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International organisations join hands to protect Vietnamese women, children from violence in the context of pandemic Covid-19


New project targeting the elimination of violence against women and children in Vietnam was launched on June 17, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is sponsored by the Australian Government, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF, and UN Women, and is being carried out by the Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Vietnam Women’s Union, and the Centre for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA).

UNFPA Chief Representative Naomi Kitahara said that putting an end to violence against women and children should be the top priority of all people.
Vietnam will not achieve all of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 if it cannot eliminate this type of violence, she explained, and she hopes this new project will create a breakthrough that ends violence against women and children in the country.
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie said that domestic violence and gender-based violence tend to increase during crises and natural disasters.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and home quarantine resulted in domestic violence surging in many countries around the world.
In Vietnam, the Australian Government will fund 2.5 million AUD (1.7 million USD) from its 10.5-million AUD budget package to support the project for one year.
The number of calls to the Vietnam Women’s Union hotline from women experiencing domestic violence during social distancing surged 50 percent, while the number of victims rescued or taken to its Peace House was up 80 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, a survey on the pandemic’s impact on children, conducted by the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights, revealed that 48 percent of respondent children said they felt vulnerable because of verbal abuse, while 8 percent were beaten and 32.5 percent said they were not properly cared for by their parents.

The project aims to raise community awareness about the risk of violence in families and in concentrated quarantine facilities. It targets Hanoi, northern Quang Ninh province, central Da Nang city, and HCM City, which have been most affected by the pandemic.

At the event, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Ha said that gender based violence against women and children could be considered as the behaviour violate human right seriously. This is the urgent issue not only in Vietnam but also in many countries on the world. Especially, in the context of pandemic Covid-19, the social distancing, quarantine, isolation which have been implemented to prevent and control the pandemic are also the catalist to show more clearly the difference of status, importance and power of women and men in family and society. Women and children have always be the vulnarable groups should be protected from risk of violence in their community and families. The Deputy Minister affirmed that gender stereotypes and ideological views of men and women are a matter needed the persistence and long-term communication and organization of activities to change people's perceptions and behavior. This is an issue that requires not only the involvement of state management agencies and international organizations, but also the participation of the community, towards a fair and equal society for all, especially for women and children.

On this occasion, the Deputy Minister thanked the companion of the Australian Government, United Nations in Vietnam, development organizations and non-governmental organizations in the process of innovation of Vietnam in general and support Vietnam in the process of intervention to eliminate violence against women and girls in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic in particular. The Deputy Minister stated that in the coming time, this project would open a new opportunity to create an interdisciplinary coordination mechanism between Vietnam and the United Nations organizations, as well as partners and related agencies are working together. The Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs will coordinate with relevant agencies and international agencies to implement the project as well as current coordinating programs. She hoped that the project's results would promote gender equality, children's rights more effectively, especially,  impact on Vietnam's social security positively.