Joint Statement - Women's Rights Foundation and Men Against Violence, November 26, 2015
Yesterday marked the international day on the elimination of violence against women and girls, but sadly we had to witness country representatives condoning violence against women, tolerate it, permit it and worst of all, politicised it.
For a country that put itself at the forefront on the international efforts for gender liberation, gender equality and inclusion, it is clear that violence in the society is taking a backseat. Today we have a situation where, on paper, nationally, we are attempting to comply with international instruments, yet in practice this is not the case nor is it being given the priority it merits.
Malta has ratified the Convention against the elimination of violence against women and domestic violence by an act of parliament in 2014, yet a year later, this convention has not been clearly implemented into our laws and also the very spirit of the convention seems to be completely ignored.
As a legally binding instrument, Malta has bound itself to ensure there is a zero tolerance of violence against women and girls through prevention, protection and support, prosecution and integrated policies. Article 5 of the Convention, specifically states that “State authorities, officials, agents, institution and other actors acting on behalf of the State act in conformity with this obligation”. It further states that the necessary due diligence be exercised in order to prevent and punish, amongst others, acts of violence.
And yet we currently have a situation where public threats of violence were not only tolerated but are also permitted, condoned and defended by the ones that should, if nothing else, lead by example.
Unfortunately, recent events serve to show that we can change as many laws as we like, but the true change will not happen until the state with all social partners take solid and consistent approach in changing the culture that gives rise to these incidents, through educational campaign and by leading by example and exercising no ifs no buts, zero tolerance approach.
It is time that we sit back and reflect where we, as a nation that has accomplished much internationally, actually stand. It is time for reflection as to who we are, who we are becoming and who we have become and let us stand up to our legal and moral obligations.
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