Paulina Quintao – The National Director for Integrated Gender Political Approach and Women's Capacity at the Secretariat of State for Equality and Inclusion (SEII), Maria Filomena Babo Martins said the government has established an inter-ministerial commission to implement the national action plan for Gender Based-Violence (GBV), that will guarantee society is free from discrimination and violence.
She said the commission was established based on the Prime Minister's directive to establish an integrated action and services for the prevention of violence and discrimination against vulnerable groups in the country.
She added that the role of the commission is to implement recommendations from CEDAW Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security for the government of Timor-Leste on the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and children, and to promote women's participation in decision-making.
"Our main objective is to reduce and eliminate discrimination and violence against women and children in our country," she said in her office, in Kaikoli, Dili.
She said many efforts have been made by SEII and its partners through top level advocacy on policy and budget allocation that benefits women and men, establishes referral networks to support victims of gender based violence, and to ensure access to protection and fair justice.
She believes these efforts have not had significant progress because violence and discrimination cases against women continue to take place, despite some new developments.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Young Women's Movement of Timor-Leste Organization (MOFFE), Yasinta Lujina said she is wary of groups established by the government, because they do not perform adequately.
She said the former government through its policy on an integrated gender approach established the gender-working groups at the ministry level led by the respective General Directors and established women associations in the municipalities.
She believes what needs to take place is to continue strengthening women's knowledge through information sharing, socialization about the laws, and through organized discussions with all women and with men, because through this process they can change people's lives.
She also added that many legal frameworks depart from the Constitution, the law against domestic violence, and other laws protect and guarantee women's participation in all processes, but the community, especially many women in rural areas are still unaware of these protections.