Bhutanese Government Tells UN It Is Committed To Women's Rights

The Gross National Happiness Commission is on the case...

United Nations (PTI): In the aftermath of its historic transition to a democratic constitutional monarchy, Bhutan on Friday informed the United Nations that the government was committed to not only improve the status of women, but also ensure that they have equal status in the society.

"We want to ensure that a culture of gender equality is preserved and strengthened and that any prevailing anomalies do not become accepted norms," said Lyonpo Ygyen Tshering, the Bhutanese Foreign Minister, while presenting his country's seventh periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Bhutan has made gender a cross-cutting theme for the first time, in the Five-Year Plan, and it has installed gender focal points in the Gross National Happiness Commission and the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), he said.

Women are also asserting themselves, participating in all walks of life, including politics, in increasing numbers, Tshering said.

Lauding those steps, the committee members, however, expressed concern over persistent patriarchal roles and values that discriminated against women and fed the so-called "culture of silence" over the domestic violence women suffered.

By: on 29 Jul 2009