy and atrocities, so our behaviour towards them must be humanistic and tolerant,” says Atiqur Rahman, Commanding Officer of Bangladesh Armed Police Battalion 14, one of two battalions that serves Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.
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[Press release] SALAM was launched by the Governance of Labour Migration in South and South-East Asia (GOALS), a regional programme jointly implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UN Women, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The hub seeks to be a one-stop platform serving policy makers, civil society actors, social partners and other stakeholders with knowledge, information, networks, and policy solutions leading to positive changes in labour migration policies and practices.
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Shreen Saroor runs the Women’s Action Network (WAN) in Sri Lanka, a collective of women’s groups that empowers and advocates for women and women survivors of war, violence and other injustices. As the Generation Equality Forum – a landmark event to catalyze rapid advancement on gender equality – approaches, she calls on leaders to close the gaps between policies and implementation. The Forum is convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society.
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Jesmin Aktar lives in a village of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She regularly attends UN Women's "Shanti Khana" [Multi-Purpose Women's Centre – MPWC] learning sessions and is dedicated to improving her life by pursuing a challenging job and contributing to society.
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Essential equipment worth VND 483 million (USD 21,200) has been donated to the Vietnamese organization Peace House, for their helplines and shelters for survivors of human trafficking and violence against women. The donation, funded under the UN Women-UNODC joint programme on Enhancing Women’s Role in Law Enforcement and Border Security to Prevent Trafficking in Person and Transnational Crimes was ceremonially handed over by UN Women last week.
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Migration can be a life-changing experience, but migrant workers are especially vulnerable to human trafficking and gender-based violence. San May Khine, a social worker in Thailand who was once a migrant worker herself, is supporting her fellow women migrant workers to move past experiences of violence and build a stable and bright future in a COVID-19 world.
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Upon her return to Myanmar in 2019, she invested her savings of MMK 200,000 (USD 122) in her online business. “Doing business was not really in my plan while I was in Thailand,” she said. “But I knew that I am good at using phones and social media. I knew the area and some people. When I returned to Myanmar, I felt certain I could start my online shop. I am still young and can get around easily to take orders to customers, especially with my motorbike,” she said.
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After working in Thailand for almost two years as a migrant domestic worker, Douang Keomouangluang returned to her home in Nong Kae Village in the southern province of Salavan in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in September 2020. She wanted to be with her husband and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, but admits she had no clear plan of what to do for work. “I did not prepare to set up a business,” she said. “I just wanted to be back home. With the THB 50,000 (USD 1,500) that I saved, I built a house and bought appliances and a motorbike.”
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After 11 years away, Aye returned to Myanmar in 2014 pregnant and with around 10 million MMK (USD 6,075) in savings. She spent most of that on a house and used 1,500,000 MMK to start her sewing business in 2015. She felt that she was at her best when sewing, and also felt confident that she had learned to be punctual, systematic and disciplined. Ni Ni Aye says she dreamed of starting a clothing business back in Thailand ever since she started working in Thailand. “I remitted half of my salary to my parents and I saved the other half for my dream business.”
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Thi Nguyen said she sensed something was wrong when the taxi driver in Bangkok, after realizing she was a migrant worker from Viet Nam, took what he said was “a new road” to her destination. She tried to stay calm. “When he reached the edge of a forest, he locked all the doors and went out for a call, perhaps looking for smugglers” she said. “As soon as he got back into the taxi, I told him.
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UN Women joins the United Nations Secretary-General and the UN family in Afghanistan in strongly condemning the horrific attack near a school in Dasht-i-Barchi, Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed and injured scores of civilians, including many girls. Attacks such as this constitute a grave violation of the rights of children and human rights more broadly.
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The first regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Asia and the Pacific concluded today with a call for greater collaboration among countries in the region to implement this global framework for action to reap the benefits of migration for all.