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BEIJING, China, 25 November 2020 - Today, the United Nations in China Gender Theme Group held a seminar in Beijing, to commemorate the 21st International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Around 100 stakeholders working in the frontlines, voluntary organizations, academia, medical, media and legal communities, UN agencies in China joined the event.
The seminar reviewed China’s progress, lessons learnt and practices in prevention and response to gender-based violence, discussed emerging challenges, and explored innovative approaches and multi-sectoral collaboration for fulfilling the commitments made in Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, Beijing World Conference on Women, and for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
During the seminar, Beijing Equality gave a keynote speech on“China’s Progress and Prospects in Response to Gender-based Violence” from a civil society perspective. It reviewed China’s achievements over the past 25 years following the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in areas of legal framework, working mechanism, cultural concept, and actions against domestic violence, sexual harassment and human trafficking. It also reviewed the challenges China is facing with on laws, policies, collaboration mechanisms, services and data availabilities, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. The speech called for accelerated actions for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 5.2 – Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls.
The event also launched an exhibition “Her Story”. Representatives of victims of gender-based violence were present. They shared their stories on physical, psychological, sexual or economical violence, due to different gender norms, gender division of labour or power relations. Their stories indicate gender inequality as the root cause of gender-based violence.

The online and offline exhibition“Her Story and 2030 SDG 5.2”will visualize the theme and key messages of the seminar, calling for collective efforts to end gender-based violence. The offline exhibition will be held at Beijing French Culture Center, lasting till 1 December 2020.

In his statement to the High-Level Meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women this past October, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. In 2017, an average number of 137 women were killed by a member of their family on a daily basis. Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18.
In China, according to the Third Survey on the Social Status of Women in 2011, 24.7% of married women have experienced at least one form of domestic violence from their spouses.

Ms. Navchaa Suren, the UNFPA China Officer-in-Charge and Co-Chair of the UN China Gender Theme Group said that violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent violations of human rights. The elimination of violence against women and girls is of high priority for the United Nations.

In June 2020, the UN Secretary General issued a Political Engagement Strategy on Gender-based Violence and COVID-19, calling for the highest level of commitments and urgent actions to accelerate concrete policy response to gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19. The UN system is to support national efforts in addressing gender-based violence at country level.

“To end violence and harmful practices against women and girls is one of the three transformative results that UNFPA supports countries to achieve by 2030.  Currently, UNFPA works to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in over 130 countries both in development and humanitarian settings.  UNFPA promotes rights of women and girls to live free of abuse and violence, provides essential medical and psychological support services to survivors of violence, and supports multi-sectoral prevention and response efforts.  We also support data collection and analysis on gender-based violence and help to enhance and reform national laws and policies on gender-based violence,”Navchaa added.
In China, UNFPA works together with partners including civil society organizations to support the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, advocate for strengthening the multi-sectoral gender-based violence prevention and response mechanism, and facilitate civil society engagement.
The seminar is organized by UNFPA China, with support from Beijing Equality. The Canadian Embassy provides the venue for the event.