THE MOST HON. PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER, ON, MP
PRIME MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Today Jamaica joins with the rest of the world in observing this important day under the theme: ‘‘Violence does not Discriminate: Unite to End Gender-Based Violence.”
The elimination of gender-based and other forms of violence against women and girls is central to the Government’s commitment to the safety and security of all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable in our society. Not only is that commitment reflected in national policies such as the Vision 2030: Jamaica National Development Plan, the National Policy for Gender Equality and the draft National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence in Jamaica, it is also reaffirmed through the Government’s provision of the enabling environment to empower our women, regardless of colour, class, race or socio-economic status and ensure they are able to live in a safe and peaceful society.
Through the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, the Government has embarked on a three-month social media campaign, aimed at providing a platform for advocacy and collaboration around the issue of gender-based violence, particularly as it affects women and girls. The campaign is designed to raise awareness and provide guidance on developing and implementing programmes and strategies to address the incidence of violence against women and girls.
This initiative complements the broader efforts by the Government of Jamaica to tackle the problem through collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders including faith-based groups, non-governmental organisations, community-based entities and civil society, and international partners. A Joint Select Committee of Parliament has been conducting a review of four pieces of legislation to provide greater protection and redress for citizens, particularly vulnerable women and girls. These are the Sexual Offences Act, Domestic Violence Act, Offences Against the Person Act and the Child Care & Protection Act.
On November 25 and throughout the ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence’ to December 10, I call on all Jamaicans to positively engage on this issue of violence against women. Violence against women and girls impedes the development process and hinders efforts toward peace and security. Violence against women affects everyone in society and we each have a role to play in ending it. Certainly, violence against women cannot end without the full involvement of our boys and men. I agree with the United Nations Secretary General that “Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us – men and boys – refuse to tolerate it.”
Let us therefore reject violence in whatever form and create a culture where every action and every word represents love, peace, understanding and respect. I invite all Jamaicans to stand up to those who seek to harm our mothers, our sisters, our nieces, our daughters and all women. Today and always let us reflect on and embrace the words of beloved poet, Maya Angelou: “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”
Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, ON, MP
November 25, 2015