NGO call for demilitirisation in CEDAW report

Update: 4:28PM AS Fiji moves towards another election year, it must show that a strong constitutional democracy has replaced all traces of authoritarian rule that limit women’s rights.

This was highlighted by several local Non-Government Organisations in their parallel report and submissions to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) last year.

The NGO coalition on the CEDAW report includes the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM), Citizen’s Constitutional Forum (CCF), Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA) Fiji, femLINK Pacific, Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation, National Union for Commercial Factory Workers, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Haus of Khameleon, Pacific Sexual and Reproductive Health Centre, Pacific Disability Forum, and Soqosoqo Vakamarama iTaukei.

The report says as long as an “authoritarian military presence remains”, women’s political rights and participation, both at the local and national level, will continually be constrained.

“Though Fiji has made progress with the adoption of a new Constitution (2013) and holding its first election (2014) since the 2006 coup, compliance with its obligations under the CEDAW has been limited,” the report states.

“The consequence of non-compliance by the Fiji government is that gender inequality permeates most sectors of society; few measures to develop women’s social, economic, and political life have been adequately supported; and the continued pervasiveness of gender-based violence (GBV) throughout Fiji serves as the most visible manifestation of these systemic failures.”

“In 2018, the Fijian elections will serve as a benchmark of whether women have the political agency and opportunity to engage at the political level or whether they will continue to be marginalised from public life.”

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