UNFPA cuts ties with Vietnamese rocker over sexual harassment allegations

Tuesday, 2018-05-15 11:16:19
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Rocker Pham Anh Khoa had been working with the UNFPA Vietnam in its campaigns to prevent violence against women and girls in the country.
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NDO – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam has announced that it has cut its partnership with singer Pham Anh Khoa, following the recent allegations of sexual harassment against the popular rocker.

According to a statement released on Monday, UNFPA Vietnam said that it has dissolved its partnership with Pham Anh Khoa, who had served as an activist on the prevention of violence against women and girls in the country.

The artist was invited to partner with UNFPA Vietnam on national campaigns to address gender-based violence in 2013-2014, and the 40th anniversary of cooperation between UNFPA and the Vietnam Government in July 2017.

Violence against women and girls is a global scourge. It is one of the gravest violations of human rights and a formidable obstacle in ending gender inequality. Globally, one in every three women on average experiences some form of violence in her lifetime, be it physical, sexual or emotional, often at the hands of a spouse, intimate partner or a person in her immediate circle.

In Vietnam, the UN-supported National Survey on Domestic Violence against Women in 2010 showed that 58% of women that have been married said that they had experienced at least one form of violence from someone close, at some point in their lives. Since then, a lot of work has been done and investments made by public and non-governmental actors to raise awareness, and make legal, policy and behavioural changes to end all forms of gender-based violence. Progress has been made, but violence against women still remains a reality at all levels of society, said the UN agency.

The topic is still considered too sensitive to discuss in public. Victims of violence are still not sufficiently protected against negative consequences when they speak up and seek justice. They may be considered as somehow responsible for the acts committed against them or their story may not be believed or will be turned against them.

In the past, women have often kept silent and suffered in isolation. However, over the past year, the #MeToo movement has rapidly gained traction around the world, sharing personal experiences in exposing and confronting widespread sexual harassment and abuse in different industries and professional settings. Millions of people, overwhelmingly women, from across national and socio-cultural boundaries have shared their stories, including on social media with the hashtag #MeToo.

In Vietnam, Pham Lich, Nga My and M.P, who have previously worked with Anh Khoa, recently shared their stories of sexual harassment on social media. UNFPA and the wider UN family in Vietnam applauded the courage of the women who overcome fear and prejudice by speaking up, said the UNFPA, adding that it is important to encourage other individuals to become "silence-breakers" in Vietnam and globally about sexual harassment and violence. Stories of survivors will raise awareness of this long-concealed issue, and allow all of society to come together to address it, the UN agency affirmed.

Ending violence against women should be a priority for everyone, it suggested, saying that it is indeed a stated priority with clear targets, as well under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda that seeks to ultimately leave no one behind.