How can women in political parties in Myanmar support the campaign to end gender based violence?
While Myanmar is a signatory to The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) since 1997 and adopted the National Strategic Plan for Women Advancement (2013-2022) combat violence against women, there are no specific laws exist to address the issues of gender based violence. In recent years, the Government of Myanmar has worked with the Gender Equality Network and the UN to draft the Protection and Prevention of Violence against Women (PoVAW) Bill, which stipulates the need to protect women from all forms of violence. In this regard, the role of political parties to coordinate voices to advocate on gender based violence issues is crucial.
With the objectives of providing space for political parties to discuss their coordination and advocacy role on sharing updated information on the legislative process and reach consensus on common priority actions, MMDP organized a multi-party women forum on 3rd-4th July at Green Hill Hotel in Yangon. This forum also served as a platform for multiparty women and will be held as a series to discuss women related issues.
Dr. Mya Thaung, the Chair of Women and Children Rights Committee of the Upper House of Parliament delivered the opening speech and shared the challenges and the current action that has been taken by the Committee. During the forum, leading organizations on the legislative process such as Gender Equality Network and UN Women shared the country situation on gender based violence including facts and figures and international best practices, including strengthening legal and policy frameworks and the role of political party and how they can advocate. Ma Soe Soe Htay from the Arakan League for Democracy said “Cooperation with stakeholders is important to increase the public awareness on GBV issues and mapping the service providers across the region.”
An interactive panel discussion during the event focused on effective strategies and advocacy roles of political parties was led by Naw Hla Hla Soe, Secretary of Women and Children Rights Committee and MP from the Women and Children Rights Committee from the Upper House of Parliament, Ma Nan Phyu Phyu Lin, Advisor from Gender Equality Network and U Myint Thwin, Legal Advisor. Daw Maran Ja Seng Hkwan, MP from the Kachin State Parliament, also discussed, “it is the role of the political party to monitor the judicial system to combat corruption and increase access to justice for victims of GBV.” At the end of the event, parties released a joint statement including priority actions such as advocating on implementing gender responsive party policies to combat GBV, increasing public awareness on GBV, and establishing monitoring mechanisms to track access to justice for victims of GBV.