Myanmar

UN in Myanmar focuses on Dignity for Women

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(Yangon: 10 December 2008): The United Nations in Myanmar and partners have joined its colleagues around the world in marking the annual global campaign '16 Days for the Elimination of Violence against Women' with a number of special events in Yangon and the field, under this year's theme: 'Dignity for Women, Dignity for All.'

Women in Myanmar were particularly affected by the cyclone Nargis, according to the PONJA report. After Nargis struck in May, women have faced increased vulnerability due to e.g. limited access to resources, separation from families, and minimal access to livelihoods. The UN and humanitarian actors are continuing their efforts in responding to the needs for the cyclone affected women in all its activities. At the same time, their work is ongoing to improve women's dignity both in a country-wide and in a regional context.

"The humanitarian community in Myanmar is focusing on both responding to the needs and increasing the support to protection of women. Priority is given to increase women's access to livelihoods, health care services and psychosocial support, says UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Bishow Parajuli.

Establishing and supporting Self Reliance Groups (SRGs) in various parts of Myanmar, are amongst the efforts supported by the UN and its partners. Such groups, consisting of women from the poorest households in the village, are given access to funds and provided training in group money management, technical skills for income generation activities and capacity building on topics such as reproductive health and sanitation.

"Experience shows, that the more resources and skills that are provided to women, the less likely they are to be at risk for any forms of violence; be it physical, sexual or emotional. Raising awareness is also important. There should be no shame connected to being a victim of violence," Parajuli says.

In the message from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, he reminded us all that: "across the world, these violations do more than harm individuals; they undermine the development, peace and security of entire societies. We need to combat attitudes and behaviour that condone, tolerate, excuse or ignore violence committed against women. And we need to increase funding for services for victims and survivors."

The 16 Days of Activism takes place from November 15th to December 10th of every year, during which UN agencies, International Non-Governmental Organizations, and multiple community-based organizations working with women highlight the issues surrounding the prevalent problem of gender-based violence.

For further information, please contact Communication Officer Astrid Sehl
Tel +95 1 (0)9507 4853, astrid.sehl@undp.org