End­ing gender-based vi­o­lence

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Yen­ten Thin­ley from Thim­phu

Elim­i­na­tion of all forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion and ex­ploita­tion against women in­clud­ing traf­fick­ing, pros­ti­tu­tion, abuse, vi­o­lence, ha­rass­ment and in­tim­i­da­tion at work in both pub­lic and pri­vate spheres is en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion of Bhutan, Ar­ti­cle 9 (17). To­wards this end, the gov­ern­ment of Bhutan has been con­sis­tently work­ing to­wards a na­tion free of vi­o­lence.

Fur­ther, end­ing all forms of vi­o­lence against women is en­shrined as the stand-alone Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals of the United Na­tions. End­ing gender-based vi­o­lence is seen as crit­i­cal to achieve gender equal­ity and as an im­por­tant com­po­nent to help ac­cel­er­ate the ef­fec­tive achieve­ments of many other goals.

De­spite these con­sid­er­a­tions, ev­ery day at least one Bhutanese woman is said to ex­pe­ri­ence do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in Bhutan.

Vi­o­lence in the forms of phys­i­cal, sex­ual, psy­choso­cial and eco­nomic is be­com­ing more and more preva­lent in the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to records with the Re­spect, Ed­u­cate, Nur­ture and Em­power Women (RE­NEW), the num­ber of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cases is on the rise. The num­ber of re­ported cases in­creased to 385 cases in 2017 from 243 in 2009. This means ev­ery day at least one Bhutanese woman is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing vi­o­lence in the coun­try.

Ev­i­dences else­where in the re­gion sug­gest that gender-based vi­o­lence and its re­lated costs to gov­ern­ments, com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­u­als far out­weigh the cur­rent re­sources and tools ded­i­cated to elim­i­nat­ing vi­o­lence. Bhutan is no ex­cep­tion in this re­gard.

To over­come the im­bal­ance be­tween the num­ber and mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem and the re­sources ded­i­cated for its so­lu­tions, the United Na­tions Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) and the Repub­lic of Korea have launched a global ini­tia­tive fo­cused on the in­te­gra­tion of ac­tions to ad­dress gender based vi­o­lence of all forms. There are 7 pi­lot coun­tries where the global pro­ject, ‘End­ing Gender-based Vi­o­lence to achieve the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals’, aims to take vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion to scale by bring­ing new part­ners, strate­gies and sources of fi­nanc­ing to the ta­ble.

In Bhutan, the pi­lot pro­ject “Bhutan Pi­lot: Ad­dress­ing Gender Based Vi­o­lence” will pro­vide the re­sources to test a new ap­proach to pre­vent­ing gender-based vi­o­lence by fo­cus­ing on com­mu­nity en­gage­ment. The pro­ject will fo­cus to put in place a well-co­or­di­nated way to ef­fec­tively de­liver re­sults at the com­mu­nity level through ac­tive in­volve­ment of care­givers and ado­les­cents. It will show what ef­fec­tive in­ter­ven­tions to ad­dress vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren look like in prac­tice and demon­strate the ef­fects of mul­ti­plepart­ners work­ing to­gether. It will lo­cal­ize adap­ta­tions of ev­i­dence- based pri­mary pre­ven­tion and re­sponse ap­proaches and will be doc­u­mented, costed and rig­or­ously eval­u­ated so these ap­proaches can be fur­ther re­fined and scaledup across Bhutan.

Babesa has been cho­sen as a pi­lot pro­ject site for Bhutan con­sid­er­ing re­ported cases of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren and the fact it is a grow­ing ur­ban area with peo­ple of di­verse back­ground. An­other rea­son is for easy mon­i­tor­ing and en­gage­ment of pro­ject man­age­ment team dur­ing the pi­lot phase in­ter­ven­tions. In prin­ci­ple there are no hard cri­te­ria for se­lec­tion of the site as vi­o­lence doesn’t have bound­aries and se­lec­tion of sites.

The area-based pi­lot pro­ject is re­port­edly ex­pected to dig deep into the root causes of gender-based vi­o­lence and vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren to cre­ate a sus­tain­able pre­ven­tive com­mu­nity-based mech­a­nism to ad­dress the is­sue.

Ad­dress­ing gen­der­based vi­o­lence is an area that the Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan is pro­vid­ing its high­est pri­or­ity and the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Women and Chil­dren (NCWC) as the nodal agency of the gov­ern­ment has been work­ing to­wards ad­dress­ing the is­sue from re­form­ing leg­is­la­tions and poli­cies to pro­vid­ing plat­form for re­port­ing and ser­vices to the sur­vivors.

The Res­i­dent Co­or­di­na­tor of the

UN in Bhutan, Ger­ald Daly said devel­op­ment is chang­ing, and devel­op­ment prac­ti­tion­ers need to evolve, adapt and up­grade. He said the UN is for­tu­nate that gender-based vi­o­lence is a key aspect of the work that the UN is do­ing. And that, he said is the UN’s com­mit­ment to leav­ing no one be­hind. “UN agen­cies are work­ing to­gether be­cause we know that what is best for Bhutan is the key rea­son for our work,” said Ger­ald Daly. “And the UN is com­mit­ted to work to­gether to end gen­der­based vi­o­lence.”

Mean­while, he added that UN Women, United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA) are part­ner­ing with NCWC on gen­der­based vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion and re­sponse pro­grammes, in­clud­ing UNFPA’s health re­sponse to gender-based vi­o­lence and ad­vo­cacy on gender-based vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion. United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is in­te­grat­ing gender-based vi­o­lence in the aware­ness pro­grams as gender-based vi­o­lence and gender in­equal­i­ties are one of the main causes for women fall­ing vic­tims to traf­fick­ing. UNODC is also sup­port­ing the in­fras­truc­tural devel­op­ment of a house to as­sist vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence (may be traf­fick­ing).

This new pro­ject will build on the ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive through UNDP’s global and re­gional ex­per­tise in ad­dress­ing gen­der­based vi­o­lence and will bring in ex­pe­ri­ence in in­cor­po­rat­ing in­no­va­tion in devel­op­ment in­ter­ven­tions. The pro­posed pri­mary pre­ven­tion model through com­mu­nity mo­bi­liza­tion has al­ready been tested and proven to ef­fec­tive in other UNDP pro­gram­ming coun­tries like Cam­bo­dia and In­done­sia.

“With strong knowl­edge and ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence of Bhutan, and with the leadership of NCWC, I am con­fi­dent that the pro­ject will de­liver de­sir­able trans­for­ma­tion in per­cep­tions and be­hav­ior of men and women in the par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­nity,” said Juer­gen Na­gler, the Deputy Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of UNDP in Bhutan.

He added that the pro­ject fol­lows the com­mit­ment of UNDP coun­try Pro­gramme for Bhutan with clear link­ages to the 12th FYP.

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