Ending violence against women on Timor-Leste

November 25, 2015

Violence against women is not inevitable. It can be prevented. ‘Prevention’ is the theme of the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. The campaign “16 days call for action to End Violence against Women” also starts on this date and continues to Human Rights Day on 10 December. This connection serves to emphasise that violence against women is a human rights violation.

This year, Hivos’ partners in Timor-Leste, Fokupers and Asosiasaun Chega! Ba Ita (ACBIT), will run a 16-day joint campaign to support local sexual violence survivor groups and raise awareness of violence against women, which is still very prevalent in Timor-Leste.

These are some of the activities the campaign will engage in over the 16-day period:

  • Public debate on TVTL about marriage policy in Timor-Leste

  • Discussion of gender-based violence and anti-violence domestic violence laws in the municipalities of Manatuto, Viqueque, Ermera, and Same

  • A multi-stakeholder meeting to share the consultation results regarding essential support for victims in rural areas

  • A newsletter to support the 16-day campaign to end violence against women

  • Workshop: “Survivor goes to school”

  • Make campaign t-shirts that say “Saya Survivor Aktor Perubahan” (“I’m the Survivor Change Actor”)

  • Basic discussions with two tribes in the Aileu and Ainaro districts

  • Discussions with 10 couples (husband and wife) of two tribes in the Aileu and Ainaro districts

  • Dissemination of anti-domestic violence laws together with the Country Secretariat for the support and promotion of Socio-Economy for Women (SEM)

  • A history walk led by ACBIT to places where women were captured during the occupation of Timor-Leste from 1975 to 1999.

The aim of the campaign is to empower survivors of gender-based violence with support and knowledge, while conducting advocacy for their needs amongst local leaders, in order to prevent other women from suffering the same fate. Eventually, Hivos in Southeast Asia expects that Fokupers and ACBIT will enable the survivors to take the lead in advocacy and campaigning that will bring about a change in local attitudes and behavior towards women, thus improving their lives.

Outside of this campaign, both partners have been working in Timor-Leste to organise and coordinate with victims of gender-based violence (GBV), conduct outreach and education programmes amongst local leaders and hold informative sessions on prevention of GBV at village level to encourage local acceptance and participation.

Fokupers is engaged in investigating women human rights violations and providing support, including counseling, to women’s political prisoners, wives of political prisoners, war widows and survivors of violence against women. ACBIT conducts advocacy on gender justice to create and implement specific policies for women victims of sexual violence and human rights violations, including survivors of rape and sexual slavery during the occupation of Timor-Leste from 1975 to 1999.