More investment needed to address gender-based violence – Puna

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Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna. Picture PIFS

With the awareness of the prevalence of violence against women and girls in the Pacific region, the Pacific Islands Forum has called for more investment into this area of addressing gender-based violence.

PIF secretary-general Henry Puna made the comment as the world commemorates the 2023 United Nations 16 days of activism.

He said the theme this year – ‘Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls’ – was a timely one for the Blue Pacific Continent.

“We all know that a Blue Pacific Continent that is thriving and working towards achieving our leaders 2050 vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity must include our women and girls in all their diversity,” Mr Puna said.

“Investing to prevent gender-based violence must involve our families and communities.

“Survivors of violence must receive the services required.

“Perpetrators must be held to account.

“An essential part of accountability is confidence in the security and rule of law offered by our governments. It also includes continued advocacy and the involvement of men and boys.

“We need continued support for initiatives that work, as we know that intergenerational change takes time.”

Mr Puna said to invest in preventing gender-based violence and violence against women and girls was to invest in families, clans, tribes, and communities – “to ensure that all citizens of our Blue Pacific Continent can contribute to building our communities, countries, and region; to accelerate action to take a solid and united stand against violence in all its forms”.

“As we call for more investment, more action, and more solutions, let us also recognise the efforts of all those who have been at the forefront of addressing gender-based violence in our region, including feminists and women’s rights activists who have often been the target of harassment and intimidation because of their work.”

At the regional level, Mr Puna said the Forum leaders had endorsed the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan (IP) and the revitalised Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration.

“These two critical regional frameworks provide the impetus for us to continue to collectively invest our time and resources to ensure that we work towards a Blue Pacific Continent that is safe and free for all.”