More training to deal with effects of violence against women
Stabroek News
June 23, 2002

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President Bharrat Jagdeo has said that government's commitment to establishing gender equity in Guyana was aimed at eliminating discrimination especially against women.

According to a Guyana Information Agency (GINA) release, the President renewed government's commitment to the fight against violence against women, saying that more emphasis will be placed on training persons to deal with the effects of violence.

Addressing delegates at the opening of the two-day Inter-American Commission on Women (CIM) Meeting of Experts of the Caribbean Sub-Region on Violence Against Women at Le Meridien Pegasus on Thursday, Jagdeo said that a number of pieces of legislation, including the Domestic Violence Act, were passed with the aim of creating a framework to deal with the issue locally.

Noting that the reformed constitution has made provision for the establishment of a Gender Equity Commission, which is yet to be established, the President said that government was pushing to have it established shortly.

Jagdeo charged delegates to avoid looking at the issue of violence against women in isolation. He said they should take into account the factors behind such behaviour and how they can affect women empowering themselves against domestic violence.

Noting that one factor which hindered women's empowerment was poverty, he urged that the issue be discussed within the context of society.

Speaking about the CIM work programme, its president, former Human Services and Social Security minister, Indra Chandarpal, said that CIM collaborated with a number of organisations to study and analyse the impact of the convention of the national programmes in the region.

The meeting, which attracted some 100 local and foreign delegates, was the final of four sub-regional meetings at which member states were analysing the progress made since the approval of the convention.

Chandarpal said that CIM commonly known as the Belem-Do-Para Convention came into being in 1995 when 31 of the 34 member states signed the Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women.

In brief remarks, CARICOM Deputy Secretary General, Dr Carla Barnett, stated that domestic violence continued to be the single most devastating barrier to women's full enjoyment of basic human rights and freedom.

Dr Barnett also believes that there is need for a fundamental change of behaviour and attitudes of women and men. GINA quoted her as saying that there was also need to sensitise the public that violence was an unacceptable means of settling differences, unacceptable means of entertainment and or as a means of power.

Recommendations coming out of the meeting are to be presented to the CIM Assembly of Delegates, scheduled for October in the Dominican Republic.