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Major Pacific meeting on violence against women

FWCC convenes major Pacific meeting on violence against women

SIGATOKA, Fiji (11 August 2016) - The Pacific's longest-running regional network of activists and organisations working to eliminate violence against women is convening for its four-yearly meeting tomorrow at the Warwick Resort in Sigatoka, Fiji.

The Pacific Women's Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW)'s quadrennial meeting brings together practitioners, government agencies and their representatives and organisations responding to violence against women and children.

The network is administered by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC), which was a founding member at the first meeting held in 1992 with women from 15 Pacific countries and territories.

The 7th Pacific Women's Network Against Violence Against Women meeting, held from 12-19 August, will gather 75 people from 13 countries and territories on the theme of responding to and preventing violence against women and girls in the Pacific.

UNDP Resident Representative Osnat Lubrani will deliver the keynote address on Saturday, 13 August on the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals and eliminating violence against women.

Among the topics on the agenda at the Regional Network Meeting are the current issues impacting on women's human rights, gender equality and eliminating violence against women and girls in the Pacific within the Sustainable Development Goals.

The meeting will hear country updates on the work at a national level and how it links to regional and international mechanisms aimed at ending violence against women and girls.

Religious fundamentalism, patriarchy and cultural barriers and how they affect the rights of women and girls to live a life free from violence will also be discussed.

Other topics include: the health system and the protocols for dealing with survivors of sexual and physical violence; women's access to the justice system; prevention initiatives and how men can work with women to prevent violence.

A number of men working with women's organisations to end violence in their communities will also be participating. These Male Advocates for Women's Human Rights have undergone training on working in partnership with women to change men's attitudes and behaviours about violence.

Participating at the meeting will be representatives from the Cook Islands, PNG and Bougainville, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji.

The quadrennial meeting dates back to 1992 when the FWCC facilitated and hosted the 1st Pacific Regional Meeting on Violence Against Women in Suva comprising women from 15 Pacific Island countries.

The inaugural meeting led to the establishment of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women. Since then, it has served as a support mechanism for women in the Pacific who are working in the area of gender-based violence and human rights. This, in turn, is reflected in the emergence of several new counselling centres in the Pacific region including in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tuvalu, and Kiribati.

This meeting will bring together key network members and other stakeholders to enable discussions around violence against women and the issues and challenges faced over the past four years. Discussions will also focus on strategies for the way forward for various network members. It will also be a time where we reflect on the achievements in this area of work for us in the Pacific.

ENDS


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