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Kamla pledges to champion the cause
Today, as the world marks International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says women can no longer continue to live in fear for their lives and those of their children. In the statement yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said although some 160 countries, including T&T, have legislation in place to deal with violence against women, there are still far too many cases of women being abused around the world.
“In far too many instances, women and girls are still manipulated to feel ashamed of themselves and the very violence which was committed against them, at times even being punished while the perpetrators remain free,” she said. Persad-Bissessar said when she assumed office as PM, she gave the issue of female empowerment top priority, especially with regard to female participation in the political sphere.
The statement referred to social activists Hazel Brown and Brenda Gopeesingh, both of whom were appointed in 2011 by the PM as special envoys dedicated to addressing issues of gender equality. The PM also made reference to the establishment of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development with the specific aims of advancing gender equality and ensuring the protection of children. Persad-Bissessar also promised that she would continue to use her leadership position to “propose, champion and influence policy and decisions targeted to eliminate violence and discrimination against women” both regionally and internationally.
The PM also used the occasion to extend sympathy to the families in T&T who have lost female relatives over the past year through acts of violence. She said her Government had already begun to revise existing legislation governing the protection of women and children and will continue these changes to ensure compliance with international standards. Persad-Bissessar also said she recognised that in order to stem the issue of violence against women, there must be change in the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of all citizens.
UNC Women’s Arm
In a similar press release from the UNC Women’s Arm, chairman of the group and MP for Oropouche West Stacy Roopnarine said today presents an opportunity for the world to recognise the accomplishments and contributions of women in all aspects.
Roopnarine made statistical reference to a report by the United Nations which showed that up to 70 per cent of women in the world admitted to having suffered abuse. “We call on all women to join together in the fight against violence,” she said. “We also call on our male counterparts to join in this fight with women to stand against violence.” Roopnarine denounced discrimination against women and girls, saying it had “no place in the 21st century.” She urged citizens to remain dedicated to promoting women’s rights and ending gender discrimination.
In commemoration of International Women’s Day, UNAIDS issued a press statement urging men to play their role in promoting equality. Executive director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe said women should be able to reach their full potential without fear of abuse from men. He also said that ending violence against women was critical to ending the spread of Aids, as rape and sexual abuse carry an HIV risk. Today, between 9 am and 5 pm, the Network of Non-Governmental Organisations for the Advancement of Women (the Network) will be on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port-of-Spain, where it will host its annual International Women’s Day Expo, Rally and Information Fair. There will also be a solidarity walk at 12 noon in support of the national gender policy. The group invites all those interested to attend.
Today, as the world marks International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says women can no longer continue to live in fear for their lives and those of their children.
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