The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : International : Organization of American States (OAS) Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014 - 5:05:44 PM


Message from the OAS Secretary General on International Women’s Day
By OAS
Mar 8, 2013 - 12:47:46 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
The United Nations has defined the theme for International Women’s Day 2013 as: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women,” and has so given us an opportunity to reflect on the advances and challenges in preventing and attending to this dramatic reality. A good way of commemorating this new celebration is perhaps to ask ourselves what has been the impact of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belém do Pará Convention, 1995), 18 years after its entry into force, and whether or not women have the ability to exercise their right to a life free of violence, as stipulated in the Convention.

At first glace, I would say that the Belém do Pará Convention remains an unfulfilled promise:

- The lack of adequate statistical data on violence against women, its care and punishment, continues to be a significant obstacle to our understanding of the depth of the problem, as well as our ability to address it;

- There remain important gaps in the legal framework on women’s rights, particularly in the lack of recognition and protection of sexual and reproductive rights, which continues to be a deep breach in women’s citizenship;

- Existing legislation on multiple forms of violence – femicide, sexual harassment, rape within and outside the context of marriage, violence against trans persons – is an effective guarantee of neither the rights of the victims nor reparation of the damage done.

It is a matter of both concern and shame that the budget dedicated by Latin America and the Caribbean to preventing or combating violence against women remains extremely small – between .01% and 0.1% of public budgets – while other areas receive much more funding.

The data is chilling and indicates that, however strong our current international and national legal framework, if it is not applied, it has no relevance for women, nor does it support the full exercise of their rights.

We must also recognize however, that thanks to the Belém do Pará Convention, States have incorporated physical, psychological, sexual and economic violence into their national norms. The Convention has provided the basis for the organization of campaigns, the implementation of protocols and care services, the issuing of sentences is cases of domestic violence, rape, harassment and other crimes, and numerous other initiatives and activities.

In 2004, the States Party established the MESECVI – the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention, in which 28 States have actively participated, showing a high degree of commitment to the eradication of violence against women. The results of this process include 56 national reports and two Hemispheric Reports on the Implementation of the Belém do Pará Convention, which give us an idea of the advances, obstacles and successes in the fight to eliminate violence against women, as well as providing us with a map of the road to follow.

For all of these reasons, on this International Women’s Day I would like to issue a new call for the intensification of efforts to advance towards the goals that we have set ourselves and the consolidation of what we have already achieved, for the identification and replication of good practices, strengthening coordination between government agencies and civil society, follow-up and evaluation of the effectiveness of laws and national plans, development of capacities in the administration of justice, ensuring the commitment of communication media and allocation of the necessary resources to turn our commitment to women’s rights into a reality and fulfill the promise to eradicate violence against women.

As a signal of our commitment, the OAS has included the MESECVI among its funding priorities, and I urge the Member States and Permanent Observers to support these actions. We must unite our efforts to ensure that, on our continent, promises become reality.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Bookmark and Share


© Copyright 2013 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Organization of American States (OAS)
Latest Headlines
OAS Member States Approved the Organization's Budget for the 2015- 2016 Biennium
OAS Anticorruption Mechanism Holds On-Site Visit to The Bahamas
OAS Condems Attacks in Ottawa, Canada
IDB and OAS join to promote better Cyber Security Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean
OAS Lecture Series Examines Universal Abolition of the Death Penalty
OAS Assistant Secretary General Calls for Universal Access to Education
OAS Calls on Countries of the Region to Join Forces for Sustainable Development
OAS Assistant Secretary General and Caribbean Authorities Discuss the Future of Energy
OAS Convenes First Stakeholder Meeting on Natural Disaster Mitigation
Declaration of the OAS Secretary General on the Situation of the People Detained in Guantanamo
OAS Receives PAHO Report on the Ebola Outbreak in Africa and the Impact of Chikungunya Virus in the Americas
OAS Anti-Corruption Mechanism Adopted Report on Haiti
OAS Anti-Corruption Mechanism Releases Report on Grenada
OAS, PAHO, and Trinidad and Tobago Organize Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases
OAS Anti-Corruption Mechanism Released Report on Jamaica
Kazakhstan Envoy calls on Bahamas Ambassador Rahming
OAS Roundtable Discusses Drug Problem in the Americas and the Challenges of Reducing Incarceration
OAS Permanent Council Urged Haiti to Hold Overdue Elections and Convened a Special General Assembly on Strategic Vision
OAS Launches Virtual Course on Open Government for Public Officials in the Americas
OAS Secretary General Sends Condolences to Saint Lucia on the Passing of Judge Suzie D'Auvergne
Meeting of Culture Ministers of the Americas Convened by the OAS Opens in Haiti
New Permanent Representative of Haiti Presented Credentials
OAS and OWASP Sign Agreement on Cyber Security
OAS Members Call for Cease Fire and End to the Violence in Gaza
Haitian Minister of Culture advises on 6th Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Culture
OAS Participates in Inauguration of First National Meeting of Judicial Facilitators of Honduras
OAS Sends Condolences to Belize on the passing of Ambassador Alfredo Martínez
Trinidad and Tobago Welcomes First Group of Graduates from Pilot Drug Treatment Court, with Support from the OAS
OAS Pays Tribute to Former Haitian President Lesly Manigat
Trinidad and Tobago Assumes Chair of the OAS Inter-American Council for Integral Development
Saint Lucia Assumes Chair of the OAS Permanent Council
OAS and President of Haiti Discuss Elections and Action Plan to Register Haitian Migrants in the Dominican Republic
Haiti Signs Conventions against Racism and Discrimination at the OAS
OAS Secretary General Receives President of Haiti
OAS and Florida International University Sign Scholarship Agreement
Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister addresses OAS Regular Session
Mitchell says issue of inclusive development is central to Economic and social objectives of Bahamas Government
Dominican Republic OAS Ambassador Delivers Law 169-14 to Secretary General Insulza
Germany Donates 2 Million Euros in Technical Assistance to the OAS for Environmental Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean
OAS Permanent Council elevates draft resolutions to the General Assembly of Asunción