Castries, Saint Lucia, November 25th 2015 – Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Gale Rigobert in reflecting on today’s observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as designated by The United Nations General Assembly, says that “today is a day for critical introspection”. She says that the pervasiveness of violence against women and girls in our society is cause for deep concern. The rise in the number of reported cases of violence against women and girls, whether it is rape, sexual or physical assault, psychological abuse, domestic abuse or whatever form in which abuse of our women and girls manifests; we need to make a greater concerted effort to weed out that scourge”.
For Dr. Rigobert, “While the sensationalism surrounding the gruesome physical attacks on women captivate our attention and jolts us, we must not lose sight of other forms of violence against women, including forms of discrimination”. According to the 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993), women are entitled to the equal enjoyment and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. These rights include: The right to life; The right to equality; The right to liberty and security of person; The right to equal protection under the law; The right to be free from all forms of discrimination; The right to the highest standard attainable of physical and mental health; The right to just and favourable conditions of work; The right not to be subjected to torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
According to the United Nations violence against women is, “any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”. Dr. Rigobert calls on all to ponder on the overarching effects of violence against women as these acts against women affect their economic, social, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Dr. Rigobert hopes that the various activities planned to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, will continue to raise awareness and trigger action to end the global scourge of violence against women and girls.
Dr. Rigobert asserts that “Observing and upholding the rights of women are essential components of any social and economic development agenda”. She calls for a new holistic thrust in the promotion of the rights of women so as to thwart what appears to be the wanton disregard for the overall wellbeing of our women and the violation of their rights.