“No more room for excuses” - P.M. Tuilaepa
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says there is no more room for excuses when it comes to efforts to address domestic violence.
Tuilaepa made the comment during the Samoa launch of the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative on Tuesday. Held at Taumeasina Island Resort, the $148 million tala project aims to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Tuilaepa made reference to two studies carried out on Family Safety and Family Violence by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development the Ombudsman’s Office which reported high prevalence of violence in the family and in particular against women and children.
“The Family violence report by the NHRI was the first of its kind for Samoa and the Pacific Region. The report put a “spotlight” on gender-based violence through its wide consultation process, which included village consultations, public and closed hearings and written submissions,” he said.
“The sad and alarming findings leave no more room for excuses. It is time to focus on action. That is why this Spotlight event and initiative is timely. It should help continue to lift the veil of silence hiding the realities of family violence and keep the spotlight on Gender based violence.”
Tuilaepa again called upon political leaders, traditional and religious leaders, fathers, and families to step up.
“Enough is enough!” he said. “Gender-based violence violates the core principles and values of fa’aaloalo (courtesy), va tapuia (respect), and alofa (love) among others, which are the essence of our Faasamoa and Faith.”
“For Samoa, we need a whole of country approach to address the issue with more proactive leadership by us the Government, village councils and church leaders; and strong partnerships with all relevant stakeholders and listening to the voices of the survivors.”
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the work done by the European Union, United Nations, development partners and civil society organizations to address the issue.
“I congratulate and commend the EU and the UN for this significant programme that will support countries around the world, including our Pacific nations, to further reinforce existing measures and interventions to end all forms of violence against women and girls.”
“Samoa reaffirms its commitment to the promotion efforts to address discrimination against women.”
“The socio-economic wellbeing of our people remains at the core of Samoa’s development initiatives. We continue to strive towards equality and inclusion, to ensure that all Samoans particularly our women and girls, children and persons with disabilities, benefit equitably from economic and social progress.”
“We also continue to commit efforts to combating all forms of violence against women and children by promoting safe families and communities.”
“The success of the Spotlight Initiative in the Pacific depends on our commitment as leaders, the support of our partners and the engagement of our communities. As leaders of the Pacific, the change must always begin with us.”