Press Release

EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste launches Safe Space to support survivors of gender-based violence

09 March 2023

DILI, March 7, 2023 – The Community Health Centre in Ermera municipality will host a Safe Space facility to offer a comprehensive range of services and provide first-line support to GBV survivors.  This Global EU-UN Spotlight Initiative will strengthen the health sector's response to gender-based violence (GBV) in Timor-Leste

This Safe Space is the third centre established in the country as part of the global EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. Having Safe Spaces within the health sector is critical to identify GBV cases, providing medical care to women and girls who are survivors of violence and referring them to other essential services, such as shelters, counselling centres or specialized medical care. 

Key guests during the event included HE Dr. Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Minister of Health, H.E. Armanda Berta dos Santos, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Mr. Björn Andersson, UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Director, and H.E. Marc Fiedrich, EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste, among other dignitaries.

" Spotlight Initiative is the largest multilateral effort globally and in Timor-Leste to end violence against women and girls, which sits at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, the world's roadmap and commitment to achieve peace and prosperity. The United Nations is proud of working hand-in-hand with the EU and partners to support the Government in addressing deep-rooted gender inequalities, strengthening policy frameworks, and creating safe and enabling spaces for women and girls", said Funmi Balogun, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste. 

“The EU is glad to support the Government by providing an adequate place that will allow survivors of violence a way to seek support. A confidential environment where victims can have new possibilities for healing, prevention, and empowerment, contributing to creating a more just and equal Timorese society where gender-based violence is not tolerated”, said H.E. Marc Fiedrich, EU Ambassador to Timor-Leste.

Speaking during the launch, Mr. Björn Andersson, UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Director, noted: "The role of the health sector is central to ending all forms of gender-based violence, given that health service providers are usually the first point of contact for the survivors. I am very pleased to be part of the launch of the Safe Space at the Community Health Centre in Ermera, an important step towards strengthening the health sector's ability to prevent and respond to gender-based violence."




The Spotlight Initiative, launched 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 Timor-Leste, the Spotlight Initiative was launched on 5 March 2020. It is being implemented through five UN agencies (ILO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UN Women), in support of the Government, and in close collaboration with civil society, the World Health Organization (WHO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN Human Rights Advisor's Unit (HRAU).

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 (NAP GBV) (2017-2021)" and National SDG Roadmap. It contributes to eliminating domestic violence/ intimate partner violence (DV/IPV) by responding to the needs of women and girls and addressing the underlying causes of violence against them, using a multi-sectoral and intersectional approach across the ecological model. 

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

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:

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

Suleiman Okoth, Communication and Programme Support Specialist, UNFPA. Email:

Akito Ximenes, Press and Information Officer, EU Delegation to Timor-Leste. Email:


Ahmed Saleem

Communications Officer

Suleiman Okoth

Communications and Programme Support Specialist

UN entities involved in this initiative

European Union
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Population Fund

Goals we are supporting through this initiative