Women from Christian churches in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have committed themselves strengthen ecumenical women’s networks in the country and to work with local community organisations in a bid to combat gender-based violence. The commitment came in the closing session of a two-day workshop organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), a regional ecumenical body, and the Lao Evangelical Church. The 60 women from different churches and areas of Laos heard about the impact of immediate and long-term consequences of increasing violence against women and gender inequality.
They discussed ways to empower communities to overcoming increasing violence against women Laos; and shared experiences of women’s general well-being; and about things that prevent women from fully participating in society. “Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large,” the CCA said.
The two-day conference was held at the end of November, during the 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. It was led by the Revd Dr Chuleepran Srisoontorn of the CCA.
The CCA said that while changes to legal systems and social reforms to end domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence against women in several Asian countries, had taken place, challenges “continue to remain in implementing such laws effectively, limiting women’s access to security and justice.
“The participants shared experiences of local situations of violence against women in Laos and highlighted the importance of mobilising church women in Laos to be engaged in advocacy on violence against women using national, international and regional mechanisms and instruments at various levels.
“The Lao Church women will participate in efforts for strengthening ecumenical women’s networks in partnership with local communities and organisations to combat violence against women and build peace in communities”, affirmed the participants of the workshop at the closing session.