The United Nations Myanmar Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Statement for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

25 November 2018, Yangon City Hall

Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Excellency Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, Deputy Mayor of Yangon Region,

Dear Representatives of the City of Yangon,

Colleagues and friends,

I am delighted to join you all today, on launching the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Thank you for hosting this important event in this beautiful location in the heart of the historic district of Yangon.

Gender equality is at the forefront of the 2030 Development Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals include a stand-alone goal to advance equality, and gender-related targets are mainstreamed across the Goals.

The United Nations has been working with the Governments, civil society, women’s organizations, youth, media and private sector worldwide to join forces to eliminate violence against women and girls.

The results are yet far from satisfactory. United Nations calls on all to redouble our efforts to put a stop to violence against women and girls today.

Gender-based violence is widespread, persistent and its effects can be devastating.

Globally, one in three women will be subject to violence at some point in her life.

It carries detrimental consequences – for survivors, their families, communities, societies and entire states.

Some studies have shown that the financial cost of violence against women can be up to 3.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

While we do not have reliable national data, we have evidence that the challenges women and girls in Myanmar are exposed to include gender inequalities, disparities and discrimination.

This is underpinned by impunity and permissiveness with regards to domestic violence, sexual harassment and exploitation in the workplace, and violence against women in conflict situations.

I commend policy makers who developed the Law on Protection and Prevention of Violence Against Women as part of the solution.

The Law is currently in Parliament and I believe that the elected representatives recognise that the Law is critical to improve prevention of violence and protection of survivors.

Its adoption and implementation will translate into many benefits, including that women and girls will be able to fully participate in Myanmar’s economic, political and social transitions.

The Law by itself will not solve every challenge. We need to invest more in the future of women and girls. We have to change social stereotypes which provide for discrimination. We have to put end to impunity and hold perpetrators to account. We have to collect data so that policy makers can make informed decisions.

The commitment to effective actions is in Myanmar’s “National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women” which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and international conventions.

Adopting the Protection and Prevention of Violence Against Women Law would be step forward within this effort.

And, this is what the Orange the World: #HearMeToo campaign calls for: action to combat and prevent violence against women and girls.

I thank Deputy Mayor of Yangon Daw Hlaing Maw Oo and the Representatives from Yangon City Hall for joining the Global Campaign.

Lighting the iconic City Hall building orange sends a signal to the country and to the world: the time to end violence against women and girls in Myanmar and everywhere is now.

The United Nations  have always supported the Government of Myanmar and the country’s civil society in the effort to end violence against women and girls. We will continue to work with you all to achieving this goal.

Thank yo u. Kyay zoo tin ba de.