By SIAN ROLLS
With the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence starting tomorrow, UN Women has begun preparations for their form of celebrations.
The UN agency will commemorate the start of the campaign with a set of speeches and information booths set up in Lautoka. This was revealed at the first quarterly media sessions that UN Women hopes to hold.
UN Women Regional Project Manager Tupou Vere said the Lautoka event would be held at the city’s municipal i market and will not only involve UN Women with information booths but also feature booths from partners like FRIEND, the Ministry of Health and Empower Pacific.
Speakers will include Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator & UNDP Representative, Nicolas Burniat, UN Women’s Deputy Representative at the Fiji Multi Country Office, and Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, who will be in the country for a few days.
After the Lautoka event, Ms Stott Despoja – a former Australian senator – will attend a dialogue in Nadi on the elimination of violence against women.
Representatives from the media were presented with the most recent statistics from the Pacific relating to violence against women, with two in three Pacific women having experienced some form of violence in their lives as opposed to the global one in three.
However, according to Ellie Van Baaren, the statistics within the Pacific seem not to vary greatly with prevalence ranging from 68 per cent in Kiribati to 64 per cent in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
The 16 Days of Activism was first commemorated in 1991, pushed by civil society organisations. The theme this year is “ Orange your neighbourhood” which hopes to focus on the need for whole communities to be dedicated to the elimination of violence against women in all its forms.