JIS News

Newly appointed, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Advocate for Gender Justice, Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, has called for further strengthening of institutions addressing gender-based violence in the region.
Dr. Wiltshire will have oversight for the CARICOM Gender-based violence programme, which seeks to develop a more co-ordinated and integrated approach to reducing violence in the region. The programme is being funded under the CARICOM/Spain Co-operation Agreement.
Speaking, via teleconference, from CARICOM’s Secretariat in Guyana Monday (March 8) she noted that, despite the achievements to date in bringing greater visibility to violence against women and the legislative and institutional reform, violence against women and children appears to be on the rise.
She said that greater focus will be placed on conducting specialised studies on gender-based violence in the region; raising awareness to the need for further action; and developing and strengthening integrated responses which address the judiciary, law enforcement and social services for the purposes of prevention, provision of services to victims and perpetrators.
She added that research will be conducted and, based on the findings, recommendations will be made as well as proposals on ways of self development for enhancement of policies.
“A major focus will be to encourage the participation of women and girls, men and boys as agents of change,” she said, adding that collaboration among governments and civil society in the region, as well as United Nations agencies, is critical in the process.
“Violence against women is a cancer which is destroying the lives of women, children, boys and girls and spreads out to the school yard and communities,” she added.
In an interview with JIS News, University Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Barbara Bailey, noted that the appointment of a CARICOM advocate for gender justice is “historic and significant”.
Professor Bailey said that the initiative is timely and will bring greater awareness on cases of abuse, adding that, as important as responses are to the problem, there also needs to be a focus on understanding the root causes.
“A more coordinated approach to this problem can only help to move this agenda forward, and to help us to deal with this urgent and vital problem which not just affects us at the personal level.but has repercussions in terms of the cost to a country, in terms of impact on gross domestic product and so on. So it is something with both social and personal and economical ramifications,” she pointed out.
The CARICOM Advocate for Gender Justice will be required to: coordinate the research on gender based violence within the CARICOM Region; raise awareness of the need for further action to develop and strengthen integrated responses which address all social and legal sectors for the purposes of protection, provision of services; justice; and prevention.
The announcement of the appointee is in line with the observance of International Women’s Day.

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