| Siti Hajar |
THE Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has once again voiced its commitment to promoting equality among its population whilst ensuring that the rights of women in the country are preserved and, more importantly, respected.
During the 59th Session of the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which was held recently in Geneva, Swit-zerland, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina binti Othman, emphasised that as a signatory to the CEDAW objective, Brunei will continue its commitment towards developing its female human re-source in tandem with their male counterparts.
“The nation’s continuous work in providing women with opportunities in various aspects of local development has enabled them to compete alongside men in a number of areas, including in education and health as well as the economy,” she said, while addressing other members of the UN.
“Positive contributions made by women in the country’s growth are also taken into consideration in the processes of the Sultanate’s strategic national as well as international mission and vision by way of harnessing the potential of the female demographic,” added the deputy minister.
Apart from the already existing laws that protect the rights of women in Brunei (in both the forms of Syariah Law and Civil Law), she further explained that the government has already implemented a number of other measures to further elevate the status of women in the country.
This includes several Action Plans initiated by the National Council for Social Issues, including plans for the family institution and women, poverty alleviation, as well as senior citizens and special needs individuals.
All of the action plans focus on these main areas – the law, economy, healthcare, research and information, family institution, work-life balance and the national mechanism for women empowerment.
The achievements of these individual goals, elaborated Datin Paduka Hjh Adina, are monitored through various projects and programmes with deliverable milestones based on Key Performance Indicators that have, thus far, aided in the development of women as the country steadily approaches Vision 2035 (Wawasan 2035) with agendas that include the creation of conducive environments that promote individual and collective growth among all walks of life.
At the meeting, it was also explained in a press release that 23 members of the CEDAW Committee of various nationalities had posed a number of questions based on Brunei’s Combined Initial and Second Report submission last April as well as sources from the UN institutions, National Basic Human Rights institutions and non-govern-ment organisations.
The Bruneian delegation was represented by a number of government officials from across various ministries, including from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT), Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA), as well as a number of enforce-ment departments along with the Brunei Darussalan Wo-men’s Council.