UN Resident Coordinator keynote address at Preach to end violence against Women and girls workshop at FAO conference roomSep 16, 2015
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Llewellyn Hedgbet
Representatives from churches and faith-based agencies
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Preach to End Violence Against Women and Girls in Samoa workshop this morning. I want to first congratulate my UN colleagues and the Samoa National Council of Churches for the successful completion of the 1st workshop in July that identified biblical messages which promoted the Christian values of “Healthy Family Relationships”, “Respect for Women” and “Peace and Non-Violence”. In this second workshop, I trust that you will have meaningful discussions and be able to unanimously agree on the final verses to be included in a visual aid.
As the UN Resident Coordinator system in Samoa, I am pleased to note that the United Nations has been able to address the gender related violence issues with church leaders and faith-based agencies in Samoa. The United Nations has a key responsibility to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through all our actions and I am aware of the urgency of addressing these issues in Samoa.
According to the recently launched Human Rights Report for Samoa 2015, 46.4% of women surveyed aged between 15 and 49 are victims of one or more acts of physical, emotional and sexual violence by an intimate partner. The report shows that the issue is very serious and needs urgent actions to end the violence against women and girls in Samoa.
There are several approaches to address in which Samoa can address his issue, however, I believe that having the support and active involvement of churches and faith-based agencies, there is a greater chance of success in reducing and ending the acts of violence against women and girls in Samoa. I would also like to acknowledge the considerable time and effort churches and faith-based organisations have already contributed towards the betterment of people and the community in Samoa.
The United Nations is dedicated to increase gender equality and the reduction of violence against women and girls. These issues are a common mandate amongst all our UN families and we will continue to address these issues to ensure the equality, dignity and right of women and girls to a more just and equal society and a life without violence.
Thank you and Soifua.