Enquiry into violence in Samoa – Churches must be involved

Samoa’s Ombudsman,Maiava Iulia Toma has announced there will be a national enquiry into violence in Samoa.

He said village councils and the churches have to be brought into the act and an enquiry would help expose weaknesses in the system.

Toma was speaking at  a major gathering for Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers in Apia.

“We need to do this to address the impact of things on present victims, we need also to address the high tolerance of violence generally in Samoa, in Samoan life, that seems to roll on and on from generation to generation.

The Ombudsman says the enquiry’s scope and focus will be worked out soon so it can start early next year.

The enquiry will involve public hearings around the country.

Toma said there is a need to be mindful of not putting survivors of violence in any more danger if they decide to come forward and tell us their stories.

Last year Samoa’s Council of Churches worked with UNESCO and UN Women on a brochure detailing 16 ways to end violence against women, using biblical text.

The recently launched report on the state of human rights in Samoa revealed 46 percent of women, from ages of 15 to 49, have experienced some form of gender based violence.

This includes physical, mental and verbal abuse.

The Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland has warned the world’s development goals won’t be achieved unless there’s attention to violence against women and girls.

In her keynote address at a Commonwealth gathering of women leaders in Apia she said eradicating the scourge should be a focus for action.

Source

News category: Asia Pacific.

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