violence-vanuatu“I want to thank you Pastor Nos Terry Mailalong, President of Vanuatu Adventist Mission, with all your Directors, your Adventist men and women and your Adventist Youth for organising this very important programme of ‘Enditnow – Adventists say NO to violence against women and girls’.

“Often times we have other partners and stakeholders who come out to speak up concerning important programmes such as this one, but today I am very pleased with you as a church leader with our people to come out with this clear stand in support of the Government to protect our women and young girls against violence.

“I want to congratulate you for the significant step which you have taken and I wish to assure you that my Government recognises the contributions that the Seventh Day Adventist Church continues to make towards the developing of the country”.

Acting Director General of Justice, Pacco Siri has made the above statement on behalf of the Minister of Justice and Community Services, Ronald Warsal, at the end of the Parade against Violence Against Women and Children on the Sea Front Municipal Stage at midday befor yesterday.

The Acting DG says it is sad that statistics have confirmed that abuse against women and children in the home is on the rise. “They are the backbone in the home and the nation. However at the same time a research from our Vanuatu Women’s Centre has confirmed the following alarming statistics:-

• That three out of five women (60%) have experienced physical and or sexual violence;

• The two out of three women (68%) have experienced emotional violence;

• That two out of five women (42%) have experienced physical violence including assault by men after which they are sexually abused and

• That almost one out of three girls (30%) has been sexually abused before she turned 15”.

The Minister is concerned that the information does not project a positive image of the country. “In line with the country’s National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), the Government’s vision is to commit itself fully towards a society which consists of peace and justice where everyone is healthy to work to contribute towards the overall development of the country. Development means much more than a country which aims to get rich”, he says.

He also reminds the public about Melanesian values such as respect, harmony, unity and forgiveness. “The development of our country must be anchored by these values which hold our society together”, he continues.

“Family relationship is important to hold our generations together particularly the elderly and the vulnerable. At the same time the Government is determined to fulfill its core responsibility of protecting and enabling service delivery to the people”.

The Ministry of Justice is also responsible for the National Gender Equality Policy 2015-2019, to address the main social welfare and justice issues which continue to affect women and children and the vulnerable groups especially to reduce domestic and gender based violence.

Due to limited resources, the Government makes it an emphasis to build strong partnership with churches, civil societies, community based organisations, NGOs and private sector to help with their safety nets to support the Government by providing those basic services to the people. “But to ensure that we cater for everyone to live in peace and harmony in the home and community, we must end all forms of abuse of women and girls”, he adds.

Enditnow has become an example of the stand against abuse inside the home. “I understand this campaign is a global campaign since 2009 and the World Headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist Church has come together to work towards stopping violence and abuse against the family in the home”, the Acting DG continues.

“As the Minister of State I am saying thank you to you all for supporting the Government with this campaign and I encourage you Pastor President to continue to support my Ministry with this wonderful programme to address the needs of our people.

“I also take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you for supporting my Government with this campaign and I encourage you Pastor President to continue to support my Ministry with your positive programme to address the needs of our people. I take this opportunity too to express my gratitude to the Seventh Day Adventists Church for its important contributions in terms of its education and health programmes through its schools and clinics”.

While on the subjects of church contributions to the services provided by the Government, the Acting DG also appeals to other denominations to do likewise to address violence against the family.

To conclude, the Acting DG says there cannot be any development without peace.

Vanuatu he reiterates, is founded on Melanesian Values such as respect, harmony, unity and forgiveness all of which must exist in individual homes throughout the country.

“Development in our country must anchor on those values which we hold dear to keep our society intact”, he stresses.

“Starting today, I am asking us all to make our commitment by saying, ‘No to violence against women, girls and family members inside the home, community and our nation!”.

The writing on the sumptuous chocolate cake speaks for itself, “End it now, Adventists say NO to violence”.

When church and state stand together for a common goal then there is no reason to believe it cannot be achieved because it is stated clearly in the Preamble of the Constitution that the country is built on faith in God and Christian Principles.

A solid partnership between the Vanuatu Seventh Day Adventist Mission, Police, Women’s Centre Against Violence, Port Vila Municipality and the Government has paraded in an approximately 400 strong solidarity against violence against women and children in this day and age.

Speaking for ADRA Vanuatu, Rotina Ilo Noka says the Vanuatu Mission woke up to the challenge and embraced the “Enditnow” Programme in 2009 when it became obvious that the challenge involving violence against women and children was also attacking the foundation of the churches of the Vanuatu Mission as well as other Christian denominations.

“For this reason, all SDA church leaders round the world have made it their duty to speak out every month of November against abuse of all kinds in the home and society”, she says.

“I trust as you listen to the speeches on this day as an Adventist or a member of any other Christian church, that you will join hands to protect your families against this global disease”.