Turning Laws into Actions: Eliminating Gender-based Violence in Asia-Pacific
The 3rd Asia-Pacific Summit on Gender-based Violence
June 16-18, 2021 I Hong Kong I Live on Zoom
The year 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the landmark agreement Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the 5-year milestone for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For the Asia-Pacific region, in November 2019, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Ministerial Conference reviewed the progress and challenges in the region, and listed elimination of violence against women and girls as the first priority area of action for the coming five years to accelerate the implementation of Beijing+25. Those are all opportunities for women’s organizations and activists to collaborate and demand their governments to fulfill their commitments on actions towards gender equality and protection of women’s human rights. Meanwhile, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, emerging data and reports both globally and regionally have shown that all types of gender-based violence have intensified, and the pandemic has been a huge setback for gender equality. Faced with new challenges, we need to address the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) urgently.
The issue of GBV is now positioned as a priority on global human rights, health and development agendas. If we look into the progress made worldwide, three regions including the Americas, Africa and the Council of Europe have adopted treaties to address the state responsibility on GBV: Belém do Pará Convention (officially, the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, adopted in 1994), Africa’s Maputo Protocol (the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, adopted July 2003), and The Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention (the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, formulated and opened for signature in 2011) which is considered to be the most comprehensive in scope. These conventions are facing opposition from the conservatives and the supporters of gender equality are coming up with different strategies to combat the backlash. Compared to other regions, there is not yet a regional treaty on GBV in Asia-Pacific. With no regional strategy or a strong network in place to monitor the states’ responsibility in relation to GBV, the treaty-making progress is rather slow.
Given that there are both opportunities and challenges, it is urgent and necessary to organize a regional summit on GBV. The Asia-Pacific Summit on Gender-based Violence, initiated by Taiwan Coalition Against Violence (TCAV), intends to focus on efforts to combat gender-based violence in the region. TCAV organized the first and second summit respectively in 2016 and 2018. The third summit will take place in June 2021, co-hosted by the Equality Rights Project of the Faculty of Law, the University of Hong Kong, TCAV and Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women (ACSVAW). Due to COVID-19, the summit will be launching online to involve more participants in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby expanding and strengthening the network for action.
The Equality Rights Project is a Knowledge Exchange Initiative under the Centre for Chinese Law of the Faculty of Law, the University of Hong Kong.
Established in 2015, Equality Rights Project collaborates with lawyers, NGOs and other centres to promote legal education, legal empowerment and legal research with the goal of advancing social inclusion and equality.
Established in 2007, Taiwan Coalition Against Violence (TCAV) is an alliance of 39 individual expert members and 40 non-governmental organizations working on diverse issues, such as domestic violence, sexual assault victim protection, child protection, etc. TCAV is a leading advocacy non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence in Taiwan for years and implementing CEDW and SDGs.
Based on the values of dignity, advocacy and collaboration, TCAV develops five areas of work, namely gender-based violence prevention, legal advocacy, protection of the elderly, media education, and international exchange. With the spirit of “leaving no one behind”, TCAV hopes to raise and expand awareness about violence prevention.
Video link: https://youtu.be/ToKxS539KnQ
Established on 8 March 1997, Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women (ACSVAW) is a non-government charitable organization that works to raise awareness of sexual violence against women and promotes a gender equal environment.
ACSVAW advocates for both the government and the community to provide adequate support to victims, to defend their rights and restore their lives with confidence and dignity.