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Minister of Information, Senator Burchell Whiteman said yesterday (October 31), that Cabinet has given the go-ahead for Jamaica’s accession to the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women – Convention of Belem do Para.
The Minister, who was addressing journalists at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, explained that the Convention, named from a city in Brazil, was adopted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) in 1994, and entered into force on March 5, 1995.
“There are 31 parties to the Convention, including 13 CARICOM states, and the instrument to which we have now acceded is the main international instrument which addresses the issue of violence against women, and identifies methods to deal with this problem,” Senator Whiteman pointed out.
Highlighting the main features of the Convention, he said that firstly, it took into account, “the definition of violence against women, which involves conduct which results in death or physical, sexual or psychological harm, whether in the public or private sphere”.
Secondly, the Convention speaks to the “identification of fundamental rights and freedoms to which women are entitled, including, the right to life, liberty and equal protection before the law, and the right to enter public service of a country and to participate in pubic affairs”, he added.
The Minister also noted that the duties of the State under the Convention are divided into two main categories. “The first is, measures which should be taken without delay to prevent, punish and eradicate violence…There is also the goal of gathering statistics and doing research into the causes and consequences of violence against women,” he said.