See also:

Combating the rise of violence against women and children

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 5 July 2018
- On July 5th, UNODC, UNICEF, UNFPA and the Union Attorney General's Office (UAGO) met in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss combating the rise in violence against Myanmar's women and children. The high-level needs assessment workshop on 'Effective Prosecution Responses to Cases of Violence Against Women and Children' aimed to assess the needs of Myanmar's prosecutors in effectively prosecuting and supporting victims of gender based violence (GBV) and child cases.

During the workshop, dozens of representatives from the UAGO took part in group discussions on the challenges law officers face in responding to cases of violence against women and children. Challenges included inter-agency cooperation, the referral process for survivors, evidence-gathering, and addressing language barriers in courts for ethnic minorities. Exchanges were also made between representatives from UNODC, UNICEF, the UNFPA and the workshop participants on best practices and opportunities to strengthen the justice sector's ability to protect survivors, enact justice, and ensure fair trials.

The workshop builds on a growing history of cooperation between UNODC and Myanmar's criminal justice sector on responding to GBV. Since 2016, a partnership between UNODC and the Myanmar Police Force (MPF) has resulted in several officer trainings on gender and gender-based violence awareness, with a focus on case management and victim-oriented investigation techniques.

The UAGO workshop was in line with the UN's own efforts at reform by promoting inter-agency collaboration and adherence to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Addressing SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 16 Peace Justice and Strong Institutions, and SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals, the joint workshop between UNODC, UNICEF and UNFPA was a successful in utilizing individual UN mandates and strengths to promote an integrated approach to the issues.

In his keynote address, his excellency U Tun Tun Oo, Union Attorney General, stressed how important it is to bring justice to survivors. The Union Attorney General's message highlighted the importance especially in light of figures released earlier this year by the Ministry of Home Affairs, showing a significant rise in the number of reported cases of sexual assault.

To an audience featuring representatives from the UAGO, civil society organisations and the press, the Union Attorney General expressed the Myanmar Government's resolve to "better protect women and children in the future against violence directed at them".

Speaking at the event, UNODC advisor Marie Pegie Cauchois recognised the timeliness of the workshop. The Child Rights Law is expected to be adopted by the Myanmar Parliament later this year and the Prevention of Violence Against Women Law is still being drafted. She highlighted that, "for the successful implementation of these laws, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, capacity building of the justice sector will be needed".

In ending the workshop, UNODC, UNICEF and the UNFPA thanked the members of the justice sector for their active participation and recognised the importance of hearing and exchanging with practitioners to identify needs and avenues for cooperation moving forward. They also shared their readiness to continue work with the UAGO in developing training and other required materials.

For Information on the Southeast Regional Programme click here

Click here to learn more about UNODC's work on criminal justice reform.

Click here to learn more about UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.