|Overview : |
The United Nations (UN) Secretary General and the European Union (EU) High Representative and Vice President (HRVP) in September 2017 launched the Spotlight Initiative, a new partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It galvanizes political commitment at the highest levels and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and more specifically Goal 5 on Gender Equality. It provides a model for a partnership with donors, civil society, and all relevant UN entities, to deliver on the SDGs in a comprehensive manner leveraging comparative expertise. Belize has been selected as one of six priority countries in the Caribbean, to fund country programmes that contribute to the elimination of all form of violence against women and girls, with a specific focus on family violence.
Despite progress, the level of violence against women and girls remains alarmingly high in the Caribbean, and many challenges persist, including insufficient enforcement of legislations, inadequate application of rule of law, weak institutions and insufficient allocation of resources to implement laws, policies and programmes, insufficient monitoring and evaluation of their impact; and lack of coordination among different stakeholders. Strong regional and national legislative frameworks in region have not been accompanied by adequate prevention and response programmes. Additionally, while there have been significant developments related to domestic violence legislation, legislation related to sexual offences including sexual offences committed within family settings such as incest and martial rape have been slower to progress in the region. There is also limited access to essential services for women and girls’ survivors of violence in the Caribbean region.
Though Belize continue efforts to end violence against women and girls (EVAWG), in recent times, there has been several cases of femicide linked to domestic violence and extreme acts of abuse and violence targeting children in their homes and communities. Violence in the home remains an issue with severe physical abuse being experienced by children between 1-4 years old and severe emotional abuse towards older children (Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey 2015). A 2016 survey of 4 of the 6 districts showed that men account for 85% of the perpetrators of violence against women and girls. According to the Belize Criminal Code (Revised 2000), femicide is tried as homicide. The rate of female homicide in Belize in 2016 was 8.1 per 100,000 female population (UNODC 2016). The second highest rate in the Caribbean and Latin America after Jamaica.
The Spotlight Country Programme Document for Belize will be designed under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator, in collaboration with the EU Delegation in Belize and incorporating participatory mechanisms for the consultation of key national actors (public and private institutions, civil society, academia and international cooperation) working to end violence against women and girls. The Country Programme Document will detail a comprehensive response to the problem of violence against women and girls based on the six pillars identified by the Spotlight Initiative:
Legislative and policy frameworks, based on evidence and in line with international human rights standards, on all forms of violence against women and girls, including family violence, are in place and translated into plans
National and sub-national systems and institutions plan, fund and deliver evidence-based programmes that prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, including family violence, including in other sectors
Gender inequitable social norms, attitudes and behaviours change at community and individual levels and prevent violence against women and girls, including family violence
Women and girls who experience violence use available, accessible, acceptable, and quality essential services including for long term recovery from violence
Quality, disaggregated and globally comparable data on different forms of violence against women and girls, including family violence, collected, analysed and used in line with international standards to inform laws, policies and programmes
Women's rights groups, autonomous social movements and CSOs, including those representing youth and groups facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination/marginalization, more effectively influence and advance progress on GEWE and ending VAWG