Gender-Based Violence On UN Commission Agenda

NASSAU, The Bahamas — The 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women opened Monday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, U.S.A., with The Bahamas among one of 159 countries and national organisations scheduled to address the Session.

Minister of Social Services and Community Development Melanie S. Griffin, will bring remarks on behalf of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas early this week. Mrs. Griffin is accompanied to New York by Ms. Christine Campbell, Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs; Ms. Anita Turnquest, Assistant Director, Department of Social Services; Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, Consultant, Ministry of Social Services/Department of Social Services and Mrs. Patrice Johnson who has oversight of Women’s Affairs in Grand Bahama.

The Commission on the Status of Women (referred to as “CSW” or “the Commission”) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women.

Every year representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.

The Commission was established by ECOSOC Resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946 with the aim to prepare recommendations and reports to the Council on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. The Commission also makes recommendations to the Council on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.

Mrs. Griffin left The Bahamas over the weekend and is expected to remain in New York for the first week of the two-week Session. The Minister’s group includes eleven persons representing several local, non-governmental, organisations operating within The Bahamas. These include two representatives from the National Association of Women’s Association in The Bahamas; four representatives from the New Providence Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party; three representatives from the Bahamas Crisis Centre; two from civil society and individuals from New Providence and Grand Bahama.

“It is customary for, and in fact, the United Nations welcomes the attendance of non-governmental organisations to the Session,” Mrs. Griffin said. “The 11 persons accompanying us this year, marks the largest number of persons attending the Session in that capacity.

“I am pleased to report that all of the persons representing the non-governmental organisations have paid their own way,” Mrs. Griffin added.

Minister Griffin said the Session allows women and Ministers responsible for Women’s Affairs within the region and globally to “deal with issues that face women globally.”

“The CSW is one of the leading organisations with regards to the development and advancement of women internationally and is an opportunity for Ministers responsible for Women Affairs globally to come together to be able to caucus; to be able to have discussions; to have exchanges on all topics negatively affecting women.

“You will find that the issues that face Bahamian women are the same issues that face women all over the world to different degrees and so this gives us an opportunity to also share solutions,” Mrs. Griffin added.

Mrs. Griffin said gender-based violence will be the major focus of the 57th Session “because so many countries around the world are being impacted by that ugly scourge.”

“Each country will be allowed to speak for 3 to 3/12 minutes to explain what they are doing with regards to this issue and so the address has to be concise and on topic and I am really honoured and privileged to represent The Bahamas,” Mrs. Griffin added.

By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services

CAPTION: Minister of Social Services and Community Development Melanie S. Griffin (centre) is in New York attending the 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women which opened Monday at the U.N. Headquarters. Pictured (from left) are: Mr. Sidney Strachan of the Men’s Advocate Group, CARIMAN; Dr. Arnette Nagle, Clinical Psychologist, Bahamas Crisis Centre; Minister Griffin; Mrs. Barbara Burrows, Permanent secretary, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, and Ms. Lyn Symonette, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Social Services and Community Development. (BIS Photo/Raymond Bethel)