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

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - NE­MANI DELAIBATIKI SUVA

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.

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