Sex party Cook Islands

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He said the Cook Islands had informed the United Nations Secretary-General last week that it would eliminate its general reservations on recruiting women into active armed service, a reservation on articles 2 f and 5 a that banned women from inheriting chiefly titles and a reservation on article 11 2 b concerning maternity leave. The Cook Island had acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in September and was considering acceding to its Optional Protocol in the next few weeks, he said.

Preparation of the initial report to the Committee had been a very public, participatory process. While Sex party Cook Islands those steps, Committee experts took aim at entrenched gender stereotypes, stressing that, while customs and traditions must be respected, they could not justify gender-based discrimination. Women were still underrepresented in decision-making, in Parliament and in economic life.

They inherited only swamplands, while men inherited the productive land. Women were socialized to accept violence, they charged, stressing that marital rape must be criminalized and better protections against domestic violence put into place. Their connection to the land, for example, was similar to an umbilical cord. Turning to domestic violence, he said reforms had ensured that national legislation was consistent with the Convention, and the police had set up a new domestic violence unit to train front-line officers.

Over the years, the Government had worked with visiting health experts to deal with and prevent such crimes. Protection orders were available and the courts granted custodial protection orders for abused mothers, which allowed them to be placed under the care of close friends or relatives. He said that, overall, the Government must step up its efforts to eliminate discrimination against women and ensure that domestic laws -— particularly those concerning safety and security, labour and employment protection, equality in marriage and family life, and vulnerable women and girls -- were consistent with the Convention.

At the attainment of self-government ina woman had been appointed Speaker of Parliament, holding the post for nearly two decades. A woman had also held the position of Deputy Speaker, while one Cabinet Minister and three Members of Parliament had also been women. Today Sex party Cook Islands woman held the title of Paramount Chief -- the highest in the order of customary titles. Women had also seen their increase in the ranks of lawyers, ants and business owners. Many women became pregnant at an early age and were expected to be responsible for all domestic duties.

It was taboo for women to serve as church clergy. He said the main challenges facing the Cook Islands in ensuring compliance with the Convention was their isolation, the high cost of travel and communications, and the difficulty of convincing men to accept the need for gender equality so as to achieve the national development aspirations. However, that same year had seen the country experience its worst economic recession, he said. As a consequence, the promising upsurge in interest in the Convention had waned in the following two years, and many people had left for better opportunities abroad.

Cooperation had strengthened between the National Council of Women and the Cook Islands Government, which had worked together since to organize the biennial National Conference on Women. He went on to say that, last week, the Cook Islands had informed the United Nations Secretary-General of its decision to withdraw its three reservations to the Convention, as follows: general reservations on the recruitment of women into active service in the armed services; a reservation on articles 2 f and 5 a with respect to inheritance of chiefly titles; and a reservation on article 11 2 b relating to maternity leave protection.

Sex party Cook Islands

At present, women served in the armed services, in the police force and in peace missions. The Cabinet had approved a Government undertaking to provide for maternity leave as part of the labour legislative reform package.

Sex party Cook Islands

Women had enjoyed the right to vote and stand for election to Parliament since self-government in The Convention had been translated into the Maori language in and was widely disseminated. The Cooks Islands had attained some of the Millennium Development Goals such as free universal primary education, high literacy and low child and maternal mortality rates. This year, the country had appointed its first woman High Court Judge, he said. Several women justices of the peace presided over land ownership disputes or took pleadings in criminal matters. That would facilitate Convention-related legislative reforms that had already been identified through a study undertaken two years ago.

The Government was considering acceding to the Optional Protocol in the next few weeks. Priority must be given to reform laws related to safety and security, labour and employment protection, equality in marriage and family life, protection from discrimination and protection of vulnerable women and girls such as women with disabilities, migrant women and rural women.

Questions were also asked about the preparation of the initial report. She asked about the time frame for the reforms, reiterating the need to reflect the concepts of both direct and indirect discrimination, and to incorporate the Convention into domestic laws so it could be invoked by the courts.

She also sought information about the budgets allocated to the national institutions for the advancement of women. Despite its good intentions, however, it faced many difficult challenges, including new legislation on maternity leave, and the introduction of legal provisions on sexual harassment. What was the relationship between Parliament and the traditional House Sex party Cook Islands Ariki. It was important to incorporate the Convention into the national legal system and deciding how to do that would be an important challenge for the Government.

It was also important to achieve compatibility between domestic laws and the Convention, and the withdrawal of the reservations was very ificant in that regard. Revising laws that had already been assessed as incompatible with the Convention should be a priority for the Government.

The Constitution should incorporate the principle of equality between women and men. Afterwards, a decision had been made to establish the Law Commission to review legislation. The idea was that the Law Commission would come up with recommendations that would allow the incorporation of the Convention into domestic laws. The work plan for law reform had already been established, and it was envisioned that non-controversial revisions and high-priority issues would be tackled first. However, amendments to some entrenched provisions Sex party Cook Islands difficult to repeal, unless supported by a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

In fact, it was not just the revision of laws -- wholesale changes were taking place, he said. Everybody had access to legal aid, he continued. In societies like the Cook Islands, lawyers often helped numerous members of their extended families, thus it was not difficult for any woman to obtain a lawyer. The involvement of women in court cases usually had to do with land ownership and inheritance issues.

He said there had been cuts in the budget and a restructuring of the Government to ensure fair distribution of resources, he said. The staff of one department could be seconded for priority activities in other government units. However, the statistics department collected data on people entering and leaving the country, and on activities related to tourism and marine resources, for example.

One encouraging factor was that young people increasingly took up technical and statistical sciences at university level. He went on to say the country had finalized its draft labour bill, which the private sector had found difficult to cope with.

However, advocates for the workforce had pressed for it. The House of Ariki was more of a ceremonial house in acknowledgement of the traditional importance of chiefs, whose advice imposed no obligations on the Government, but was taken into. Parliament would go through the tabling of the bill, and the role of the opposition would be to debate and provide changes.

What mechanism was in charge of ensuring gender mainstreaming? Was the cooperation between the Gender and Development Division and the National Council of Women a formal arrangement? Decisions on gender, migrant workers or other issues requiring a definite policy direction and action plan for implementation must be made by the Cabinet. Regarding financial resources, the national sustainable development plan was a government effort involving various agencies. Conditions demanded by donor countries required the Cook Islands to come up with substantial, achievable plans.

Sex party Cook Islands

The Gender and Development Division and the National Council of Women had an ad hoc relationship, rather than a formal one. On special temporary measures, he said Cook Islands women traditionally did not like to be patronized and preferred to stand on their own feet. There was a local saying to the effect that, in most public occasions, the men were the speechmakers, but the women were the real decision-makers. Indeed, an initiative on women in science and technology had been put into place with the participation of policewomen and female doctors.

Some boys had expressed interest in traditionally female occupations such as Sex party Cook Islands and hairdressing. He confirmed the existence of a Cook Islands Development Board, and said the Government had discussed protection measures for migrant women and those living in the outer islands. While it was important to respect customs and traditions, it was also important to avoid using them as a justification for discrimination. It was clear from the report that customs and traditions could evolve. For example, the document stated that the role of men and women had changed following the arrival of the missionaries on the Islands.

Inadequate legal aid was also a factor, given the absence of a law on marital rape, which was not recognized as a crime. Did the Government have any plans to introduce laws on sexual harassment and domestic violence? What victim-protection mechanisms were in place? Were there any gender training programmes for law enforcement agents?

Sex party Cook Islands

More was required to remove stereotypes, since they would not disappear overnight. Some stereotypes had ly been protected by the reservation to the Convention on access to land. Only women work in the taro patches, with the assistance of men who cut and cart the leaves required for covering the swamps. Land to build houses and grow coconuts is inherited through the father. It seemed the Government now had plans to ensure better protection against, and ability for, domestic violence, but it was important to take further steps.

The definition of rape should be widened to make marital rape an offence, and it was important to collect data on the incidence of violence. She also asked about protection orders and additional measures envisioned for the protection of victims of violence.

The questions themselves had touched on areas which Cook Islanders regarded as sensitive. Culture and tradition had always been seen as a justification of identity -— about making a distinct statement. The shaping of a Cook Islander was a complex issue.

Sex party Cook Islands

As for whether women really made decisions, he said they did indeed, and in a very adamant way. Some women made decisions on the distribution of goods and others made decisions that ed families during crises. The Government had explored several legislative solutions, including a court challenge, he said, describing a case in New Zealand involving a murderer, who had claimed in his defence that he had been provoked two years earlier.

Sex party Cook Islands

The case had been used to justify the presence of anger over the two-year period, an example of deeply seated values in certain traditions. The question of identifying the values that perpetuated negative stereotypes about women, however, remained. On the question of women working in swamps, he said he was repulsed that the practice existed on a particular island, which was not the case on his own. Indeed, the Government could take action to help eliminate such stereotypes.

Regarding campaigns to change negative stereotypes and their implications, he said the education system was aligned with that of New Zealand, and textbooks contain no stereotypical depictions. Teachers took part in human development courses, which examined barriers to learning and social structures that perpetuated discriminatory practices.

However, more training was needed to fully eliminate stereotypes. Turning to domestic violence, he said the legislative reform process had been put in place to ensure that national legislation was consistent with the Convention.

Sex party Cook Islands

A recent review of the police on Rarotonga determined that the force, which had claimed to be unable to investigate domestic violence cases because of underfunding, was not living up to expectations. There was training for judiciary and law-enforcement officials and a new domestic violence unit had been established in the police to train frontline officers. The Government had provided incentives for education and jobs, built infrastructure, and even brought Asian doctors to serve their internships in the Islands and to prevent people from leaving.

Turning back to crime, he said that between July and Junethe Islands had experienced domestic violence cases; 54 assaults on a female; 12 sexually based crimes, and nine cases of rape. Between July and Junethe of domestic violence cases had dropped towhile rape cases had increased to Both those figures had decreased in the period.

Sex party Cook Islands

email: [email protected] - phone:(473) 829-7645 x 7048

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