Amnesty condemns inaction of Pacific Island Forum leaders to tackle violence against women
Amnesty International has condemned the statement issued on Friday by the Pacific Island Forum leaders' meeting on sexual and gender-based violence as "weak and disappointing".
It pointed out that the Forum leaders made a pledge a year ago to "eradicate sexual and gender-based violence,” but since then have done very little to address the epidemic.
However, in Friday's communiqué, Pacific leaders commended themselves for their action, although Amnesty says that the only achievement mentioned was a recommendation to set up a reference group at an unspecified future date.
Amnesty International wrote to each Pacific leader ahead of this year’s Forum meeting, asking them how they were progressing on their pledge, but received no replies.
“It is not enough just to pay lip service to eradicating gender violence,” said Pacific researcher Apolosi Bose, who spoke at an Amnesty International press conference in Port Vila to coincide with the Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ meeting.
“Violence against women is an issue of gender equality and human rights, not just of regional stability as it has been framed by the Forum.”
“Culture is often used as an excuse for inaction on this issue, but it is not a Pacific tradition to rape, torture, abuse or murder women and young girls,” said Apolosi Bose.
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