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Highlighting Gender-Based Violence Prevention Efforts in Vietnam

The official U.S. Delegation to the 2008 Global Summit of Women in Hanoi, Vietnam from left to right: (Back row) Shinae Chun, Susan Au Allen, Ludy Green, Leanna Brown, Summit participant, and Sandy Lineberry; (Front row) Yvonne Boice, Amy Blyth, Andrea Bottner, and U.S. Treasurer Anna Cabral. State Dept. image.Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (June 2008) – During her visit to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in June 2008, Andrea Bottner, Director, Office of International Women’s Issues, highlighted progress made and discussed ongoing challenges related to the prevention of and response to domestic violence in Vietnam. In meetings with Government of Vietnam officials, the Vietnam Women’s Union, as well as local and international non-governmental organizations and media, Ms. Bottner praised the passage of two pieces of positive legislation impacting women, the 2006 Law on Gender Equality and the 2007 Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, which will be validated in July 2008.

Ms. Bottner emphasized the importance of education in tackling gender-based violence. She stated, “Women need to be educated that violence and discrimination against them are unacceptable.” She stressed that authorities and the media play key roles in raising the awareness of the people, including both men and women, on the issues via campaigns and articles.

Ms. Bottner traveled to Vietnam as a member of the official U.S. Delegation to the 18th Global Summit of Women, held in Hanoi, Vietnam from June 5-7, 2008. The delegation, consisting of nine U.S. women leaders in business and government, was led by U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral. The Summit explored Asia-Pacific economies in the global marketplace and gathered women entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 executives, and high-ranking government officials to discuss how best to promote the advancement of women in business and government. Over 900 local and foreign delegates from 70 countries attended.

At the Summit, Ms. Bottner addressed participants on gender-based violence issues, specifically the U.S. response to Trafficking in Persons (TIP). She reported that eliminating gender-based violence and the modern day slavery of human trafficking, has long been an important goal of U.S. foreign policy. She discussed the June 4th release of the eighth annual Trafficking in Persons Report released by the U.S. Department of State.This year’s report includes a particular focus on issues related to forced labor – a form of trafficking in persons – including efforts to prosecute such crimes. Trafficking continues to be a problem in nearly every country in the world and traffickers continue to search for new opportunities to exploit men, women and children. The 2008 TIP Report can be found online at the following link: http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/.

Many in Vietnam viewed the Global Summit of Women as an opportunity to raise awareness of important women’s issues. Ms. Bottner highlighted gender-based violence efforts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by holding meetings specifically on domestic violence. During public discussions and site visits to a domestic violence hotline and shelter facilities, participants shared experiences and highlighted ongoing challenges in combating domestic violence. Ms. Bottner acknowledged the most difficult part of addressing domestic violence is changing cultural attitudes toward the problem. She also shared the U.S.-based coordinated community response model, in which everyone - advocates, police, health professionals, lawyers, judges, etc. - in a community understands the problem of domestic violence and everyone plays a role in crafting the solution.

Many governmental representatives and those in the public arena expressed their commitment to addressing domestic violence in Vietnam. Through the implementation of the 2007 Domestic Violence Prevention Legislation, Vietnam has begun to raise public awareness about domestic violence, while acknowledging there is still a need for additional awareness and education about the issue. Recognizing it will take time; Vietnam has taken some important first steps toward the elimination of domestic violence.

Global Summit of Women, June 2008 Full Text


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