FWRM welcomes statement and calls for greater action on Violence against Women

2 June, 2016

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement notes the appropriate comments made by Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey last week, condemning violence against the nation’s women and girls.

“FWRM welcomes the use of this global platform to draw attention to the deeply entrenched problem of gender-based violence in Fiji,” said Tara Chetty, FWRM Executive Director.

The PM stressed that there was absolutely no justification for male-perpetrated violence or abuse towards women, particularly within the home, calling those who do so “cowards and criminals”.

Chetty said it is important to build on the recent public attention to the issue to make progress in ending violence against women and girls, particularly with 64% of all Fijian women having experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime (Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Somebody’s life, everybody’s business).

“We recognise that violence in the home is linked to structural violence, that we need to reform instutions and practices that further margnisalise women and girls,” Chetty said.

“One way government could strengthen its response to gender-based violence is to allocate more resources towards justice services for women, including further gender training for police and other service providers, better resourcing of family law services and women-friendly legal services.”

Fiji is accountable for its actions to address violence against women, among a range of other women’s rights issues, when reporting to the UN Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. The government was expected to have submitted its overdue CEDAW State report last month.

FWRM continues its CEDAW monitoring and hopes to further work with all stakeholders, including Parliamentarians, the government, and statutory institutions, in tackling gender-based violence through legislative action and policy reform. The organisation seeks to create attitudinal change through its various leadership programmes for young women and girls, as well as training on human rights for the wider community.