UNESCO supports efforts to end violence against women in China and Mongolia

Recently, the UNESCO Beijing Office has been converging and intensifying its contribution to efforts to end violence against women in China and Mongolia, teaming up with governmental partners and other UN Agencies.

In China, UNESCO is contributing to efforts to end violence against women both at the strategic and operational levels. Since May 2012 and at the request of the Chinese authorities, UNESCO, along with UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women, has constituted a UN Taskforce under the auspices of the UN Resident Coordinator to provide support in the form of international experiences, and suggested articles and statutes from around the world to inspire drafting of China’s new law aimed at combatting violence committed in the family against women, children, the disabled and the elderly. UNESCO’s primary tasks so far have been to provide technical support for the elaboration of the UN contribution on family violence against the disabled and drafting of the UN summary recommendations.

At the operational level, and with funding from the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Trust Fund (UN EVAW) Joint Programme on Preventing and Responding to Domestic Violence in China (2009-2012), UNESCO supported the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) implementation of a survey to provide baseline information on violence against women in three pilot counties in China: Jing Yuan County (Gansu Province), Ning Xiang County (Hunan Province) and Yi Long County (Sichuan Province). With the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), UNESCO has developed relevant community-based training materials, a manual for women’s federation social workers, and information, education and communication (IEC) materials for increasing local capacity to work with cases of violence and to advocate for an end to violence.

In both China and Mongolia, UNESCO has started a pilot project, with funding from its Intersectoral Platform for a Culture of Peace, to strengthen the capacities of youth and young women to prevent and respond to violence, using mobile and internet technology to convey information on laws, legislation, services available and promote community assisted reporting. A recent project proposal submitted to the UN EVAW Trust Fund, in collaboration with UNFPA and UN Women, if successful, will allow UNESCO to amplify actions under this pilot project and to enhance capacity building and awareness on the Mongolian law against domestic violence, as called for in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNESCO and Mongolia on 9 July 2011.

Violence against women is one of the most widespread violations of human rights, and is defined by the United Nations as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

Published statistics on the prevalence of the problem, where available, have been questioned.  Nevertheless there is widespread recognition of the need for focused and continued action to support policy  and strategic operations to end violence against women in Mongolia and China, including within the UN Development Assistance Frameworks (China 2011-2015) and (Mongolia 2012-2016).

UNESCO’s contribution to the UN Taskforce project in China is being implemented at zero additional cost (only staff time for research and writing). The Organization received US$1.3 million for the UN EVAW project in China (2009-2012). Its own Intersectoral Platform for a Culture of Peace provides US$75.000. And UNESCO has also requested US$300.000 out of 1 million for the UN EVAW project in Mongolia.