Fiji Hosts Side Event on ‘Gender Based Violence, Economic Empowerment’
Fiji hosted a side event on ‘Gender Based Violence and Economic Empowerment’ on the margins of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women on Wednesday.
The Minister for Women, Children and, Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa led the panellists as the moderator.
The main purpose of the event was to bring together a cross-regional group of countries and engage them in a dialogue to share experiences of both good practice and the challenges from countries’ perceptions.
The event is also aimed at examining the implementation of national policies that aim to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.
The panel consisted of Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare of the Republic of Namibia Doreen Sioka, the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN in New York Marc Pecsteen, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Nazhat Khan, Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Simonovic, and senior expert on violence against women from the International Planned Parenthood Federation Lucella Campbell.
Speaking to the panellists, Mrs Vuniwaqa said: “The relationship between Gender Based Violence and economic empowerment is an important one.
“As policy makers and as programme implementers, it is important that we are attuned to these important linkages to ensure that empowerment efforts do not encourage negative consequences.”
The interventions by the panellists highlighted key achievements like the Labour Laws for domestic worker rights in Namibia; action plans involving all levels in government including the 4Ps (Policies, Prevention, Protection, Prosecutions) in Belgium.
As highlighted by the Ambassador Khan, economic status does not guarantee protection from violence and the need to look at the effectiveness of the Domestic Violence Act provisions in light of access to justice issues faced by women.
Initiatives of the International Planned Parenthood Federation included training men on understanding women’s rights and it has been included into their curriculum; all in all.
The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women summed up the session and stated that we need to create synergies between global and regional instruments to eliminate violence and discrimination against women.
A bilateral meeting between the Mrs Vuniwaqa and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women had also taken place during the side event where areas of co-operation were highlighted; the need to improve on the collection of data on violence on women, the need for additional training for the Police force and the judiciary.
Mrs Vuniwaqa is expected to deliver her statement on the theme ‘Women’s empowerment in the changing world of work’ later at the General Assembly Hall.