Ms. Rosa Logar (First Vice-President, Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, Council of Europe),
Ms. Riekje Kok (Coordinator, Office of Global Network of Women's Shelters in Hague),
Ms. Chi Hui-Jung (紀惠容, CEO, Taiwan's Garden of Hope Foundation),
Representatives of the Asian Network of Women's Shelters,
Deputy Minister Wu Chih-Chung (吳志中, ROC Deputy Foreign Minister),
Ladies and gentlemen:
Good morning, and welcome to the Office of the President.
I'd like to start by thanking the Garden of Hope Foundation and the Asian Network of Women's Shelters for bringing this year's conference to Taiwan.
As the host country, we're proud to support the goals of the Istanbul Convention, bringing academics, experts, and representatives together to discuss new shelter management models, legal frameworks, and policy strategies to help victims of gender-based violence.
Here in Taiwan, the Garden of Hope Foundation has long provided those victims with comfort and care. Led by Ms. Chi since 1992, the Foundation has expanded into a network of counseling centers, outreach and job programs, short-term emergency shelters, long-term halfway houses and advocacy services.
So I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Ms. Chi. We're all very grateful for your contributions to society, both at home and abroad.
As the Garden of Hope has grown over the years, so has awareness of human rights in Taiwan. Since the lifting of martial law in 1987, Taiwan has made tremendous progress, especially in terms of gender equality, empowering women, and protecting the victims of violence.
But there's still a long way to go. So our legislature's Gender Equality Committee is currently working to make sure that the concept of gender equality is reflected in all of our policies and legislation.
And when it comes to legislation, women in Taiwan play a prominent role.
Last year, we elected our first female president, and 38 percent of our legislators are women. Those are important victories, because they guarantee that women's voices will be heard—especially for social programs that promote gender equality.
As our President Tsai Ing-wen said recently, "To fully realize gender equality in our society, we must break the grip of traditional norms, and give every woman the right to choose her role in society, and a chance to pursue her aspirations."
But to achieve those goals, we have to address fundamental issues and basic needs. That means preventing violence against women and children, protecting victims, and healing the resulting social wounds.
Over the past few days, you have all discussed new methods and approaches to address those issues by strengthening shelter management, empowering victims, and taking an inclusive approach to dealing with both victims and perpetrators.
So we thank all of you for sharing your insights and experiences at the conference. They are very important for Taiwan.
And we look forward to working with you in the future, because we believe, like Ms. Logar, in the right of everyone, especially every woman and child, to live free of violence.