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Criminal justice agencies join hands to confront gender-based violence in Myanmar

Yangon (Myanmar), 25 November 2018
- The 25th of November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the start of the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. Violence against women and girls continues to be one of the most widespread and systematic violations of human rights. For far too long, we have lived in a society where women and girls who experience violence are blamed and their testimonies are systematically put in doubt. The voices of millions of other women and girls continue to be silenced or muffled due to systemic injustice.

UNODC confronts gender-based violence by enhancing the capacity of police, prosecutors, judges and other members of the criminal justice system to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. In 2018, UNODC Myanmar, with support of the UNFPA Women and Girls First Initiative, carried out a number of training workshops with the Myanmar Police Force and with the Union Attorney General's Office. The training covered gender awareness, understanding root causes, myths and stereotypes of violence against women, preventive approaches and survivor centered and gender-sensitive responses to criminal investigations and trials.

Through discussions at these training events, police officers and prosecutors highlighted the need for a coordinated multi-sector criminal justice response to gender-based violence. Criminal justice responses work best when health, social and other sectors join the common effort to protect and empower women and hold perpetrators accountable. To this end, UNODC supported the Myanmar Police Force in hosting the first Inter-Agency Workshop on Coordinating Policing and Justice Responses to Gender-based Violence, held on 19-20 of November in Nay Pyi Taw. Members of Supreme Court of the Union, the Union Attorney General's Office, the Myanmar Police Force, the Ministry of Health, and the Department of Social Welfare met to discuss coordination challenges and strategies to improve responses to cases of violence against women and girls. Special attention was paid to ensuring that all solutions put the needs and the security of the victim first, while ensuring the right to a fair trial for all. The meeting was also coordinated with UNFPA and UNICEF and attended by UN Women and WHO.

A comprehensive approach both within the criminal justice system, and in coordination with relevant stakeholders, is a key part in the response to violence against women and girls. This needs to include applicable laws, along with decisive implementation to protect women and girls from violence, and the provision of accessible services to all survivors. UNODC will continue to support Myanmar in ending violence against women. We promote evidence-based, gender-sensitive criminal laws, policies and responses by police, legal aid providers, prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice officials. We commit to enhance essential police and justice services to address gender-based violence and prevent gender-related killing.

See UNODC's new study on gender-related killing of women and girls, here.