SPC staff sign up to eliminate violence against women


White Ribbon

In the lead up to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25, staff of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have pledged never to commit, condone or remain silent on violence against women.

Led by SPC Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, staff of the Economic Development and Land Resources Divisions publicly stated their personal opposition to violence against women at the recent CRGA 44, held in Noumea. They were joined in this pledge by another 50 male delegates to the meeting.

Captain John Hogan, Director of the Economic Development Division (EDD), explained why he made the pledge: “Having seen the effects of domestic violence and the devastation it can cause in families, a shift in male attitudes is needed. This can only happen through males taking the lead.” In a similar vein, Dr Ken Cokanasiga, Deputy Director of the Land Resources Division, Trade and Agribusiness Programme, said: “Of particular concern to me is the immediate and long-lasting negative impact of this on children within affected families. We men have to change, and take charge ourselves.”

Solomone Fifita, Deputy Director, Energy, in EDD, said: “I have signed on to the White Ribbon drive as I don’t believe in any form of violence against women. It is not acceptable in the Tongan culture and neither in my religious belief too.” Allan Illingworth, EDD, explained his commitment to the pledge: “I signed up because we need to raise the bar in terms of our commitment and action and support SPC in their effort to do this.” White Ribbon Day will be observed across all offices of SPC to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In leading the campaign, the SPC Director-General emphasised the need for a shift in attitudes before violence against women can be more systematically addressed as a serious development and public health issue. “It is no longer just a women’s issue. All men should be concerned about the well-being and safety of their daughters, grand-daughters, sisters, mothers, partners and friends,” Dr Tukuitonga said. Read more…

By the Secretariat of the South Pacific.