Mauritius/Gender-based violence: National strategy under review
"Changing mindsets, with more people coming forward and breaking the silence, is essential in the fight against gender-based violence," pointed out Gender Equality Minister Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah at the sixth high-level committee on the elimination of gender-based violence this past weekend. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
The meeting reviewed the Mid-Term Review Report on the implementation of the recommendations of the National Strategy and Plan of Action of the High Level Committee for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence. The report was presented by the United Nations Development Programme's international consultant, Jason Meyer, whose services were retained to draw up the strategy to combat gender-based violence.
A high-level inter-ministerial committee on gender-based violence (GBV), chaired by the Prime Minister, was set up to tackle the scourge of GBV. The high-level committee formulated its national strategy and action plan for the elimination of gender-based violence in the Republic of Mauritius 2020-2024, which was launched in November 2020.
The high-level committee comprised Deputy Prime Minister Steven Obeegadoo, Deputy Prime Minister Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, Ministers Georges Pierre Lesjongard, Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, Mahen Seeruttun, Stephan Toussaint, Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah and Teeruthraj Hurdoyal. Various senior officials and stakeholders were also present.
The national strategy is being implemented at the level of four technical working groups with the following objectives: changing societal norms and beliefs that run counter to the principles of gender equality and equity; priority support services for survivors while holding perpetrators accountable; identifying and correcting discriminatory practices that perpetuate gender-based violence; and coordinated monitoring and evaluation.
In a statement at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare recalled that that the government has a zero-tolerance policy towards gender-based violence and all other forms of violence. She stressed that it is important "to evaluate the process of implementing the national strategy, namely thethe effectiveness of the strategy's implementation and the corrective measures needed to remedy any shortcomings".
Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah welcomed the fact that since last November, the number of actions carried out has risen from 56% to 64%. She mentioned the holding of various awareness campaigns in many contexts targeting various age groups, including schoolchildren, and the launch of the mobile app, Lespwar (Hope), "to ensure rapid response to cases of domestic violence".
However, the Minister for Gender Equality conceded that despite these positive figures, there were still many tasks ahead. She said that, as chair of the National Steering Committee on Gender-Based Violence, "it is essential to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, and to take the necessary measures to prevent gender-based violence. the implementation of the recommendations and to take into account the analysis made by the consultant during the presentation of the Mid-Term Report".
Ms. Koonjoo-Shah also believes that the collaboration of all stakeholders and partners "is crucial to achieving a successful outcome". She encouraged improved collaboration between stakeholders. She also reiterated her appeal to the population to report any form of violence. And she stressed that changing mentalities, with more people coming forward and breaking the silence, was "essential in the fight against gender-based violence".