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Stop the bias

Shameem: Comprehensive training will assist judges, magistrates to eliminate or minimise male bias

A PACIFIC-WIDE robust policy was necessary to eliminate or minimise not only gender prejudice but all forms of biasness and hate crimes, so says constitutional and human rights lawyer Shaista Shameem in response to a recent report on judicial sentencing in the Pacific.

The report on judicial sentencing practices of SGBV, including sexual assault and domestic violence cases by the International Center for Advocacy Against Discrimination (ICAAD) established the role of gender discrimination in sentence reductions in more than 50% of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

Shameem, a former Director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission says gender violence, violence against children and violence of a sexual nature must be dealt with in a more sustainable way, or else reports such as the one produced will “make us merely wring our hands in despair and not do much else but lament.”

She points out that such violence was part of a broader and more malignant pattern of incorporating uneven distribution of traditional status and power, wealth disparity in modern societies, unsound social welfare policies ….

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