Prime Minister approves the largest EU-UN initiative to end violence against women and girls

Dili, TIMOR-LESTE: His Excellency Taur Matan Ruak, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste presided over the Council of Ministers meeting that approved the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative programme in Timor-Leste that aims to eliminate violence against women and girls, one of the most serious human rights violations in the world.

The Spotlight Initiative is a multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations, with a global budget of EUR 500 million or USD 550 million, to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. It is one of the world's largest investments in this field and in Timor-Leste the programme will commence later this month, focusing on the elimination of domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

"I am highly appreciative as well as supportive of this initiative and keenly do look forward to successful implementation of this programme across the country. The Initiative is in line with the commitments of the Timor-Leste’s National Action Plan on Gender Based Violence to promote and protect the dignity and rights of women”, stated Her Excellency Maria José da Fonseca Monteiro de Jesus, the Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion at the Government Palace in Dili.

Timor-Leste is one of the countries benefiting from the Spotlight Initiative. The programme aims at supporting measures of the government to eliminate all kinds of harmful practices around violence against women and girls. The three-year investment of the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste amounts to USD15 million. The Initiative is led by the UN Resident Coordinator and will be implemented jointly by UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and ILO at national levels and focusing on three municipalities of Bobonaro, Ermera and Viqueque.

 “The Spotlight Initiative will create spaces for all in Timor-Leste, particularly youth (male and female), civil society and key institutions, to contribute more actively to end violence against women and girls”, noted United Nations Resident Coordinator, Roy Trivedy. He underlined violence as a major obstacle to achieving the rights of women and girls and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This Initiative will work to strengthen country’s legal frameworks and institutions, promote positive social norms, increase access to support services for survivors of violence, improve the collection and use of data for better policy making, and strengthen the work of civil society organizations.

 “As Timor-Leste begins a new decade of consolidating economic and social development, the Spotlight Initiative will be one of the major contributions to improving the lives of women and girls in the country” said Andrew Jacobs, European Union Ambassador. “We need to work together under strong Government leadership to win the battle against the scourge of violence against women and girls. This is a priority for the European Union and we are proud to support Spotlight, he further noted.



Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations globally. In the Pacific, the situation is particularly worrying. In some countries in the region, 76 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Most affected are marginalised women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is that women and girls enjoy their right to a life free of violence, within an inclusive and gender equitable Timor-Leste. The programme is aligned to the Timor-Leste "National Action Plan on Gender based Violence (2017-2021)" and National SDG Roadmap. It will contribute to the elimination of domestic violence/ intimate partner violence (DV/IPV) by responding to the needs of women and girls and addressing the underlying causes of violence against women and girls, using a multi-sectoral and intersectional approach across the ecological model.

This will involve strengthening and widening partnerships and solidarity across civil society, government, media, private sector and development partners. The Initiative will empower individuals, equip institutions at national, sub-national and community levels with the policies, systems and mechanisms to prevent and respond to VAWG, and encourage the public to challenge harmful gender norms. Using innovative approaches, the SI will build a social movement of diverse advocates and agents of change for gender equality and social inclusion.


Marina Rini, Communication Officer, EU Delegation. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ahmed Saleem, Communications Officer, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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