Timor-Leste ranks 63rd in gender-based violence

Timor-Leste ranks 63rd in gender-based violence

Ambassador of European Union to TL, Andrew Jacob (Image Tatoli/ Francisco Sony)

DILI, 4 july 2022 (TATOLI) – The final report from the Spotlight Initiative reveals that by 2021 Timor-Leste will be ranked 63rd in terms of gender-based violence.

The report indicates that one in two women continue to be victims of violence in the country, despite progress in recent years: from 117th in 2020 to 63rd in 2021. Timor-Leste is one of five countries that improve their gender equality index during the period, among others taking into account criteria such as the existence of episodes of violence, level of participation in crime in the workplace, level of economic empowerment, and political participation of women in society.

“The persistence of violence against women and youth implies the adoption of a more comprehensive and inclusive approach in the political, justice, health, and community sectors. The state must address the root cause [of the phenomenon of gender violence], by changing harmful social norms that limit the power of women and girls”, the report said.

The same source also includes a comprehensive analysis of Timor-Leste’s legal framework from a gender perspective, across local contexts and the international legal framework for gender violence.

The document highlights key legal gaps and suggests a comprehensive review of existing laws and policies relating to the 2009 Criminal Code, the 2010 Anti-Domestic Violence Law, the 2011 Civil Code, and the 2012 Criminal Code.

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Andrew Jacobs, said the report highlighted several legislative challenges, particularly in the areas of property rights, domestic work, cyber violence and protection of children in the home environment.

“Many Timorese women suffer from violence in this country. All of us, at various levels and together, mobilizing resources and allying with partners, with greater political will, will continue to take our responsibility to end the serious violence,” the ambassador said, in a statement.

Representative of the United Nations Development Program, Lazima Onta-Bhatta, said that, through an analysis of Timor-Leste’s legal framework included in the report, “there are examples of Timor-Leste’s commitment and efforts to gender equality. This study and other related documents, such as the “Traffic Light Code”, can serve as a frame of reference for future legislative actions and legal reforms undertaken by the parliament and the Government”.

This report presents conclusions and recommendations to parliamentarians, representatives from key government entities, and civil society organizations working in the field of gender equality and justice.

The President of the National Parliament (PN), Aniceto Guterres, in turn, said that the PN had a responsibility to ensure legal reforms in defense of gender equality, and to guarantee the rights and freedoms of all women and youth in Timor-Leste”.

The European Union and the United Nations (UN) launched, on 5 March 2020, the first phase of the Spotlight Initiative program, later implemented in the municipalities of Bobonaro, Ermera, and Viqueque.

The program spans three years and has a funding of 15 million dollars, led by UN Women, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Population Fund, and also by the Labor Organization. International.


Journalist: Jesuinha Xavier

Editor: Maria Auxiliadora

Translation: José  Belarmino De Sa


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