Two national policies have been launched yesterday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and commencement of the campaign of the 16 Days of Activism event.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said in his launching address that the National Policy on Gender Equality affirms the Vanuatu Government’s commitment towards gender equality across all sectors and at all levels of society and the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

“Vanuatu is one of the countries in the world that has a high rate of domestic violence and violence against women and children.

“Women become victims of rape, sexually abuse.

“Violence against women is woven into the fabric of society to such an extend that many of us accept it as a norm.

“Since independence, merely, a woman is elected into Parliament. One in provincial government level and a handful in municipalities. Women have been left out on making choices and laws on issues that matters most despite the fact that they make up 49% of Vanuatu population.”

The mission of this policy is to promote equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities among men and women and to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

The second policy launched was the National Child Protection Policy.

“Children are the nation’s future,” PM Salwai stated.

The National Child Protection Policy has been developed as part of the government’s commitment to protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, neglect, violence and strengthen the protection system so as to ensure all our commitment under the UN under Convention of the Right of Child which the Vanuatu Government ratified in 1992.

He continued, “The policy ensures that we have a safe and secured society while children living in Vanuatu are free and enabling them to enjoy a fulfilling childhood and productive life regardless of their gender, religion and age, health, cultural background.”

The National Child Protection Policy will provide a framework for action to prevent and respond to all forms of child abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. The Child Protection Policy will provide a guiding framework for the coordination, implementation, monitoring, reporting and oversight of all interventions in the area of child protection by both government and non-government actors

The Child Protection Policy will also encourage all stakeholders, including government, civil society, NGOs and churches to work together in a coordinated manner to achieve the shared goal of protecting children. READ MORE