Crime/Justice, International news, News


Published 25 November 2022


Buckie Got It, St Kitts and Nevis News Source

GLOBAL STATISTICS ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE women and girls suffer are terrifying.Figures from the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) highlight the ferocity of the sexual aggression directed to females.

According to the UN an EU in a joint statement, globally, 1 in 3 women (that is 33 percent) have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and 1 in 5 girls (that is 20 percent) 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 growing global eruption of violence against women and girls (VAWG) is spotlighted today being International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The EU and UN (Guyana) have reaffirmed their commitment to ending violence against women and girls which is a worldwide phenomenon.

“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,” said the joint release.

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, a hefty 50 percent, will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

Local Government and Regional Development Minister in Guyana, Nigel Dharamlall, faced no discipline either from Parliament or his ruling party when, during a Sitting of the House, he bluntly told a female opposition legislator that she needs “a dildo”.

When leaders can be this unrefined, and publicly verbally abusive to a female lawmaker by use of strong, graphic, sexual innuendos, there is little hope for better behaviour, purified perspective or refined respect for the opposite gender from the lesser mortals they supposedly lead.    

The EU/UN 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 realised 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 organisations 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.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) reminded that in 2020 and 2021 it wrote President Irfaan Ali asking him to ratify the International Labour Organisation 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, the union complained that, to date, there has been no action on the matter. It said 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.”

Ratification of the ILO Convention and related recommendation by the Guyanese Parliament is long overdue, given that these have relative significance to incidence of violence and harassment endured by women countrywide, both in and out of workplaces, and which continue to escalate in recent time, GPSU said in its statement.

“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 this year is observed under the theme ‘Unite! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls’.

The global theme would usher in a campaign that will amplify the voices of survivors of gender-based violence from November 25, 2022, to International Human Rights Day observed on December 10, through mobilisation of activists “for the prevention of violence against women”. The goal of the campaign is to stamp out violence against women internationally.

“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,” GPSU assured.

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