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Protect Our Women MPs, Dr Luveni Tells

Protect Our Women MPs, Dr Luveni Tells
Members of Parliament, non governmental organisations and Parliament Secretariat staff members at the opening of the Gender Relations, Violence Against Women and Human Rights Training at the Warwick Fiji Resort at the Coral Coast on May 30, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa
May 31
10:00 2018


Members of Parliament are guardians of human rights and have a role in ensuring that human rights are respected, says Speaker to Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni.

She stressed this issue while opening the gender based violence, violence against women and human rights training for MPs at the Warwick Fiji Resort, Korolevu.

The training included Members of Parliament, representatives from non-governmental organisations, Government representatives and Parliament Secretariat staff.

Parliament, she added, must assume its responsibilities by protecting the rights of members by providing information, knowledge and training on human rights protection.

The increase in the number of women in Parliament might be beneficial for democracy, but Dr Luveni said it disrupted the established order and provoked some resistance.

“Comparatively, we are fortunate in Fiji that this experience is minimal, but it should not nurture complacency in the protection of women parliamentarians,” she said.

“It is our obligation to ensure that women can participate in political processes fully, freely and in all security, as enshrined in several international instruments,” she said.

Gender based violence isn’t about women only, Dr Luveni said it was about men in particular because 85 per cent of the perpetrators are men as reflected in a recent global study.

“Violence against women parliamentarians is perpetrated in traditional political venues, including parliamentary offices, constituency offices, political meetings, and the newer arenas created by social media,” she said.

“Social media has become the number one place in which psychological violence – particularly in the form of sexist remarks, humiliating images, mobbing, intimidation and threats – is perpetrated against women parliamentarians who are exposed to some form of cyber-violence,” she said.

Dr Luveni said the establishment of partnerships with civil society organisations and the media was another possible way to denounce unacceptable behaviour and encourage public debate on ways to make politics.

“Teaching boys and girls from the earliest age about human rights and gender equality will help to establish relations of non-violence and respect between the sexes in all sectors. This should begin in the family,” she said.

“Gender based violence must no longer be viewed as just the price to be paid for political involvement.

“Parliament must put some order in its own house if it does not wish to help legitimise discrimination and violence against women in all other spheres of life, public as well as private,” she said.

The training ends tomorrow. Edited by Epineri Vula


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