WHITE RIBBON BREAKFAST 2017 AN EVENT OF COOPERATIVE SPIRIT AND COMMITMENT TO ACTION

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WHITE RIBBON BREAKFAST 2017 AN EVENT OF COOPERATIVE SPIRIT AND COMMITMENT TO ACTION

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On November 24th, the Center for Women and Development welcomed nearly 100 delegates to the third annual White Ribbon Breakfast event in Hanoi.

With the theme "Men's cooperation to ensure safety and justice for women and children who experience gender-based violence," this year's event attracted the participation of a number of agencies, including representatives of judicial agencies, legal assistance, child protection and social assistance offices, police agencies, the local Women's Union, lawyers, and other relevant ministries. Of note, Mm Elisa Fernandez Saenz, Head of Vietnam office of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Mr. Craig Chittick, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, representatives of other embassies, international organizations and musician/ singer Hoang Bach— ambassador of the HeforShe movement—attended the event.

Speaking at the opening, Mm Hoang Thi Ai Nhien, Standing Vice President of the Vietnam Women's Union (VWU), shared about the practical activities of the Union in preventing GBV and supporting women and children who experience GBV. The annual Breakfast shows a strong commitment by the VWU to "join hands to stop violence against women and girls". She also shared her hope that the event would be a forum for participants to discuss and come up with more practical, effective ideas and actions aimed at ensuring safety and legitimate rights and benefits for women and children.

Mm Hoang Thi Ai Nhien, Standing Vice President of Vietnam Women's Union, delivered the opening remarks.

The White Ribbon Campaign originated in Australia in 2003 to actively engage men in policy advocacy to end violence against women and girls. Sir Craig Chittick, Ambassador of Australia to Vietnam, shared about the system of GBV prevention in his home country. He also emphasized that "gender equality and women's empowerment are Australia's priorities in Vietnam," and reaffirmed his and Australia's shared commitment to responding to gender-based violence in Viet Nam.

Sir Craig Chittick – Australian Ambassador to Vietnam

On behalf of men and those working in the field of lawmaking, Mr. Tran Van Dung, Deputy Director General of the Criminal-Administrative Legislation Department, Ministry of Justice, shared the legal aid framework and proceedings in Vietnam. He said that the Vietnamese legal system has basically been finalized to strictly handle violence against women and girls, and to protect women and girls from violent acts. "This is a solid support for women and girls who experience gender-based violence when seeking safety and justice,” he said.

Mr. Tran Van Dung, Deputy Director General of the Criminal-Administrative Legislation Department

Over breakfast, delegates exchanged their views on ensuring safety and justice for women and children who experience GBV. Mr. Hoang Minh Son, Rector of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, emphasized that to address gender-based violence in the family and society we should start with education. Future husbands and fathers themselves must be educated in the classroom and in society; educate them to avoid violence first, and then refer to violence against women and children.  Mr. Cao Nhat Phien, representative of the Department of Social Evils Prevention, Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that to help women who are survivors of human trafficking to reintegrate into the community, men should show respect for the survivors and take them in as their sisters and wives to help and love them. Such help and love spreading from family and community can help the women to be free from their sense of inferiority and confident to integrate into their community. Many delegates also referred to women as half of the world and children as essential for a sustainable society in the future. Many specific solutions to safeguard the safety and justice of women and children who experience GBV were shared by participants at the event.

Delivering the closing remarks, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, Head of the Vietnam Office -United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), spoke of her appreciation for the active participation of delegates and said that it's a strong commitment. She also said that police and judicial services are among the essential services for women who have experienced gender-based violence. The fact that the majority of those working in this field are male emphasizes the importance of gender sensitivity in recognizing the needs and experiences of women and children who experience gender-based violence, she said.

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Hoang Bach, ambassador of the HeForShe movement and Mm Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women's Head of Viet Nam office, show commitment to action for the safety and justice of women and children who experience GBV.

The White Ribbon Breakfast event was designed to promote cooperation among stakeholders to jointly address GBV in Vietnam, as well as to highlight the role of men in solving this problem. This activity did not only aim to emphasize the role of men in ending violence, but also acted as a forum for men to raise their voice, encouraging other men in society to respond positively to activities to prevent GBV and support, protect and safeguard victims in the search for justice. This approach will make the activities to respond to GBV in Vietnam more comprehensive. When speaking to local press, Ms. Pham Thi Huong Giang, Director of the Center for Women and Development, affirmed that “effective cooperation among stakeholders plays a very important role in addressing gender-based violence in Vietnam; ensuring safety and justice for women and children are the first and most important steps in ensuring the most basic rights and at the same time creating a better life for those who experience GBV and prevent this situation in the future. Safety and justice are everyone's responsibility - we all play a role in this - and this national action month is an important opportunity to reflect and strengthen our efforts.”

On the basis of this viewpoint and to affirm the strong action taken in cooperation to ensure the safety and justice of women and children who experience GBV, after the event, the Center for Women and Development signed a memorandum of understanding with the Legal Consultancy Center - Vietnam Bar Federation on legal counseling and support for women and children who experience GBV.

You can find more photos from the White Ribbon Breakfast 2017 here: https://goo.gl/pPY4bW

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