Sad When Domestic Violence Turns Political, Tovata Support But Where's the Work on Ethnic Interaction?
WHEN EVEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TURNS POLITICAL. In what seemed to be a stand-off slinging match, the Fiji Womens' Crisis Centre Shamima Ali claimed the Domestic Violence Decree promulgated last December was not in force and is not being implemented. Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khiayum disagreed, saying the decree is in force and is being implemented and Ali is misinforming the public.
To which Shamima replied: "You should check with the courts before slandering us. I never lie about these things. Why don't you talk to me? You all should get your facts right, right hand should know what left is doing ... the Womens' Crisis Centre has more integrity than most. We will never let our women down for our personal gains."
To which Aiyaz responded that Shamima's information was incorrect. The Decree is very much in operation. For example, the number of restraining orders that have been issued at all levels. "But if the FWCC believes the Police are not doing their job, they should inform them and or the Ministry of Women, and take a collaborative approach rather than making pronouncements through the media in the first place."
To which Shamima said they are not able to protect their clients as the courts and the police are not implementing the Domestic Violence Decree and are not aware of it.
To which Aiyaz replied: There has been extensive training conducted with various stakeholders which included lawyers, prosecutors, police, members of the judiciary, government officials and NGOs to ensure its successful implementation to protect women and children against domestic violence.
And that is how two highly educated people resolve or attempt to use (depending on your standpoint) even straightforward black and white issues in Fiji today. One must wonder just how much of the dispute was political. The Decree either is, or it isn't, or isn't (being implemented) all the time. It shouldn't take a slinging match to find out. What hope is there for "genuine" dialogue on other important issues?
VANUA LEVU AND LAU SUPPORT GOVERNMENT. The Tovata Confederacy that comprisesthe provinces of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata in Vanua Levu, and the islands of the Lau Province to the east and south, have expressed support for Government putting development work before elections as its number one priority. The current government says it has put a focus on rural development and on effective service delivery to people in rural areas.
[Ed.note: I cannot understand why Government continues to present these issues as alternatives, with development having to come before work on elections can even start. Nor am I persuaded that physical and infrastructural development is any more pressing than work on social development, most especially with regard to initiatives aimed at helping inter-ethnic understanding. What work is going on in schools, the public service, the military, the churches and other religious institutions, and among the general public, to develop basic languages skills in Fiji Baat, Hindi and Fijian, and help improved understanding of Fiji's many cultures and cultural values? Unless these at least start to change before 2014, what value is the elections?]
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