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Pacific leaders encouraged to protect their women

WRAP PRESS RELEASE
Women's Rights and Advocacy in the Pacific

For immediate release
Tuesday 6 September

Women’s rights groups encourage Pacific leaders to protect their women

Leading women’s rights experts met today to discuss the endemic issue of sexual and gender-based violence in the Pacific, voicing the pressing need for Pacific leaders to champion women’s rights by taking action.

Women’s Rights and Advocacy in the Pacific (WRAP) in association with The Pacific Media Centre, held a panel discussion today, titled Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the Pacific: Where to from here?

The panel discussion coincides with this week’s Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ Meeting and consisted of leading women’s rights experts from non-government agencies working in the Pacific region.

Joycelyn Lai from the Young Women’s Christian Association in the Solomon Islands; Edwina Kotoisuva from Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and Ema Tagicakibau from the Pacific Small Arms Action Group all spoke of their first hand experience dealing with sexual and gender-based violence issues in the Pacific.

The panel spoke about the challenges and strategies to combat sexual and gender-based violence in the Pacific and how advocacy can be used to meet these challenges.

"The discussion provided an excellent opportunity for constructive dialogue on how to address the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in the Pacific. It is fantastic to have such a high calibre of Pacific women experts to share their thoughts on this issue of deep concern," says Panel Chair and Director of Family Planning International Sumi Subramaniam.

"The stories and experiences of these leading Pacific women put a very real perspective on the pervasive issue of sexual and gender based violence and give us a real understanding of what these grave human rights violations mean as a matter of daily life," says Subramaniam.

"We hope that this discussion will highlight to the leaders gathered in Auckland this week effective solutions to addressing this problem and provide real hope that Pacific women will receive the protections they deserve."

WRAP is a New Zealand based collaboration of non-profit organisations which promote and work on the rights of women in the Pacific. The organisations are Family Planning International, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, UNICEF New Zealand, OXFAM and UN Women.

All speakers are available for interview. Sumi Subramaniam (Family Planning International New Zealand) is the media spokesperson for WRAP.

ENDS

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