16 November 2005 Male’ – The Minister of Gender and Family, Ms. Aishath Mohamed Didi today highlighted the need to address gender-based violence in the work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.She made the statement while speaking to the media following the launching of the UNFPA State of World Population 2005 Report.

The Minister looked at the state of the women in relation to gender equality and women’s rights in the country. She spoke on cases of gender-based violence coming to the attention of the authorities, and stressed the importance of setting up means to address these concerns responsibly.

“We at the Ministry of Gender and Family are not looking to break up families but to nurture family relations. However, we cannot continue to look the other way when dealing with women involved in domestic and other forms of violence,” said Ms. Aishath Mohamed Didi. “There are cases when a woman’s wish to leave a violent relationship has to be respected.”

The Minister of Gender and Family noted the establishment of the Family Protection Unit at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in partnership with the Ministry of Health, as one of the steps taken by the Government and its international partners in addressing the issue of gender-based violence in the Maldives.

At the function held in association with UNFPA Maldives, the introductory remarks were delivered by UNFPA Assistant Representative, Ms. Dunya Maumoon.Ms. Dunya Maumoon highlighted that this year’s State of World Population Report called for the empowerment of women through education, access to reproductive health services and a halt to gender-based violence as critical to reducing global poverty.

She noted that discrimination against women had resulted in lower productivity due to higher health costs as well as high maternal deaths in many countries of the world. Ms. Dunya called for continued joint efforts of the community, government agencies, NGOs and international partners in promoting gender equality and addressing the issue of gender-based violence in the Maldives.

The State of World Population Report is a report produced annually since 1978, by the UNFPA to focus on questions of current interest and concern for the future.

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