FIJI APPOINTS FIRST FEMALE TO SECURITY COUNCIL

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Jiko Luveni named interim Minister for Women

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 7, 2008) – Fiji's first woman to sit on the National Security Council will be the interim Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni.

The interim Cabinet decision yesterday followed a submission she made over the various aspects of security issues women face.

Other new inclusions to the council are the permanent secretary for Women, Gender and Development and the head of department at divisional and district level in the officials' committee.

In a statement, the interim Cabinet said the representation of women in all aspects of national peace and security matters was critical.

Dr Luveni said women in Fiji were not a visible part of government's peace building and conflict management.

"Women and girls experience security and the absence of it in different ways," she said. "Data shows that violence against women continues to be a scourge in the lives of women and girls. Police data shows the challenges women face in ordinary times. There is circumstantial evidence that in the times of political unrest rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated on women is unreported."

With this view, it was important to have female representation at National Security Council level, Dr Luveni said.

She said peace building at all levels of society would be boosted if women were included in all security discourse including the training of peacekeepers and the participation of women in the security discussion.

Fiji endorsed and is party to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) which addresses women and armed conflict in addition the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) provides for women's human rights.

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