Thursday, March 08, 2007

Let us strive for a safe, stable and secured society for Women

The theme for International Women’s Day 2007 is “Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls”.

In Malaysia, although there are national legal and policy frameworks which have been established, covering many different forms of violence in public as well as in private settings, progress in the development of such legal norms, standards and policies has not been accompanied by comparable progress in their implementation. It remains insufficient and inconsistent in all parts of the world.

The Government has the obligation to protect women and girls from violence, to hold perpetrators accountable and to provide justice and remedies to victims. The failure to meet these obligations is unacceptable. When the Government fails to hold the perpetrators of violence accountable and society explicitly or tacitly condones such violence, impunity not only encourages further abuses but also gives the message that male violence against women is acceptable and normal. The result is the denial of justice to the individual victims/survivors, as well as the reinforcement of the prevailing gender inequality.

Eliminating violence against women remains one of the most serious and urgent challenges of our time. Every one has a responsibility to act when confronted with violence. Each one of us has a duty to support and sustain a political and social environment where violence against women and girls is not tolerated; where friends, family members, neighbors, men and women, intervene to prevent perpetrators to go unpunished.

In order to achieve this, women participation in the political arena is a vital factor. Although women nowadays are as capable as men in various fields of the society, the continued lacks of women participation in politics and decision making must be seen as a cause for concern for all Malaysians.

While politics concern almost on all aspects of lives, women shall play and shall be able to take a much influential position in the decision-making process.

Women in Malaysia do not only suffer from unequal pay but also dwindling security protection, occurrence of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in work places. Such worsening situation shall serve as a major cause for concern for women to be more actively participated in political reform to ensure the safety of women. Moreover, one cannot ignore the enormous economic contribution by women in this country that the economic performance of this country will be severely jeopardized if women’s rights are not upheld or looked into.

Only by encouraging more women to participate in politics and policy decision making process, then it would become more meaningful to talk about upholding rights of the women. If the rights of the women are not upheld, similarly there will be no uphold of basic human rights.

Let us strive for a safe, stable and secured society for Women in this country.
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