NEWS

Why The Silence? A-G Queries Women’s Groups

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has expressed disappointment at the lack of response from women’s groups to comments made in Parliament by Member of the Opposition, Semesa Karavaki, on women and
10 Apr 2015 11:48
Why The Silence? A-G Queries Women’s Groups
FemLINK Pacific director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls (left), and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Fiji Women’s Forum held at Holiday Inn, Suva, last night. Photo: DEPTFO News

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has expressed disappointment at the lack of response from women’s groups to comments made in Parliament by Member of the Opposition, Semesa Karavaki, on women and boxing.

Speaking at the Fiji Women’s Forum held at Holiday Inn, Suva, last night, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum encouraged the women’s groups to be assertive.

“The point is you had only one women NGO that actually came out and gave a critical assessment of the statement that was made by the member of the parliament and that was the Women’s Crisis Centre. No other women’s group actually came out and made the statement,” he said.

“That actually bothered me because the point is why didn’t they? If the objective is to say women have equal rights, if the objective was to raise a particular level of consciousness in society to say that women should be loved and cuddled and perhaps beaten up later on than they should have come out and spoken about it.

“The question that came to my mind was because it was coming from the Opposition who made that comment that’s why they did not make any comment We need to be very objective about these types of issues and I go back to my earlier point in terms of if we have a particular mandate to further, for example, in this case my topic gender equality, human security.”

In February this year, during a debate in Parliament over the Boxing Commission of Fiji (Amendment) Bill of 2015, Mr Karavaki said: “Our women were not meant to be punished in the ring, our women were meant to be loved. We are not there yet. It’s not natural, it’s not accepted.”

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali, in an earlier report, said the comments were regressive and archaic.

“Our place is everywhere even in the boxing ring, should we choose,” Ms Ali said.

She said society, including Parliament, should provide an enabling environment for women and girls to pursue their ambitions and not create impediments in a world which was already fraught with challenges to women exercising their rights.

In support of community radio, as run by FemLINK Pacific, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “We support community radio stations. Addressing the theme of community media networking on the role of community network to support gender equality.”

He stressed that community radio would not be possible without frequency.

The Bainimarama-Government recognised the importance of spectrum when undertaking spectrum reallocation in 2010.

Feedback: stella.moresio@fijisun.com.fj

 




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