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Making schools a safe haven for children and youth: Asia-Pacific roundtable meeting on school-related gender-based violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global phenomenon that knows no geographical, cultural, social, economic, ethnic, or other boundaries. It occurs across all societies, represents a violation of human rights, and is a major obstacle to the achievement of gender equality.

Governments have signed onto international frameworks to protect children from all forms of violence, but recent reviews and initiatives have highlighted the extent to which children are exposed to school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) and the significance of education to prevent and eliminate SRGBV.

However, GBV is often tolerated and sustained by social institutions, including the school – the very place where we expect our children to be safe and protected. 

SRGBV continues to be a serious barrier to educational participation, especially of girls, and casts doubt on the school as an appropriate forum for educating children and young people about gender equality, non-violent behaviour and sexual and reproductive health. Schools have the potential to bring about change but this cannot be effective if they are simultaneously sites of gender inequality and violence. 

To review the evidence, and identify and promote good practice in this area, UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in collaboration with the East Asia and the Pacific Regional UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and Plan International is hosting an Asia-Pacific Roundtable Meeting on School-Related Gender-based Violence

Taking place 11-13 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, the meeting will bring together experts and key stakeholders involved in the development of research on, or the implementation, monitoring and evaluation, or funding of programmes to address, SRGBV. Participating countries include: Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia (including Papua), Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, PNG, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, & Viet Nam, with additional representation from experts from the regional and global-level. 

The meeting seeks to advance our knowledge and learning in this field, both in terms of what we know about the nature and scope of SRGBV, its impact on individuals, and on how best to address it, including through education.

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