MPs and parliamentary staff from the Asia-Pacific region are meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 23-25 September to find concrete ways to prevent and combat violence against girls at national level through legislation and its enforcement.
During the three-day event "Ending the cycle of violence against girls in Asia-Pacific" organized jointly by the Parliament of Bangladesh and IPU, special emphasis will be placed on the three most prevalent forms of violence against girls in the region: early marriage, sexual violence and domestic violence. Funded by Worldwide Support for Development (WSD) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the meeting will also be an opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge, as well as enable participants to develop strategies and actions to tackle this issue given their unique national parliamentary role in leading and spearheading efforts to bring about change. Discussions will feed into a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in cooperation with IPU to review existing legislation in Asia-Pacific countries relevant to child marriage.
Figures on violence against girls are alarming. According to a recent report by UNICEF, around 120 million girls under the age of 20 worldwide (about 1 in 10) have experienced sexual violence whilst one in three girls and women aged 15 to 19 (84 million) have been victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners. In addition, an estimated one-third of girls in the developing world will be married before the age of 18 with child brides having twice the pregnancy death rate of women in their 20s.