Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, Dili, 12 October 2020
The President of the Republic, Francisco Guterres Lú Olo, hosted a meeting with a delegation from Plan International Timor-Leste (PITL) headed by its national director Dillyana Ximenes who was accompanied by six children.
On this occasion, Dillyana Ximenes talked about the celebration of the International Day of the Girl which included the launching of the ‘Freedom online’ campaign that focuses on the abuse and harassment that young women and girls face on social media.
Cecilia Mendonça Nascimento, the representative of the girls from 22 countries who have joined Plan International in this campaign, took the opportunity to read out an open letter to social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tiktok, asking for mechanisms to protect young women and girls from online abuse.
Cecilia Mendonça added that a survey of 14,000 girls from 22 countries found that 50% of these girls have already faced online harassment and 42% lost confidence as a result of it.
The President of the Republic responded favourably to the call made by Plan for support for this campaign, stressing that girls and young women must feel safe online. The Head of State added that he is concerned about today’s society, especially as regards the way girls are treated, and pointed out that women must be dignified and respected to the benefit of the country’s future.
On 30 June, PITL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Presidency of the Republic for gender equality and against violence and discrimination against girls and women in general. Within the scope of this cooperation, the President’s wife, Cidalia Lopes Nobre Mouzinho Guterres, was designated ambassador of a campaign to ‘prevent the negative impacts of early marriage and pregnancy and stop violence against children, girls, and women in Timor-Leste’.
Plan International is an international humanitarian organisation for child-centred community development, committed to promoting the realisation of girls’ rights, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, physical and mental conditions, and socio-economic status.
Plan International has been in Timor-Leste since 2001. It operates in Aileu and Ainaro municipalities and supports specific projects in three other municipalities – Lautém, Ermera and Dili.