Adherents of different faiths consider role of religion in ending violence against women

A meeting of 50 Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Christian women from seven Asian nations asked religions to do more to end violence against females.

The rate of domestic violence is hard to measure but the meeting's sponsor, the New York-based World Conference of Religions for Peace, estimated that at least one in every three women worldwide has been beaten, raped or abused, typically by acquaintances.

The world conference was holding the first meeting of a newly formed South Asian religious women's network. Participants also reviewed such issues as people trafficking, rape and domestic violence.

``The religious sector has a role to play in raising the red flag,'' said Lucita Lazo, regional program director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Religion ``has the potential to influence social behavior in a positive and peaceful manner and at the community level where change must take place,'' said Mu Sochua, women's affairs minister of Cambodia.