The United Nations Secretary General’s UNITE to End Violence Against Women was recently launched in the Caribbean with the convening of a conference on the theme: “Strengthening Accountability and Changing Culture to End Violence against Women.”
The conference, which was held in Barbados explored the causes, consequences and response to gender-based violence in the Caribbean and seek to identify the legal and policy reforms needed to prevent and punish such violence.
One of the intended outcomes was an agreement on the needed actions to strengthen the legal response for the purpose of justice, protection and prevention.
United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Michelle Gyles-McDonnough explained that the U.N. Secretary General’s UNITE campaign, which was launched in 2008, is a multi-year campaign intended to raise public awareness and to increase political will and resources for preventing and responding to violence against women and girls.
She stressed that the problem of violence against women is a very critical issue for the Caribbean.
Attorneys general, members of the judiciary, senior representatives of regional police forces as well as stakeholders from civil society and organizations attended the conference.
Over the two days of the conference, participants examined the current legal framework to identify the gaps that need to be addressed and the aspects of the law that need to be strengthened.