Karen Women Kick Off Campaign Against Gender-based Violence In Hpa-An

The Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO) has launched a campaign to raise awareness about gender-based violence in Karen National Union (KNU) controlled territory in Hpa-An District, Karen State, linked to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence.

The 16-day campaign, which began on November 25 in Kamahta village in Hlaingbwe Township, aims to educate locals about violence against women in the hope of completely eradicating it in the future, said Naw Ma Sein Kyaw KWO’s district chairwoman in Hpa-An.

“Currently, there are still many incidents of violence and harassment against women. That why the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is very important for us. Aswomen, we need to know and understand our personal rights so that we have the courage to speak out in any situation,” she told KIC.

KWO will lead a series of seminars on the elimination of violence against women in rural areas in KNU’s areas on 10 December.

On Friday nearly 300 people, including KNU officials, students, teachers and locals, came to attend lectures and demonstrations educating them about violence against women and the need to end it.

“In Hlaingbwe it is not only women who suffer from violence, but also children and some men. Although we have not seen any serious problems related to such cases yet, the more campaigns like this are organised, the better the local community can understand and oppose violence against women,” Saw Black, head of KNU’s Hlaingbwe office, told KIC at the event.

Each year, a similar campaign to raise awareness of gender-based violence is conducted in areas of KNU territory and in Thai refugee camps along the border with Burma. Due to fighting between the KNU and the army, the campaign was limited to Hpa-An District.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was established after the murder of the Mirabal sisters by Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo on November 25,1960. It was adopted by the UN Secretary General and UN Women to eliminate violence against women and girls everywhere, raise awareness of the problem and promote dialogue to find solutions. During this time, groups around the world are organising discussions and events against gender-based violence.

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