The Government of Timor-Leste do stand fully committed to zero tolerance against any form, kind, and shape of violence against our women and girls.

DILI, (Timor-Leste), 23 July 2020 – Her Excellency Maria José da Fonseca Monteiro de Jesus, Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion, inaugurated today the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative at Bobonaro Municipal Administration Office in presence of members of the Government, the Delegation of the European Union, the United Nations System, Municipal authorities, and civil society organisations.

Today’s event marks series of Municipal inaugurations of the Spotlight Initiative to give a boost to the regional activities which were earlier hampered by COVID crisis. The Bobonaro launch also highlights resolve of the Government and partners to address violence against women and girls (VAWG) as one of the top priorities. Two other Municipal inaugurations will be held in Ermera and Viqueque on 06 August 2020 and 13 August 2020, respectively. The Secretariat of State for Equality and Inclusion will be leading these events in collaboration with representatives from the Municipalities, United Nations, European Union and civil society partners. Spotlight Initiative was launched on 5 March 2020 at national level in Dili.

“I fully recognise our substantial joint efforts in eliminating violence against women and girls despite difficulties posed by COVID pandemic. The Spotlight Initiative is in line with the commitments of the Government of Timor-Leste to promote and protect the dignity and rights of women and girls. The Government of Timor-Leste do stand fully committed to zero tolerance against any form, kind, and shape of violence against our women and girls. Our unwavering support is always available in prevention, protection and the provision of services to ensure women's empowerment and participation in all aspects of society”, stated Her Excellency Ms Maria José da Fonseca Monteiro de Jesus, in her remarks.

These Municipal events will be an opportunity to present the Spotlight Initiative itself, the activities planned for the municipalities, as well as key partners, stakeholders, and supporters to the communities. The Initiative aims at supporting measures of the Government to eliminate all kinds of harmful practices around violence against women and girls. The three-year investment in Timor-Leste amounts to USD15 million. It aims to strengthen country’s legal frameworks and institutions, promote positive social norms, increase quality and access to support services for survivors of violence, improve the collection and use of data for better policy making, and strengthen partnerships with civil society organisations, grassroots and marginalized groups. The Initiative is jointly led by the Government and United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Timor-Leste and will be implemented by UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and ILO.


“Gender equality is one of the pre-conditions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste means supporting a countrywide movement at national and municipal levels by promoting a multisectoral approach where all partners are encouraged to join hands in eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. The United Nations is working closely with many people and institutions, from the top leadership to the grassroots, including the Government, civil society, private sector, development partners, men and boys, women and girls to make a real change”, noted Mr Roy Trivedy, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Timor-Leste.

While the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste will have nationwide impacts, particularly through policy, legislation, and support to national institutions, community level activities will be focused in three Municipalities in partnership with civil society and grassroots organizations to implement the programme by giving priority to survivors of violence, young girls, women and girls with disabilities, domestic workers, LGBTI communities, and girls who married before 18.

The Spotlight Initiative is a multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations, with a global investment 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 programmes for women and girls. In Timor-Leste the Initiative will especially be focusing on the elimination of domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

“For the European Union and its Member States, eliminating violence against women and girls is a non-negotiable priority. We are all well aware that we cannot do this alone. Coordinated efforts by all actors are required: the Government of Timor-Leste, international organisations, political leaders, civil society organisations, grassroots activists, women and girls, and – most importantly – men and boys. The European Union is pleased to support Timor-Leste’s efforts to end the terrible, and widespread, scourge of violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative will enhance efforts and strengthen institutions to ensure women and girls will never again live in fear”, said Andrew Jacobs, EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste.



The Spotlight Initiative, launched globally in September 2017, is a multi-year global partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women's empowerment as a precondition and driver for achieving sustainable development goals.

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.

Timor-Leste is one of the countries that benefits from the Spotlight Initiative with the support of the Government, civil society as well as partners in eradication of violence against women and girls. After achieving significant progress in the last 20 years since its historic vote for independence, Timor-Leste has demonstrated its commitment to ending violence against women and girls (EVAWG) and intimate partner violence. Despite the vision for equality, violence against women remains a challenge, with estimates from 38% to 59% of women experiencing violence in their lifetime.

The Spotlight initiative deploys targeted, large-scale investments to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. For more information about the Spotlight Initiative, visit

For media inquiries, please contact

Marino Mouzinho, Media Adviser, Office of the Secretary of State for Equality and Inclusion. Email:

Marina Rini, Communication Officer, EU Delegation. Email:

Ahmed Saleem, Communications Officer, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office. Email:

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