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Vuniwaqa: No Link Between Poverty And Gender Violence

Vuniwaqa: No Link Between  Poverty And Gender Violence
Minister for Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (left) and SODELPA Opposition MP Aseri Radrodro outside Parliament. Photo: Simione Haravanua
April 18
10:27 2018

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa has reiterated that gender violence is not related to poverty.

Ms Vuniwaqa stated this, saying the Opposition lacked understanding on gender violence.

This comes after Opposition SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka said the biggest cause of violence in families was poverty.

Mr Gavoka said: “Her government has already come up with a minimum wage of $2.68 an hour, not helping poverty. Can her government emulate the position of SOLDEPA and NFP to increase the minimum wage to $5.00 an hour and hence remove poverty and remove violence for the families?”

Ms Vuniwaqa responded that the question showed the lack of understanding on gender-based violence.

She said gender-based violence was not about being poor. It had to do with unequal power relations in a country, with male dominance and power structures within society.

Ms Vuniwaqa invited Members of Parliament to read a report provided by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) and it had nothing to do with being poor.

Meanwhile, Opposition and SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula highlighted in Parliament yesterdaythat Fiji was not doing enough to tackle issues such as violence against women.

Mr Nawaikula said Fiji was not doing enough to prosecute those who committed crimes against women.

He asked the Minister for Women what the Government planned in relation to such matters.

Ms Vuniwaqa, in her response, said the issue was not a secret and everybody knew that violence against women and children in Fiji was a real issue that everyone needed to deal with.

“Not only Government, but civil society organisations and Non-Government Organisations, religious bodies and down to every individual,’’ Ms Vuniwaqa said.

“What are we doing? As Members of Parliament, what have we done on a policy level, on a legislative level in relation to combating violence against women?”

Ms Vuniwaqa said a great effort to combat the issue has being on-going nationally, but statistics were still rising and was a cause for concern for everyone and particularly those in the House.

She said the Government and the ministry stood ready to receive recommendations from NGOs and other organisations.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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