The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) supports the findings of the Scoping Study undertaken into the potential for using a Pacific Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) tool in the context of PACER Plus.
“We support the idea of a HRIA and welcome the Scoping Study’s findings to the PACER Plus, especially the recommendation that gender be central to any analysis,” said Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Executive Director Virisila Buadromo.
Gender analysis provides an understanding of the differences and magnitude of differences in women and men’s lived experiences and is therefore fundamental to measuring and forecasting the realisation of clearly defined rights.
According to Buadromo, trade policy impacts women and men in very different ways because they are differently integrated into formal and informal economies, social and political life.
FWRM shares similar sentiments with the Republic of Marshall Island’s Amatlain Kabua who recently said that although the Marshall Islands is still some way from striking any free trade deals, when it does, human rights will need to be protected.
Women and men also have different needs for, and ability to access public services such as health and education, which may also be impacted by changes in trade policy. Understanding these differences is important for targeted, effective and efficient policy making. Thus gender analysis is key to understanding trade policy impacts, including the right to health. In the Pacific, gender inequality is a key barrier to development that is recognised in the Pacific Plan, national-level development plans, donor analysis and in government commitments to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Millennium Development Goals.
FWRM believes that the HRIA is an important mechanism to inform and shape the trade negotiation process of PACER-Plus, especially as it takes human rights based approach to the negotiation process.
Taking this approach to trade negotiation supports trade and economic policy being in line with all other government objectives, rather than trade policies being put into place at the expense of development objectives.
A HRIA on PACER Plus that focuses on health also necessarily highlights violence against women, which is not only a key development and health issue, but also the number one issue facing women in the Pacific.
The Scoping Study was conducted by the International Women’s Development Agency and La Trobe University. It was presented in Suva recently with initial presentations done in Sydney and Melbourne.
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