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Norwegian MPs impressed by Viet Nam’s efforts to stop domestic violence

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Anne Marit BjornflatenHa Noi – Members of Norway’s Parliament on February 25 applauded Viet Nam’s efforts to tackle the delicate issue of domestic violence, a topic they said was also sensitive in their own country.

Ten members of the Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice met with the United Nations Country Team on the first of their five-day study tour to Viet Nam, and were briefed on the country’s human rights and crime situation, as well as its progress in administrative and legal reform.

“We are interested in judicial reforms. It is very important for us to be able to travel and learn. We cannot only look at the politics from the perspective of Norway,” Anne Marit Bjornflaten, a member of Norway’s Labour Party and chair of the Norwegian mission, said after the meeting.

“The domestic violence law was maybe what surprised me most. I think it is very, very positive that the authorities are now working with such a law ... All women and children should be able to live their lives in safety and security,” she added.

Viet Nam approved a hotly debated law on the prevention of domestic violence in November 2007, marking its commitment to protecting the rights of women and children. This followed the passing of a law on gender equality in 2006, and the UN Gender Theme Group is now working to support the Government in the implementation of both laws.

For Norway, a long-time advocate for a more efficient UN system, human rights and legal reform are exactly the kind of complex, overlapping issues that need the United Nations to work closely together for greater results.

“I think this is a very good demonstration that it [the One UN] works. You come across as a very strong team,” Norway’s Ambassador to Viet Nam, Mr. Kjell Storlokken, said after the meeting.

In addition to discussions with the UN, the Norwegian delegation will meet with national and regional authorities in Ha Noi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City as well as visiting local prisons. From Viet Nam their journey continues to Cambodia where they will meet the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

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