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By Devika Narayan

SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 9, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Violence against women has not decreased, according to the coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC).

Shamima Ali said though there is increasing recognition by international as well as national institutions, Fiji has yet to fulfill the promise of freedom from violence.

She said poverty has degraded the situation of women in the home, workplace and society.

"Though we have many more women in parliament than ever before, a lot has not changed for the majority of women here, particularly women in rural areas and the urban poor areas," Ms. Ali said.

However, there have been some positive trends emerging over the last few months, she said.

She said despite this, there is also a dangerous trend of blatant misogyny creeping in again, as reflected in certain parliamentary antics where parliament privileges have been utterly abused to discredit women.

"These trends have been further reflected among certain members of the judiciary during a presentation on domestic violence legislation, where one member said that we were making a 'mountain out of a molehill,' as far as domestic violence was concerned. If the higher echelons of power have such views, then what of the rest of society?" Ms. Ali asked.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.



By Devika Narayan

SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 9, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji women yesterday participated in International Women’s Day celebrations with one message: To urge the government to implement pending programs for change pertaining to women’s issues.

Women are still waiting for action after a quarter of a century of talking, an international group of feminist organizations announced in Suva.

The spokesperson of Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), which has its global secretariat located at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, said it’s been 25 years since the first United Nations International Women¹s conference in Mexico City, 15 years since the women¹s conference in Nairobi, and five years since the conference in Beijing.

"Not only had the countries failed to implement the programs for change agreed to at the conference, but things have become worse for women," the group said.

It is concerned that there has been insufficient emphasis on economic and social aspects of women’s human rights.

The same sentiments are being echoed by the coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali.

Ms. Ali said she supports the concerns raised by the DAWN Global Secretariat.

"The economic and social condition of women has become worse," she said. "If we look at the budget for 2000, government has just allocated about one percent of the total budget for the women."

Twenty-one women’s organizations met at Stony Point, New York this week to plan an Economic Justice Caucus to expose some of the crushing inequalities suffered by women under present economic policies and systems of globalization

The caucus is to be held at the time of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in New York, June 5-9, to review progress during the past five years on the Beijing Platform of Action.

A preparatory committee meeting is currently being held in New York to prepare for this UN special session, which is known as "Women 2000."

"Over the years, many of us have worked intensely to introduce a critique of the system. . . in the major United Nations conferences," the group added. "However, we are greatly concerned that member states have consistently resisted this emphasis.

"As a result, the Beijing Platform for Action is weak on macro-economic analysis and our concerns for economic justice. Follow-up has tended to focus on the 12 critical areas of concern without necessarily exploring the larger macro-economic policy framework within which nations are trying to implement the Platform of Action," the group said.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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