The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat is organizing the inaugural MSG Ministers for Women and Senior Officials Conference on End Violence Against Women (EVAW) in Fiji from 3-5 March 2020.
The purpose of this Conference is to start a conversation that has been long overdue within the sub-region; however, most of our countries are doing tremendous work on which is the area of eliminating sexual and gender- based violence.
“Sexual and Gender based violence especially violence against women are a scourge on our nations and the region and a violation of human rights. The statistics on domestic and sexual and gender-based violence is not something we can ignore or shy away from and is an indictment on how societies have treated women and children over the years.” Director General, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli stresses.
This gathering of the MSG Ministers for Women and Senior Officials is an important forum for dialogue and exchange of implementation strategies and lessons learnt and to identify ways of ensuring that this issue is addressed by our MSG leaders through our governing processes. This inaugural gathering of Ministers for Women demonstrates political leadership on their part and the importance of ensuring a stronger sub-regional position on eliminating sexual and gender-based violence.
In the MSG Prosperity for all Plan 2038, MSG leaders envisioned the importance of enhancing the role of women in MSG Development process including strengthening women in leadership in Melanesia. Ambassador Yauvoli further adds that, “two of the root causes of domestic violence are gender inequality and the power dynamics within our societies. These root causes are manifested in areas such as women’s political participation, economic empowerment and the treatment of women and children as objects or the property of others. It is in addressing these root causes can we truly ensure that women and children are given a fair go as productive members of our society.”
This Conference seeks to address some of these issues and more.
“We are grateful to Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa of Fiji for agreeing to host the Conference in Nadi and we remain optimistic that the Conference will trigger more dialogue and actions towards eliminating sexual and gender-based violence in the sub-region” Ambassador Yauvoli adds.
The Conference themed, Charting a Sub-Regional Approach to preventing domestic and sexual and gender-based violence is supported by SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team, the Pacific Community, the Pacific Island Development Forum, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the United Nations Women, Pacific Sub-regional office. It will be held in Nadi.
“This inaugural conference is the beginning of ensuring a stronger sub-regional goal of eliminating sexual and gender-based violence in our sub-region. We must make our homes safe again and our Melanesian sub-region safer for women.” Ambassador Yauvoli adds.