Members of the Parliament recommend to adopt an approach to systematically assess the impacts of laws and policies on women and men, including on persons with disabilities.
On Friday 19 August 2016, a briefing session was held with the Members of Parliament (MPs) to reflect on strategic actions to progress gender equality and the rights of persons with disability through their functions.
Mainstreaming gender across parliament functions will help MPs to make better decisions because it puts people, our citizens, at the forefront of all decisions. Although significant progress has been made in education, access to healthcare services and employment, there is still some way to go to address one of the most challenging issues women still face today, violence in the home. Findings from the 2014 Family Health and Safety Survey report that: 1 out of 3 women who have been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
“As Parliamentarians we can play a significant role to support this process through our functions of oversight, making and changing laws, approving budget and debating important issues and ensure a gender-sensitive parliament,” stated Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Albert Nicholas.
“We have done a lot so far to progress gender equality. We sometimes forget that women and men may have different concerns and priorities, and this is our responsibility to make sure that everybody should be able to fulfil their aspirations and contribute to the development of our Nation.”
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Teariki Heather stated “As duty bearers, it is our responsibility to ensure that the human rights of persons with disabilities in the Cook Islands continue to be promoted, protected and respected and their issues are mainstreamed in our nation’s legislation, regulations and policies. ‘Nothing about them without them’ reminds us that they are rights holders therefore they are one of us and are Cook Islanders.”
The briefing session with MPs was a joint initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Parliamentary Services of the Cook Islands and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) facilitated by Brigitte Leduc, Gender Equality Adviser at the Pacific Community (SPC) and assisted by Ruth Pokura and Nooroa Numanga from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.