European Union External Action

#TeamEurope is supporting Timor-Leste’s Most Vulnerable During Covid-19: EU and UNDP put the Spotlight on gender-based violence

19/06/2020 - 01:58
News stories

Increased socio-economic stress and confinement at home is a major risk factor for increased violence against women and girls.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 the UNDP has adapted its project activities to reflect this reality, in combination with the initial activities of the European Union-supported Spotlight Initiative. UNDP Spotlight Initiative activities today saw the handover of essential PPE for the National Police of Timor-Leste’s (PNTL) Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPU) and Community Police represented by PNTL General Commander Faustino da Costa. 

The bulk supply of masks, hand sanitiser, gloves, soap, telephone credit, face shields and drinking water to the VPU and Community Police will make their shelter centres safer and more accessible during this challenging period. The UNDP has prioritised support for the PNTL VPU and Community Police. As first responders to a range of major incidents, in a period where freedom of movement and normal GBV support services have been limited, the role of the PNTL is more important than ever.

The UNDP Spotlight team is also working with the PNTL to develop a public messaging campaign to introduce the Initiative’s mission to eradicate violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is implemented by five UN Agencies (UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and ILO) in partnership with The Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion (SEII) and civil society partners.

The European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste Andrew Jacobs said: “The Police are carrying out their duty to serve the public in extremely challenging circumstances. Frontline police officers need to be provided with the necessary protective equipment, to keep both them and the public safe. So, through the Spotlight Initiative we are equipping the Vulnerable Persons Unit and Community Police with Covid19 Personal Protective Equipment and other commodities. The bulk supply of masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, soap, telephone credit, face shields and drinking water to the VPU will make shelter centres safer and more accessible during this challenging period”.

During the state of emergency, the EU and United Nations have reallocated USD 1 million funding from the flagship Spotlight Initiative budget to address the increased risks of violence against women and girls in context of the pandemic. Through the Spotlight Initiative, EU-UN country teams in consultation with partners have shifted programming to the current context that includes supporting policy, scaling up support to civil society organizations, increasing engagement with education and health sector, and raising awareness of the increased risks of violence against women and girls.

The Spotlight Initiative is a multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations, investing USD 15 million in Timor Leste to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. It is the largest programmes for ending violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste.