UN must show commitment to UNSCR1325 and Pacific women, says leading Fijian activist

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, founding member of femLINKPACIFIC

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, founding member of femLINKPACIFIC

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls gained national prominence in Fiji by organising, through the National Council of Women, a daily prayer vigil when government leaders were held hostage for 56 days during the 2000 coup. Sharon is the founding member of femLINKPACIFIC: Media Initiatives for Women, and has been a member of the YWCA of Fiji since 1986.

In this interview, Bhagwan-Rolls shares her ideas on how the international women’s movement can support the women of Fiji and reflects on the importance of faith in addressing the current crisis.

There are many mixed reports in the international press about the freedom of Fijian media. What is the real story?

All media, including community media that includes femLINKPACIFIC is subject to the Public Emergency Regulation (2009) currently in place. The Ministry of Information, Communications and Archives have advised us that femLINKPACIFIC is also, as we expected, subject to the directives of issued to the mainstream media organisations under the Public Emergency Regulations 2009, which include:

  • that all media organisations should comply with the requirements under the regulations and refrains from broadcasting or publishing any news item that is negative in nature which undermines the Government
  • that for practical reasons the Permanent Secretary (Information) will be assigned to media outlets to work closely with the respective editors/publishers to ensure that all items for broadcast and publishing comply with the regulations.

Continue reading

Ruth Lechte, veteran activist, on crisis in Fiji

The World YWCA will feature several interview with Fijian women leaders on the current crisis in Fiji this week. We  will post the interviews on the blog as well.  The World YWCA has called for solidarity with the women and girls in Fiji as they face political instability. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and conflict calls for women’s full participation in peace building.  Read how women in Fiji feel the government and international community can contribute to peace in Fiji.

Ruth Lechter, Fijian activist and YWCA leader

In this interview, Ruth Lechte, National General Secretary of Fiji YWCA from 1962, South Pacific Regional Secretary from 1974, and World YWCA Secretary for Energy and Environment /Appropriate Technology from 1984-94, discusses the immediate issues facing women in Fiji and what the World YWCA needs to do next.

What are the most pressing issues now facing women and children in Fiji?

How long have you got?! The long answer is a description of how the major cultures work and the religions control people thus ensuring women have a second-class status.

Continue reading

A different world is possible, says Gumbonzanda on World YWCA Day

YWCAs around the world celebrate World YWCA Day on April 24. This year, associations in Australia and Kenya, Peru and India, and many other countries held events to commemorate the day. At the World YWCA office in Geneva, we had a spendid event with video, photos and interesting presentations from Mexico and Myanmar as well as on the upcoming World YWCA Council 2011.

Check out the photos on our  flickr page.

Watch Nyaradzai’s message below where she calls for a different world “where humanity is celebrated, where human dignity is a lived experience, everywhere, everyday.” ”

World YWCA celebrates life of inspirational woman leader Lynde Francis

Lynde Francis, HIV activist and founder of The Center, Zimbabwe.

Lynde Francis, HIV activist and founder of The Center, Zimbabwe.

Staff at the World YWCA join people around the world, especially people living with HIV as they celebrate the life of Lynde who died on March 31, 2009.

“Lynde will be sorely missed. She was so much to all of us and all we can do now is hold onto her great and powerful spirit and ensure that she lives on in all of us whose lives she transformed, ” said Sophie Dilmits, World YWCA HIV and AIDS Coordinator.

Lynde was fighting for her life for some time and the World YWCA stands in solidarity with Lynde’s family and friends to celebrate her life and all that she gave. The World YWCA is an organisation that honours women leaders and Lynde was one such woman.

Continue reading