NGOCHR Condemns Violence against Women
The NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) strongly condemns the recent killings of women by their intimate partners in Fiji.
The NGOCHR notes with dismay that 7 women have lost their lives due to gender-based violence, where the perpetrators are all men. This is a grave violation of women and girls’ fundamental human rights, which is also enshrined in Fiji’s Constitution under Section 11(2). Women and girls have the right to security, to be free from all forms of violence from any source whether it is home, school or work. Fiji is committed to implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Beijing Platform for Action- both key documents for women.
Women are facing violence from within their own homes, which should be a safe space. The recent killings of the women reflect on the inequalities that still exist despite the Fiji Constitution prescribing otherwise. Through social media we have noted that there has been victim-blaming, justification for violence/death and rumours and stereotypes being shared about domestic violence survivors and victims.
It is shocking that in some of these cases, women had already sought domestic violence restraining orders and were in the process of separation yet this did not save their lives. These women were seeking help from service providers and the Police. These women were doing everything right to protect themselves and their children.
Women are at most risk of violence and death, the moment they decide to leave an abusive relationship and this is when everyone’s support is crucial. We call on all communities to provide support to women who they know are experiencing violence. We call on the duty bearers, especially our Police, to support and take women seriously when there are allegations of violence and abuse within homes. Women experiencing violent situations should not be made to feel ashamed, threatened or harmed when they are trying to leave abusive relationships.
The NGOCHR reiterates that we as a society must not blame the victims for the violence they experience and perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions. We must all work together and ensure that there’s no more violence and no more deaths!