World Praise For PM Bainimarama
No excuse for violence, abuse against women, children. Men who do it are cowards and criminals, he says He gets applause twice while speaking UN’s Deputy Secretary-General: “Thank you very much, Prime Minister. It’s reassuring to hear a head of governme
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has been praised in a world leaders’ forum for his powerful and unambiguous statement condemning violence against women and children. United Nations Deputy SecretaryGeneral, former Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson, who chaired the World Leaders’ Roundtable in Istanbul, Turkey, said: “Thank you very much, Prime Minister. It’s reassuring to hear a head of government taking such a principled and firm stand on violence against women and children in a domestic environment. “It was absolutely wonderful to hear that from you. The applause that interrupted you is a sign of appreciation.” Mr Bainimarama made that stirring speech at the first World Humanitarian Summit’s High Level Leaders Roundtable on “Women and Girls: Catalysing Action to Achieve Gender Equality.” He was given warm applause on two occasions during his speech, one in the middle and the second as he ended.
This segmnent attracted the first applause: “I want to make it perfectly clear what my own attitude is
and that of the Government I lead. There is no justification, no excuse, for any man to inflict violence on a woman or abuse her in any way. Those who do so are cowards and criminals,” Mr Bainimarama said. The second applause came towards the end when he said: “And we are saying to the men of Fiji: real men don’t mistreat women. They treat them with the respect they deserve as our wives, partners, mothers, sisters and daughters – the bedrock of our families and of our nation.” Mr Bainimarama said: “Far too many men regard women as subservient and as possessions for their sexual gratification. Far too many men routinely resort to violence in a domestic setting. And we are currently in the throes of a national debate about whether women are in any way to blame for this, by provoking their men into acts of violence or inviting rape by wearing provocative clothing. “I simply do not accept the argument that the onus is on a women not to provoke her partner’s temper. And that if she does so, that somehow justifies or excuses the treatment that is meted out to her.
“It is a way of thinking that provides men with an excuse to justify the unjustifiable and women to accept the unacceptable. It is a way of thinking that is totally out of kilter with the norms of any society with pretensions to decency.
“And it is a way of thinking that perpetuates a cycle of violence and must be eradicated with the full force of the law. Zero tolerance for those who abuse women and girls.”
Mr Bainimarama’s statement was an obvious response to the public debate in Fiji over a statement by the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni. Dr Luveni, while condemning violence against women, said women could also help in solving this problem. She said: “Maybe we women aggravate the situation. Sometimes we know exactly what our husbands don’t like and still we go ahead and do it. What do you expect?” She has been criticised by the Women’s Crisis Centre and other NGOs. Although Dr Luveni said her statement had been taken out of context, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar, said she was saddened by Dr Luveni’s statement. She said her ministry did not tolerate or condone any violence against women and children.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama gives his statement in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday.