The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean states (OECS) hosted its second round-table and validation conference on evaluating national initiatives and producing comparative data on violence against women for the OECS states here in St Lucia on September 23.
Minister of Human Services Alvina Reynolds said it is critical to have men involved when looking at gender balance.
“We are looking at gender balance, and balance in any forum is compromising someone’s human rights, so we are looking at how we could deal with the issue as a society, a country and a region, both men and women working together to find solutions,” she added.
Reynolds explained that with having both genders present, issues contributing to gender-based violence can be addressed and adequate measures can be put in place to deal with the problem.
“Men’s involvement we cannot underestimate that… this is a powerful move to involve men especially in the solution. We always, as a ministry and as a department, start the process with prevention. What is it we need to do to prevent domestic violence?…. We need to hear from the men,” the minister explained.
Project Coordinator, Specialist for the Caribbean, and OAS Yasmin Solitahe Odlum, said the main objective of the forum was to deal with the sexual violence perpetrated against young girls, young men, and reported cases of incest.
Odlum said during the two-day conference, information were presented to stakeholders in St. Lucia that were garnered from other OECS states, as it relates to sexual violence and domestic violence, predominantly of women and girls.
“So we in many ways are producing a diagnostic, a base study, so stakeholders in the region could have an idea of what they have done, what they may need to do, and how do we find a tool to measure how effective what they have done, has been,” she added.
September 23-24 conference, held at the Bay Gardens Hotel in Rodney Bay, follows the first OECS Round-table discussion that was held at the Organisation of American States (OAS) Headquarters on September 30, 2011 in Washington, DC.
The conference was convened to develop strategies for addressing violence against women in the OECS member states and to promote the follow-up mechanisms to the convention of Belem do Para.