SOLOMAN ISLANDS: Aus supports elimination of violence against women

Friday, September 30, 2011
The Solomon Star
Solomon Is.
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

A workshop to help rural communities know how to prevent violence against women is currently underway.

More than 30 women and men leaders from villages of Western, Malaita and Guadalcanal provinces are in Honiara this week.

The week long workshop aims to help these men and women understand the work of different organizations working to prevent violence against women.

The workshop which is hosted by the Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT).

It aims to bring together the village leaders to get themselves well versed with the government's policy on the elimination of violence against women.

Speaking to officially open the workshop at SIDT office, His Excellency, Matt Anderson, Australia High Commissioner told the village leaders his government's commitment in working to eliminate violence against women.

“Violence against women affects all countries around the world. It violates basic human rights and causes immeasurable trauma for women, families and the community.

“Violence against women and the fear of violence has significant impacts on development.

“It affects families and communities and limits women's participation in social, political and economic life. violence against women also puts a strain on health care, social, policing and justice systems,” he told the participants.

Mr. Anderson told participants that its time for change.

“In the Pacific Australia is supporting civil society and governments to promote women's right, to prevent and respond to violence and increase access to justice for women survivors.

“Australian support has assisted the governments of Kiribati and Solomon Islands to endorse national policies and action plans to address violence against women.”

He said his government has further expressed their determination to be at the forefront of global efforts to promote the role of women and girls through the creation of an Ambassador to advocate on their behalf. “Last week, the Gillard government announced career diplomat Penny Williams will be Australia's first Global Ambassador for Women and Girls.”

He said Prime Minister Gillard announced the role of Ms Williams is to ensure that the needs of women and girls are properly presented in Australia's overseas development program and in foreign policy more broadly.

Mr. Anderson told the participants women and girls make up two thirds of the one billion people in the world who lack basic literacy skills, with almost 35 million girls world-wide not getting even basic primary-level education.

He said by improving access to education and health services his government is able to lift families and communities out of poverty.

“Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that the evidence shows that aid spending is more effective when women and girls are central to our investment.”

He added as a wealthy and prosperous nation, Australia has a responsibility to work for the safety and opportunity of women across the world.

Mr. Anderson also informed the participants that the Australia government has announced additional support to help expand and improve services for women across the Pacific through counseling, crisis accommodation and legal support.

Australia funding also aims to help raise awareness and change community attitudes to violence.

“While living free from violence is everyone's right, reducing violence is everyone's responsibility.

“Australia is proud to support the conference and for providing financial assistance to bring you here to tell your stories,” he told the participants.

The workshop is one of the activities the Australia government has provided support to the Solomon Islands Development Trust(SIDT) as a recipient of Human Rights Grant Scheme for 2010-2011.

The Australia government support to SIDT under the Scheme is SBD$620,000 which will help the organization to work with villages to raise awareness towards eliminating violence against women.

Director of SIDT, Jennifer Wate acknowledge the recognition by the Australia government in providing such financial support which will help her organization spread the message to the provinces to be aware of the situation faced by many women and children.

The workshop which is currently underway in Honiara will look into how villagers can help in disseminating information about the government's Policy on Eliminating Violence against women.

It also helps villagers to build strong advocate networks in preventing violence against women.

The workshop will end on Friday this week with participants to visit offices that are working to end violence against women and to learn more about their work