Initiative to boost efforts against domestic violence in the Pacific


We cannot talk about building stable, peaceful societies on a healthy society if half of the community is living in fear and security, United Nations Resident Coordinator Sanaka  Samarasinha said at the launch of a regional programme aimed at ending domestic and intimate partner violence in the Pacific region.

Addressing attendees at the launch in Suva today, Samarasinha said the Pacific region has some of the highest recorded rates of violence against women and girls globally, with almost two out of three women who have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, almost double the global average.

“If we are to change the attitudes that suggest that violence and harm are acceptable, we all need to play a part.”

United Nations Resident Coordinator Sanaka  Samarasinha

A combined initiative of the United Nations and European Union, in collaboration with key partners in the region, it seeks to legislative and policy gaps, strengthen institutions, promote gender equitable attitudes, strengthen systems of collecting data on violence against women and girls and support civil society and coalitions in advocacy.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said everyone’s participation and support is vital particularly given effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has exacerbated situations for girls and women.

“This pandemic has hit the most vulnerable the hardest – women, people with disabilities, the elderly, youth, migrant workers. Governments, employers, community leaders, faith-based organisations, young people – we all have a role to play,” Mohammed said.

European Union Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Sujiro Seam echoed similar sentiments.

“Partnerships starts within the United Nations family UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF and IOM.”

The spotlight initiative which includes a funding commitment of EU500 million from the EU is committed to supporting efforts led by civil society and women rights movements in 16 Pacific island countries.

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