Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Pacific Region: Action needed to protect women from attack

Pacific region: Action needed to protect vulnerable women from attack

Pacific leaders meeting in Auckland this week must take urgent steps to eradicate endemic violence against women in the region, Amnesty International said today.

Rates of violence against women are some of the highest in the world, affecting two out of three female Pacific Islanders.

"A majority of women experience abuse in the Pacific. Yet, shockingly, there are few effective mechanisms to protect them," said Patrick Holmes, Chief Executive of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand.

Amnesty International is calling on leaders at the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) Leaders' Meeting in Auckland to implement existing legislation aimed at preventing violence against women and ensure that police and prosecutors investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators.

In a new report, 'Where is the dignity in that?' Women in Solomon Islands denied sanitation and safety" Amnesty International highlights how this lack of official action affects women in the Solomon Islands, who face harassment, attack or rape while carrying out their everyday household duties.

Women and girls are often attacked while walking long distances from "slums" or informal settlements in the Islands' capital, Honiara, to collect clean water for cooking and cleaning, or to visit toilets. Their journeys often take them through remote and poorly lit areas. They are particularly vulnerable on the return journey when they are carrying heavy loads of water. ?

"Women and girls in the Solomon Islands are forced to risk their personal safety for something most of us take for granted - clean water and basic sanitation," said Holmes.

Amnesty International spoke to women in Honiara's slums who said they were physically or sexually abused by men outside their household, but were too frightened to make formal complaints to the authorities for fear of reprisals from their attackers. Others said their complaints were ignored.

The Solomon Islands government has acknowledged the pervasiveness of violence against women and in 2010 introduced a national policy to address the issue. Amnesty International welcomed the initiative, but is calling on the government to do more.

"The Solomon Islands police must investigate all complaints by women of physical and sexual violence, and where substantiated, prosecute the alleged perpetrators," said Holmes.

"The Solomon Islands government must also put in place measures to provide adequate water and sanitation services to Honiara's slum dwellers," he said.

But the problem is wider than the situation in the Solomon Islands. According to Jocelyn Lai, a Board Member of the Solomon Islands Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), "the absence of laws addressing gender-based violence is an issue throughout the Pacific."

Amnesty International is calling on Pacific leaders to use this week's PIF Leaders' Meeting in Auckland to take urgent action to protect vulnerable women across the region by living up to their previous promises.

In 2009, the PIF Leaders' Meeting in Cairns pledged to 'eradicate sexual and gender-based violence'. A year later they expressed satisfaction with progress, despite the fact that their only achievement has been to set up a reference group on the issue.

"It is not enough simply to pay lip service to eradicating violence against women. Pacific leaders must turn words into action in Auckland by ensuring their governments respect, protect and fulfil the rights of women to live free from violence and discrimination," says Holmes.

"Amnesty International calls on Pacific leaders to live up to their obligations under international law, and to start acting on their pledge to eradicate violence against women."

Ends/

Notes to editors

Amnesty International will present a 20,000 strong petition calling on Pacific Leaders to fulfil their commitment to end violence against women.

This work forms part of Amnesty International's Demand Dignity campaign, which focuses on human rights violations that drive and deepen poverty. As part of the campaign, Amnesty International is focusing on human rights violations against people living in slums, or informal settlements. Amnesty International is calling on all governments to end forced evictions, ensure equal access to public services, and promote the active participation of people living in slums in decisions and processes that impact their lives.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Panic In The Pacific Over China


For years, it has been no secret that China wants closer security and trade ties with the small nations of the Pacific region. All part of Beijing’s self-image as a global superpower. To that end this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarked on an unprecedented 10-day tour of the Pacific, aimed at convincing his Pacific hosts to join a cross-Pacific agreement that would let Beijing provide them with high-level police training and security, shared data co-operation and other joint services ranging from agriculture to tourism...
More>>



 
 

Covid-19: Second Vaccine Booster For The Most Vulnerable
People who are at high-risk of getting very sick from a COVID-19 infection will soon be eligible to receive a second booster, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>


Crime: Govt Helps Protect Shops From Ram Raids

The Government is providing further support to help Police protect small businesses affected by a spike in ram raids, Minister of Police Poto Williams says... More>>


Government: Investment Boosts Coastal Shipping In Aotearoa
New Zealand is a step closer to a more resilient, competitive, and sustainable coastal shipping sector following the selection of preferred suppliers for new and enhanced coastal shipping services, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today... More>>


PM Speech: Harvard University Commencement Speech - Democracy, Disinformation And Kindness

In Te Reo Māori, the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, I paid tribute to all of the esteemed guests who stand here in this great forest of knowledge. It is a privilege to be here, and I thank you for the honour... More>>

Government: Independent Panel Appointed To Review Electoral Law
Justice Minister Kris Faafoi today announced appointments to the independent panel that will lead a review of New Zealand’s electoral law. “This panel, appointed by an independent panel of experts... More>>


Trade: Prime Minister To Visit United States
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leading a trade mission to the United States this week as part of the Government’s reconnection strategy to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels