Reports focus on human rights


National laws should be consistent with international human rights laws to reduce violations, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing says.

Miloon Kothari said on Saturday after a four-day consultation with representatives from nine regional countries very little was being done at national level to raise the status of women.

He said the countries would be monitored and reports would be submitted to the UN.

Mr Kothari said almost all the regional countries faced similar problems relating to land rights, inheritance, lack of womens participation in policy-making issues and clash of laws and traditions.

He said womens enjoyment of housing and land rights was retrogressive because of an increase in displacements, marriage break-ups and a rise in squatter settlements.

It was shocking to note that women have very little say in policy making, at government level and in their households because of the stronghold of tradition and culture.

While some countries are progressing slowly efforts made by others were almost insignificant.

Some of the culture and patriarchal customary arrangements inherited from colonial times have been a stumbling block.

At the end of colonialisation men were given the power to rule the country and their homes, which have stuck in many countries today. We had participants from the grassroots levels who revealed some of the age old problems women faced in their communities.

The laws in some countries are contradicting, especially when the Constitution gives certain rights while the land and customary laws have made no changes. Urbanisation is leading to poverty and the governments should have been prepared for the drifts a long time back. The meeting thrashed out many issues that the countries will voice their concerns together, Mr Kothari said.

Source: Fiji Times