Government of Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith Media Release 25 November 2008
Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Status of Women, today released the report, ‘Violence Against Women in Melanesia and East Timor’.
The report, by AusAID’s Office of Development Effectiveness, reveals that women in the Asia-Pacific region are victims of high levels of domestic and sexual violence.
The report provides a framework to address violence against women by increasing women’s access to justice and support services and changing attitudes and practices that encourage and condone violence.
Foreign Minister Smith said, “Violence against women is a serious human rights issue, causing trauma to women, their families and their communities across the region. It also poses significant development challenges.”
Minister Plibersek said Australia is taking a leadership role in the region, having now completed almost all of the necessary steps to accede to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
“Acceding to the Optional Protocol will send a strong message that Australia is serious about promoting gender equality and that we are prepared to be judged by international standards,” Ms Plibersek said.
“It will also add credibility to our offers of support to women across the region – such as those suffering high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in East Timor and Melanesia.”
The report demonstrates Australia commitment to assisting our neighbours reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including gender equality.
The Australian Government will use the report to effectively build partnerships with local and regional stakeholders to address violence against women.
Copies of the report can be found at http://www.ode.ausaid.gov.au
[or here http://www.ode.ausaid.gov.au/news/news08.html ]