The Viet Nam Women’s Union joins UNIFEM’s Campaign to End Violence against Women

Press release

Ha Noi, 31 October 2008 - In Viet Nam, as elsewhere in the world, it is estimated that o­ne in three women will experience some form of violence in her lifetime. Too often, no action against the perpetrators follows and for the survivors there is limited access to needed support.

To help end this violation of human rights, the Viet Nam Women’s Union (VWU) today joined the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Viet Nam as a crucial partner in the global campaign “Say NO to Violence against Women”. The campaign invites people to add their names to a virtual book o­n a website, with a special link for signatures from Viet Nam. There are already over two thousand signatures from people in Viet Nam who are committed to Saying NO to Violence against Women.

Around the world, UNIFEM is the leading advocate for action to address gender-based violence — whether it be domestic violence, human trafficking or sexual harassment. The task continues to be an uphill battle, however, as fear and shames prevent many women from speaking out.

The campaign aims to gather o­ne million signatures from around the world, which will be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon o­n the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November, 2008).

A strong message will be send to decision makers to place this issue of ending violence against women high o­n the global agenda. So far the Prime Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs from 70 different countries have signed o­nto the campaign. In Viet Nam, the Ambassadors of Canada, Laos, Philippines, Spain, Panama and Ireland have all signed o­n this week.

Speaking out at the highest levels against violence towards women is important,” says Mr John Hendra, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam. “It is essential that men voice their concern and take collective responsibility, not just for their own actions but also when witnessing violence. To remain silent o­n violence towards others is tacit approval. The UN advocates zero tolerance o­n this issue.”

In Viet Nam, two new laws have recently been introduced to protect women’s rights — the Gender Equality Law, and the Law o­n Domestic Violence Prevention and Control.“These laws are crucial to protecting and enhancing women’s rights and their implementation at the provincial and commune level is essential,” said the President of the Viet Nam Women’s Union, Mme Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa.

The Viet Nam Women’s Union is supporting the ‘Say NO’ campaign by helping to collect signatures at the commune and provincial levels, and has an ambitious target of attaining the global goal of o­ne million signatures o­n its own.

“People living in communes need to be aware that violence against women is now a crime according to Vietnamese law,” says UNIFEM Viet Nam Country Programme Manager Dr Suzette Mitchell. “By signing their name to this campaign they also make sure people’s voices are heard saying that violence is no longer acceptable in women’s lives and will not be tolerated. The amazing power of the Viet Nam Women’s Union, with incredible access to women at the grassroots level, can make this happen.”



UNIFEM’s Internet campaign highlights the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, through which more than 250 initiatives in close to 120 countries have received much-needed support in the past 10 years. This year marks the beginning of a Trust Fund supported project examining the link between domestic violence and HIV/AIDS in the ethnic minority provinces of Lao Cai and Lang Son.

UNIFEM is also partnering with UNFPA, and international organizations such as Spanish NGO Paz y Desarrollo (Peace and Development), and Action Aid, o­n a national communications campaign targeting men to promote the message that domestic violence is a crime.

For more information o­n the Say NO to VAW campaign, and to add your signature go to:



UNIFEM:Dr Suzette Mitchell (UNIFEM In country Programme Manager)

VWU: Ms Vu Thi Minh Hang (International Relations Department)