Fiji Islands, Oceania
Tevita Seruilumi

Tevita Seruilimi 2017

There have been recognizable efforts towards ending violence against women (VAW) in the Pacific in relation to passing of domestic violence legislation and amendments in criminal laws around sexual violence. However, more is needed from Pacific Island Governments to prioritize and properly resource state institutions that respond to VAW. This includes tailored capacity development for government officials and the law and justice sector. Patriarchal attitudes and behaviours need to be addressed as they directly impact the quality and effectiveness of the State’s response. Attitudes that excuse gender inequality and VAW are rife in institutions that respond to VAW. The majority of perpetrators of intimate partner violence continue to escape deterring punishment from the State. In the Pacific, there are ongoing customary practices that remain unchallenged by governments, even though they discriminate against women and are used commonly to mitigate and justify VAW. Religious misperceptions on gender inequality are also a challenge to the effective implementation of VAW laws and initiatives. Cultural and religious misperceptions about women’s role in the family and society must be reflected upon and encouraged to change to have a positive influence and play a significant role in strengthening implementation and laws and policies to address VAW. I think, one of the key strategies to strengthen Government’s commitment to addressing VAW is to support a mechanism where States can be held accountable at a regional and international platform for their leadership, ownership and resourcing of efforts to comprehensively address and respond to VAW.

All Members