Fiji Parliamentarians urged to lead on ending violence against women

Date: Friday, December 5, 2014

Press Release

Suva - Fiji parliamentarians were urged to take the lead when it comes to ending violence against women during an event at parliament in Suva on Wednesday December 3 as the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence continues.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator Osnat Lubrani addressed around 40 parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, civil society representatives and UN agency representatives recognising the progress that has been made while also reiterating the extent of violence against women and girls in Fiji and emphasising the important role that parliamentarians can play in eliminating it.

(From left to right) Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni, UN Resident Coordinator Osnat Lubrani, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar.  Photo: UN Women/Sereana Narayan
(From left to right) Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni, UN Resident Coordinator Osnat Lubrani, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar.  Photo: UN Women/Sereana Narayan

Ms Lubrani made specific mention of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services i-care campaign, supported by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children, which is led by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

“There have been successful actions and lives saved but we must redouble our efforts because the situation is still terrible … UN agencies are a resource of global expertise on what has worked in other countries and stand ready to support Fiji. We are with you on the work ahead.”

In her introduction, Fiji’s first female Speaker of Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni pointed out that ending violence against women and children depends on ensuring that the laws already in place are effective, something that is part of the role of Parliament.

“Ending gender violence will also depend on strong community and national leadership,” Dr Luveni said. “Parliamentarians have been elected by the people as our national leaders. Your role is therefore crucial.”

A study released in 2013 by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in cooperation with the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics showed that 72% of women aged 15-49 had experienced some form of physical, sexual or emotional violence from a husband or partner. This is more than double the global average but in line with other countries in the Pacific region.

Nicolas Burniat, UN Women’s Deputy Representative and Officer in Charge at the Fiji Multi-Country Office, says it was encouraging to see so many parliamentarians attending the event.

“In recent years Fiji has made a lot of progress in adopting important legislation and signing on to international commitments around violence against women. The important thing now is to focus on implementation and that relies on the actions of parliamentarians.”

The 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence is a global initiative and runs from November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, which is also International Human Rights Day.

For further information please visit:

asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/countries/fiji
www.facebook.com/unwomenpacific
endviolence.un.org

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Ellie van Baaren
Regional communications and media specialist
UN Women
Phone: (+679) 330 1178 ext 125
Email: ellie.vanbaaren@unwomen.org

Sereana Narayan
Communications Associate
UN Women
Phone: (+679) 330 1178 ext 120
Email: sereana.narayan@unwomen.org

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UN Women’s Ending Violence against Women and Girls programme

The Ending Violence against Women and Girls programme is a five-year initiative aimed at helping women and girls live a life free from violence. It has been designed around international and Pacific evidence that promotes a holistic approach and supports Pacific-led activities to improve the policy environment as well as to meet the immediate needs of women who are experiencing violence.

One of the programme’s key components is the Pacific Regional Ending Violence against Women Facility Fund (Pacific Fund) which was established in to help fill the gaps in funding and capacity experienced by Pacific organisations working in this sphere. It offers grants of up to US$100,000, extensive capacity building and technical support to Pacific civil society organisations and government departments to support specific initiatives aimed at the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The Pacific Fund is principally funded by the Australian Government.

UN Women also provides technical assistance and support to governments and civil society organisations across the Pacific that are addressing VAW, with a particular focus on supporting the adoption and implementation of laws, policies and plans. 

UN Women and the Multi-Country Office (MCO) in Fiji

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was created at the July 2010 United Nations General Assembly. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. The MCO covers 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs): Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The Fiji MCO works with four key programmes: Women’s Economic Empowerment; Ending Violence Against Women; Advancing Gender Justice in the Pacific; and Increasing Community Resilience through Empowerment of Women to Address Climate Change and Natural Hazards Programme to progress with gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Pacific.