Civil society organisations and multi-sectoral departments, at an online live event, have committed to taking coordinated and collective action to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
They made the pledge at the event titled "Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence: Everyone has a Role to Play" on Tuesday, marking the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaigns.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its partners – the Department of Women Affairs, ActionAid Bangladesh, Ain o Salish Kendra, and CARE Bangladesh – with support from the Canadian Embassy and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have arranged the programme to accelerate a concrete policy response and promote zero tolerance for gender-based violence across all spheres of society.
At the event, the speakers emphasised ensuring multi-sectoral public services for gender-based violence survivors in a coordinated and non-discriminatory way, so that survivors are encouraged to report violence and get justice – hence reducing the violence.
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Prefontaine said, "The current increased statistic of violence should not be viewed as just background data, but as an urgent call to enhance the action against sexual violence."
UNFPA Representative Dr Asa Torkelsson said, "Everyone has a role to play in making sure we end all forms of gender-based violence, and today's event is a testament to how each of us can play our part, collectively and individually."
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir has expressed her strong position on zero tolerance for child marriage and emphasised educating girls and engaging men and boys to be sensitised on the harmful effects of power – to reduce all sorts of violence.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) Executive Director Golam Monowar Kamal shared some recommendations to prevent violence that include taking action to implement the existing laws and directives of the high court to prevent sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls.
Ainoon Naher, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Anthropology of Jahangirnagar University, presented a policy note on "Access to GBV services: Reality, Challenges and Recommendations" where different service gaps and recommendations towards a more effective system of multi-sectoral services for GBV survivors were discussed.
During the panel discussion "Leave No-one Behind," the panelists urged that multi-sectoral public services and equal opportunities be ensured for all survivors – irrespective of dimensions of identities.
CARE Bangladesh's Deputy Country Director-Humanitarian Ram Das has urged to take the pledge to prevent all forms of violence at home, the workplace and in the society at large and to concentrate on removing the existing disparity across the gender.
During the panel discussion, the panelists from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Women Affairs, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Department of Social Services and Bangladesh Police, Police Headquarters spoke about the efforts of the government to tackle increasing violence.
They also committed to ensuring a coordinated, non-discriminatory and unified action to prevent gender-based violence.
The two-hour event ended with a commitment to ensure prompt, supportive and empathic collaboration between all the sectors to find innovative solutions to end gender-based violence.