16 Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

St Helena started the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with a ‘White Walk’ on Saturday 25 November, White Ribbon Day.

Leading the parade was Detective Sergeant Andre Bak, accompanied by His Excellency Governor Phillips and Mrs Phillips, Chief Minister Julie Thomas, Minister Mark Brooks, Elected Members, Health and Social Care Portfolio Director Tracy Poole-Nandy, Chief of Police David Price, SHG employees and the wider community.

Generous donations of £80.00 and £24.56 for white ribbons were made, which helped to support the campaign. These donations will be deposited into the Women Issues St Helena (WISH) charity account and banked for use with future campaigns.

The White Ribbon Working Group extend their thanks and appreciation to everyone who supported the White Ribbon Campaign 2023. Approximately 1,000 white ribbons were distributed and worn to show support and 52 people signed the promise to ‘Stand Up and Speak Out’ against domestic abuse.

Councillor Robert Midwinter returned to the island on Tuesday 28 November, after participating in a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) workshop on Strengthening Parliamentary Action to Address Gender-Based Violence and Modern Slavery in Supply Chains. This workshop, a joint initiative between the CPA UK, the Parliament of Kenya, and the Kenya Women’s Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA), was held in Nairobi, Kenya. It attracted approximately 50 Parliamentarians from 12 jurisdictions across the Commonwealth. Regional areas represented included Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe (including the UK Parliament) and UK Overseas Territories.

Councillor Midwinter is the Chair of Select Committee 1 (SC1), and the function of the Select Committees is statutory. Their primary function is to objectively scrutinise decisions, policies and activities of the St Helena Government. In particular SC1 is responsible for the review and scrutiny of the Health and Social Care portfolio, and Councillor Midwinter was therefore keen to work with peers from across the Commonwealth to understand how issues relating to gender-based violence are addressed in other jurisdictions, in order to better enable sensitive scrutiny of legislation, policy and practices relating to Social Care Services in St Helena.

In referring to the workshop upon his return, Councillor Midwinter said:

“I wish to place on record my own gratitude for the very warm welcome that I received during my recent visit. In particular, I wish to thank the staff of the Parliament of Kenya, and Kenya Women’s Parliamentary Association or KEWOPA, and also the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, for hosting a very enlightening and rewarding workshop. I am extremely grateful and feel very privileged to have been invited to attend and represent the St Helena Legislative Council at this important Parliamentary gathering, which preceded White Ribbon Day and the subsequent 16 days of activism and awareness raising towards addressing Gender-based Violence, leading up to International Human Rights day on 10 December.”

“Whilst I will not pre-empt my formal report, I would note that the issues of Gender-based Violence, particularly towards women and young girls, and also Modern Day Slavery in Supply Chains are most certainly relevant to our small jurisdiction, and I fully intend on following up on a number of the commitments that I personally made during the workshop. As the Chair of Select Committee 1, I found the interactive session on sensitive scrutiny of particular interest.”

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Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh