Statement delivered by Jorn Sorensen, Deputy Country Director of UNDP/Programmeon the occasion of the International Seminar on Gender-Responsive Policing in Post-Conflict Countries, 8-10 September 2010

09 Sep 2010

Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Bhim Bahadur Rawal
Inspector-General of Nepal Police, Mr. Ramesh Chand Thakuri, 
Respected Government Officials
Senior Police officials 
Police Delegates from the United Nations Mission in Timor (UNMIT) and Asia and the Pacific region, 
Women?s rights activists of Nepal, 
Our many Participants from abroad ? a warm welcome, and
My senior colleague from Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP Headquarters, Dr. Roma Bhattacharjea, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues and Friends

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. To be with a team of people coming from different sectors, and countries, holding important portfolios ? all which can bring great change in the society and the nation. With Your combined effort, you can spread awareness; you can make policies and you can translate them into action, being instrumental in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. 

On behalf of the Resident Coordinator Mr. Rober Piper and the UN Country Team in Nepal, I would like to welcome you all by saying that this 3-day International Seminar on Gender-Responsive Policing in Post-Conflict Countries, will be a unique learning and sharing opportunity as we discuss about the community of practice and responses to sexual and gender-based violence, both, in Nepal and within the Asia-Pacific region.

Globally, Sexual and gender-based violence continues to pose a major challenge for women to realize their human rights, peace and development goals. Forms of violence against women in Asia and the Pacific are diverse and is said to affect one in three women of reproductive age at least once in their lives. 

We have seen that even in countries where laws exist to criminalize sexual and gender-based violence, women fail to get human rights protection due to loopholes in legal mechanisms, low level of commitment, insufficient budget and lack of adequate capacities in the public sector.

Traditional socio-cultural norms and economic backwardness still prevent sexual and gender-based violence to surface in public, thereby hindering the required authority to understand the real magnitude of the problem. 

This seminar forms an important first step of UNDP?s initiative with the Nepal Police. This mainly is about Capacity-Building of Nepal Police in Gender Issues with Focus on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence by incorporating the issues in their curriculum, providing trainings, building capacities of core trainers, women?s and children?s desks to respond to women?s and children?s safety within the country but also while serving in the Peace Keeping Missions.

As we move along, in various sessions throughout the Seminar, our colleagues from various Agencies will present how they have supported different sectors - the Police, the Government and the civil society, to respond to the prevention and management of sexual and gender-based violence. 

This seminar is expected to lead to multiple outcomes;
  • First, knowing how the police, the Government, and the civil society either individually or as a team have responded to the challenges posed by sexual and gender-based violence over the years
  • Secondly, discussing how to overcome these differences and to work as a team for a common goal 
  • Thirdly, benefitting by sharing each others' experience and becoming a part of this extensive community of practice. 
Today we are present here, close to seventy senior-level delegates for this three-day event. Besides the Nepal Police, the participants representing Judiciary (Supreme Court), the Government of Nepal - - coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister for the Year against Gender-Based Violence 2010 - -
The United Nations Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT), 
Police Delegates from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste, 
and civil society organisations which work collaboratively with police force, including ROZAN from Pakistan. 

We extent a warm welcome to you all encouraging all delegates to actively work together in identifying sustainable solutions and better gender based policies for the future - - promote communication and understanding with a clear sense of purpose - - sharing a sense of urgency - - - and that we need to move towards talking Action - - - Action that creates impact and positive change. 

The International Standards of Human Rights govern us all. BUT all of us serve in this field from different mandates and in diverse socio-cultural and policy backgrounds. Nevertheless, I trust that we will have an active and energetic dialogue on gender-responsive policing in post-conflict countries.

I am sure the pathway has never been smooth; there will be examples of resistances, resources and capacity constraints. We also speak different languages, only in Nepal there are some 97 different languages, we use different terminologies and are influenced differently. However, despite all the differences, when our goal is the same, I do believe that we can come out with sustainable and effective solutions to current challenges.

Finally, I wish you a very interactive and solution oriented seminar which does not remain theoretical only but will be translated into action and implementation. This is a challenging task but not an impossible one!

Thank you.