Members of the Pacific Island Forum were asked to pledge to "eradicate sexual and gender based violence" within the Pacific Island region as part of Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women Campaign. However the leader's have done little to address this issue, and a serious lack of progress was evident at the Pacific Island Forum leader's meeting held on the 5th of August. The statement made by leaders on violence against women was described as "lip service to eradicating gender violence" by Pacific researcher Apolosi Bose. It outlined no specific steps or new policy designed to eradicate gender violence.
Bose argued at an AI event that "No Pacific Island government will achieve the Millennium Development Goals or the aims of the Pacific Plan if it does not take responsibility for the violence being committed against its own female citizens. Solving this problem is at the heart of social and economic advancement in the Pacific Region."
Previous action within the campaign has called on the Papua New Guinean Government to end violence against women, and similar pressure is being placed on other Pacific region governments. Here rates of violence against women are amongst the highest in the world. We must continue to urge governments to address these shocking figures.
Some progress has been made, with the Solomon Islands introducing a policy which addresses gender equality and gender violence. The recent appearance of Papua New Guinea before the UN committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for the first time also brings hope.
However, much more action needs to be taken and the efforts of the Pacific Islands Forum's leaders are not encouraging. To take further action and to urge pacific leaders to commit to action please visit http://www.amnesty.org.au/svaw/