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Press Releases, 12/10/2015

Finland supports the prevention of violence against women in Myanmar

Press release 281/2015
10 December 2015

Finland is launching an initiative in cooperation with Sweden and the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA to protect the rights of women and girls in Myanmar. Finland's share of the joint initiative of EUR 10.8 million will be EUR 3.65 million.

"The realisation of the human rights of women and girls is an important issue for Finland. The elimination of discrimination, violence and harmful practices against women, which in Myanmar include forced marriage, are among the sustainable development goals, adopted in September, to which we have jointly committed," says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka.

In Myanmar, women and girls are the most disadvantaged in the remote and conflict-ridden areas. The "Women and Girls First" initiative of Finland, Sweden and UNFPA will be implemented in collaboration with local and international partners in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan states.

In the initiative they commit to preventing and responding to violence perpetrated against women and girls in Myanmar as well as to promoting and realising their sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

The joint initiative will provide emergency assistance to women and girls, including post-rape care. Counselling and support will be offered in mobile and stationary clinics and in Women and Girls Centres.

The initiative will improve women's and girls' knowledge of their own rights. It will also encourage men and boys and the entire community to take action in order to prevent gender-based violence and to promote rights related to sexual and reproductive health. Additionally, the initiative seeks to create avenues for women and girls to bring their concerns to the attention of the decision-makers. 

"In crisis, women and girls remain without protection, security and, for example, legal aid. Perpetrators of sexual violence – be they family members, members of the community or members of armed forces – can act with impunity.  Access to justice and the rule of law are essential to improve the safety of women and girls," says Silja Rajander, Senior Specialist at the Liaison Office of Finland in Yangon, Myanmar.

Inquiries: Silja Rajander, Senior Specialist, tel. +95 9 265 469 912 or Eeva Lehtinen, Programme Officer, tel. +358 295 350 585

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