Women: Holding Up Half the Sky

N0200. FOURTEEN NEW WOMEN'S CENTRES. Speaking at the International Women’s Day celebration in Bua, PM Bainimarama said Government has approved the building of women centres in the 14 provinces and semi-urban settlements which will act as the hub to establish the infrastructure for empowerment of women through the enhancement of leadership and programme management skills.

Bainimarama said the representation of women in boards and committees is progressing. “Since 2008, for example, more than 300 women, mostly in rural areas, have become members of Hospital boards" and there are now almost a thousand  female students are enrolled in tertiary institutions around the country under various government scholarship schemes.

The PM urged all women to make use of the educational, vocational, training and income generating programs facilitated by Government, and advance the rights of women by taking advantage of this period of reform to shape a better future for the women of Fiji.

He went further to say that it is with this vision to strengthen the collaborative approach to socio-economic development that Cabinet in 2009 approved the establishment of the Fiji Women’s Federation to co-ordinate the programmes and the activities of interested women NGOs to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women. “The Federation will also bridge the gap between the Department for Women and NGOs.”

Domestic violence remains an issue of concern in Fiji and more work needs to be done to ensure that the Domestic Violence Decree is effectively implemented.

Former High Court Judge, Nazhat Shameem, said while huge steps have been taken in the recent past to implement the Domestic Violence and Crimes Decrees, the fact remains that historically domestic violence has been under-reported.

Shameem said around the world, this has been the trend, due to forced reconciliation and institutionalized sexism.The good news is that the decree is in effect and the people of the country and all those involved in the legal system should ensure that it is properly implemented for the benefit of everyone. She hoped the women's NGOs would also play an active role in the implementation of the decree to protect the victims of domestic violence.

In a separate statement, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre said the recorded number of domestic violence cases for January and February (167) has increased compared to last year (154).

Deputy FWCC Coordinator, Edwina Kotoisuva, said the severity of violence is something that should not be taken lightly and the community as a whole needs to get involved. Kotoisuva said it is important that when women want to access justice, they are able to do so through a system that is supportive and sensitive.

N0203. VIOLENCE NOR RECONCILABLE. High Court Judge Justice Daniel Goundar has reminded police and judicial officers that under the Domestic Violence Decree promulgated last September domestic violence offences are no longer reconcilable.  He was referring to a case where the Magistrates Court had terminated proceedings when a man charged with assault causing actual bodily harm for assaulting his wife had had reconciled with his wife and wished to continue his relationship with her.

Justice Goundar said it seemed to him "there is a lack of commitment to enforce the law by the law enforcement officers" that defeated the clear objectives of the Decree.

"Judicial experience," he said,  "has shown that women do not have equal bargaining power as their spouses. They are forced to reconcile in domestic violence cases because of cultural and social constraints placed on them."


Walker Texas Ranger said…
Is 'spurious cover' being given still to charged rapists?

THe case of the bailed man charged with rape who has continuously failed to report according to his Bail Conditions to the Lomaloma Police Post, Western Division is we must presume not unique? Solomoni Tauvutu has been charged with rape (now a Crime Against Humanity). He was charged and appeared in the Lautoka Magistrates court in front of Magistrate John Rabuku in late 2008. By May 2009 he had failed to report once weekly to the Vuda and then the Lomaloma Police Post. He is still not reporting. Three complaints have been made by Crimestoppers against this in December 2009, on various dates in 2010. Tauvutu is still bailed, no Bench Warrant issued for his arrest and he is still allegedly working at Denarau Island. Now what does this reveal about the Criminal Justice System? where is the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre? Where are the Police Prosecutors who should have followed up on this? What is so special about Solomoni Tauvutu? Or, more to the point, what is so lacking in the Criminal Justice System in the Western Division of Fiji? This case is not going away. We shall not allow it to. No reconciliation and the Crimes Decree is to be applied with rigour.
Anonymous said…
More than 300 rural women members of hospital boards does not sound right unless they include all the clinics. Could the names of the women be published for the information of urban based women. Hopefully all these women are well informed, articulate and able to present different points of view. Women do not need passive participants to represent them. Young women are enrolling in greater numbers in tertiary instituions because they have worked hard to qualify to be there.Females make up more than 50% of the student enrolment at USP and women are doing well in middle and senior management positions not only at USP but also in the public and private sector. With this reservoir of talent among women, the right thing for Bainimarama to do is to ensure that women are represented fairly in the next elected Parliament.
A New Age of Enlightenment said…
Ecoutez Bernard-Henri Levy.....just returned from Libya

An Age of Enlightenment is here. No more regression towards darkness but the movement is onwards - even for the Arab World. On AL Jazeera - station of the Real News - it is announced that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the first in the World to recognise the Revolutionary Council of Libya.

Levy stresses that the Arab World is no longer the exception. Arabs are entitled to be free - as free as any are in the West. And M. Bernard-Henri Levy is a Jew.
sara'ssista said…
Mr Kalouniviti said police received 17 cases of defilement of girls between 13 and 16 years so far this year.

"Such cases are on the increase now and a lot of these are happening in the homes and within the family unit - it's a new trend," he said

What!!! and under this regime?? A new criminal trend, or will the police need some spin from Croz and the his friends in the ministry to interpret what he was meant to say was..... what ever happende to the 'crime free paradise' that only the military regime could provide and was promoted by the last 'crusading' police commish.
Anonymous said…
sara'ssista - How unbelievably crappy and irresponsible you seem to be. Sexual assault is a complex problem and you know it.
The subject needs proper research and addressed accordingly.
Gratuitous Concern said…
@ sara'ssista

You, peversely, are insistent upon turning each and every criminal act into a political point. That is a critical determination of your collective (sic) position. It is an unhelpful stance and it is pure propaganda. No serious interest in crime prevention or the plight of women and young victims of sexual predators? For this is what they are: no less predatory than hungry, wild beasts. Your gratuitous and insincere concern displays hypocrisy of a high order.

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