| Izah Azahari |
A LUNCHEON reception to mark the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, was hosted yesterday at the residence of the Acting High Commissioner of the Australian High Commission to Brunei Darussalam in Anggerek Desa, Berakas.
The Acting High Commissioner, Selina Cho, welcomed guests comprising Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; Pg Datin Paduka Hajah Mariam binti Pg Haji Matarsat, the President of Brunei Darussalam’s Women’s Council; Hajah Mordiah binti Haji Jackia, Brunei Commissioner of Women, Asean Commission of the Promotion and Protection of Women and Children; as well as representatives from the Women and Children’s Unit of Royal Brunei Police Force; representatives from the International Organisations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; all of whom work to advance the rights and protection of women in Brunei.
The Acting High Commissioner noted in her opening remarks, that globally, more than one in every three women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some way, most often by someone she knows, which can include her husband or another male family member.
It is everyone’s responsibility – male or female – to address this pervasive issue and to protect those in our society who are the most vulnerable. The small gathering had a wide range of conversation regarding the activities of the various bodies represented.
The Australian High Commission looks forward to further build on the relationships established and will continue to work with Brunei to advance and promote the rights of women and girls internationally.
Following a brief introductory remarks by Selina Cho, the guests watched a message from the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott-Despoja, before discussing the range of initiatives underway in Australia and Brunei to ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable women and girls.
The purpose of the gathering and lunch yesterday was to share and discuss the challenges presented by violence against women and children at home and abroad, to promote the importance of addressing these challenges, and to build closer ties between the Australian Government and those organisations represented.
There is zero tolerance for violence against women both in Australia and internationally. It is a significant human rights violation which severely limits women’s social, economic and political participation where it is a burden on national economies, with increased spending required for health care, social services, policing and the justice system.
Violence against women is pervasive internationally, at all layers of society and across all continents.
Australia is committed to supporting and partnering with other countries to end violence against women, through programmes that focus on prevention and ensure survivors have access to support services and justice. It is only by working together – with men and women – that this crushing social issue can be addressed.
The video message that the attendees watched from Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott-Despoja can be found on http://youtu.be/QoxfFx_08A8?list=PL10121AA92340E9BD or on the Australian High Commission’s Facebook page (Australia in Brunei Darussalam).