The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre’s (FWCC) regional flagship meeting of those working to eliminate violence against women (EVAW) from around the Pacific region gets underway in Fiji on Monday.
More than 60 participants from 11 Pacific countries are gathered at the Warwick Resort in Sigatoka for the 8th Meeting of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) which runs from Monday 10 – 14 December 2018.
The meeting will hear from representatives of 11 countries on measures being taken in their countries to address the issue of violence against women, including law reforms and budget allocations for implementation, response services for survivors of gender-based violence, prevention programs, research in the area and emerging issues.
“This meeting brings together those in the region from civil society, government and men who are working at the forefront of eliminating violence against women to share their experiences, discuss new approaches in addressing the problem, build solidarity and map a way forward in the next two years,” said Shamima Ali, the Coordinator of FWCC and chair of the network.
The countries represented are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Among those in attendance will be government representatives as well as development partners from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Gender Division, UN Women and the Australian Federal Police.
First convened in 1992 and previously held every four years, the regional meeting is now held biennially because of the magnitude of the problem of violence against women in the Pacific and the work that still needs to be done to address it.
The network’s Male Advocates for Women’s Human Rights met a day before the main meeting to discuss developments and challenges in the area over the past two years. Developed 14 years ago, the Male Advocates for Women’s Human Rights Program, is considered a leading program in the field.
In 1992 the FWCC facilitated and hosted the First Pacific Regional Meeting on Violence Against Women in Suva comprising women from 15 Pacific Island countries.
The inaugural meeting led to the establishment of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women. Since then, it has served as a support mechanism for women in the Pacific who are working in the area of gender-based violence and human rights. This, in turn, is reflected in the emergence of several new counselling centres in the Pacific region including in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tuvalu, and Kiribati.
This year’s meeting begins on World Human Rights Day, which also marks the end of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women.