Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia will deliver $6.7 million to support women in developing countries who had suffered violence or retribution like acid attacks, rape and physical assault.
The announcement follows talks in Canberra this morning with Executive Director of UN Women and former Chilean President, Ms Michelle Bachelet.
"Australia is committed to the work of UN Women in protecting women and girls from violence, particularly in the Asia-Pacific," Senator Carr said.
"We'll be working with UN Women to deliver shelter and counselling for women disfigured by acid attacks in domestic assaults in Cambodia and Uganda.
"Australian aid will also help women raped or assaulted during civil wars such as the 15-year conflict in Liberia; and to support women seeking their legal rights after suffering physical violence in some central and southern Asian communities.
"On average, one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime. In some countries that figure is two in three.
"I'm proud that Australia is taking a lead on supporting the rights of women and girls in developing countries, to personal safety and the protections of the law."
Australia's contribution of $6.7 million over three years would be supplied to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women commencing in the 2012-13 financial year.
It builds on other Australian initiatives including:
- doubling funding for family planning services in developing countries to $50 million a year by 2016 to prevent unwanted pregnancies and save around 200,000 lives
- reducing violence against women in Afghanistan with $17.7 million to reduce retribution attacks following female participation in society; and
- assisting three million poor women in Indonesia with jobs, family planning and increased protection against domestic violence as part of a $60 million aid program in Indonesia.
Since its inception, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women has supported 339 initiatives in 127 countries through its competitive small grants scheme.
In Cambodia, acid attacks are sometimes used as a form of domestic violence or retribution against women. The UN Trust Fund supports the Acid Survivors Trust International which focuses on combating acid burns violence and helping bring perpetrators to justice.
In Liberia, rape and other forms of violence were used as a weapon of war during the 15-year civil conflict. The UN Trust Fund supports an Action Aid project that involves traditional leaders, law enforcement and health care workers in supporting victims, alongside providing safe-houses and counselling.
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