Nov 25, 2022 News
– EU, UN say in joint statement
Kaieteur News – On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, being observed today, the European Union and the United Nations Guyana reaffirm their commitment to ending violence against women and girls.
Violence against women affects every country worldwide, and escalates in times of crisis, the EU and UN said in a joint statement. According to them globally, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime and 1 in 5 girls become a victim of child sexual abuse. “We strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful practices, as a blatant violation of human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation, leading to record high levels of domestic violence. Since the start of COVID-19, 45 percent of women reported that they or a woman they know, had experienced some form of Violence.”
The European Union (EU)-United Nations (UN) Spotlight Initiative grew out of this urgent need to address VAWG. “The European Union recognises the importance of this issue and prides itself on being the biggest investor in gender equality worldwide, making this one of its main global human rights priorities.
VAWG in Guyana is widespread, driven by an intersection of cultural, economic and social factors. Findings from Guyana indicate that 20 percent of women have experienced non-partner sexual abuse, while 1 in 2 women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.”
The Spotlight Initiative in Guyana is therefore a timely action with a community-level focus, designed to address Gender Based Violence and Violence Against Women & Girls by making interventions in critical areas such as Laws and Policies, Institutions, Prevention, Essential Services, Quality Data and Civil Society/Women’s Movement.
The hard work with committed partnership of the Government of Guyana led by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security with other partners within Civil Society, has already realized the achievement of many significant milestones. This has set the stage for strengthening our collective efforts to create an environment for women and girls to live a life free of violence, harmful practices, and intersecting forms of discrimination. We are committed to doing all we can to tackle violence against women.
The EU and the UN continue to stand in solidarity with the women and girl victims and survivors of violence and with civil society, women’s rights organizations and human rights defenders demanding for accountability. “We also remember and pay special attention to violence against women in conflict areas and humanitarian crises such as the war in Ukraine. Every girl born today should grow up without violence in her life, allowing her to flourish and become the best person she can be! We stand together to stop violence against women and girls,” the statement ended.
No action from Government
Meanwhile, in a separate statement the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) said by way of letters dated December 29, 2020, and September 23, 2021, it sought President Irfaan Ali’s intervention towards the ratification of the International Labour Organization Convention (ILO) C190 on Violence and Harassment that was adopted at the 108th International Labour Conference (ILC) session in Geneva on June 21, 2019. However, to date there has been no action on the matter. According to the union, representation was also made for the simultaneous ratification of the ILO Recommendation № 206 “concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.”
The ratification of the ILO Convention and related recommendation by the Parliament of Guyana have become long overdue, given that these have relative significance to incidence of violence and harassment that are being faced countrywide, both in and out of workplaces, and which continue to escalate in recent time, the union said. “It would nevertheless appear that the powers that be, have attached little significance to the ratifications of this very significant ILO Convention and related Recommendation. The GPSU would nonetheless continue its activism for the ratification of the Convention C190 and Recommendation 206 by the Parliament of Guyana.”
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2022 is being observed under the theme “Unite! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls”, which would usher in a campaign that amplifies the voices of survivors of gender-based violence from November 25, 2022, to International Human Rights Day December 10, 2022, through the mobilization of activists “for the prevention of violence against women”. The goal of the campaign is to stamp out violence against women internationally.
The GPSU said as part of the vanguard devoted to ending gender-based violence will continue to advocate for the end to gender based violence. As such, it has been very vocal when such violence is seen in the seat of leadership, where examples must be set to the wider citizenry. “Everyone has a role to play, in the elimination of this scourge from the Earth. To tackle this deep-seated curse, efforts must begin within family units, to the communities, villages, cities and states. Transformative education from nursery to university is also key to the development of mindsets that engenders cultures of respect and love for women folk. This of course would need the solid inputs of societies’ leadership, as a main action base. In this regard, the Guyana Public Service Union will continue to advocate for stronger institutional changes and cultural trends that promote a culture of respect, care and protection of our women folk,” the Union added.
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