Each year the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers highlights sixteen women, men and organizations that standout in the fight against gender violence. Representing December 6th, is:
Women’s Action for Change
A Young Activist
Noelene Nabulivou is a Pacific workshop facilitator, trainer and community educator, with experience developed in diverse spaces in rural, remote and urban Pacific areas. As Coordinator of Women’s Action for Change in Fiji, (WAC) much of Noelene’s advocacy focuses on rights of women and young people.
“Women defenders in Fiji are challenged because we work on human rights and equality in small, complex post-conflict spaces. Rising evangelical and right-wing nationalist groups challenge hard-won gains from recent decades. We face trauma of years of coup d’ etats on the whole community, and in particular on women human rights defenders ourselves.
Each subsequent coup sees still more of us targeted in subtle and overt ways.” WAC ensures that unpopular issues such as rights related to sexuality, abortion and sex workers, as well as religious fundamentalism, indigenous masculinist politics, and Fiji’s warrior culture and militarism are challenged.
A publication of the ICT reported:
[…Fiji is a country of three quarters of a million people consisting of approximately 40% Indo-Fijians, who a are thought to be descendants of contract labourers brought to the islands by the British in the nineteenth century and 60% native Fijians. This composition has led to ethnic tensions between Indians and Fijians, which is said to have lead to two military coups that interrupted Fiji’s democracy….]
Fiji is comparatively media rich, with several newspapers. Rupert Murdoch owns the Fiji Times. Fiji has several radio stations and TV stations, many of which are multilingual. Against the backdrop of this cultural palette, where an estimated 49% of the population is women, an estimated 20% of the news is about women. Illiteracy is an issue, and despite Internet communications availability, most is within the confines of agencies, or business.
WAC has been working for 13 years in the promotion of human rights of women, children, sexual minorities and other diverse groups In Fiji. As Coordinator, Nabulivou uses WAC as a gadfly to the media, promotes equality through grassroots organizations, and disseminates information.
Fiji has a long tradition of community plays and puppet shows; WAC operates a Theatre Troupe promoting equality and diversity. They have used drama as an education tool to help offenders understand the impact of their behaviors and learn non-violent methods of conflict resolution. Nabulivou was arrested with others for peacefully protesting human rights violations in Tibet during the Olympic Torch run. This has lead to protest over the role of the current non elected government in the promotion of human rights.
“Politics is not Just about politicians and parties.”
One example of their activity was the joint statement of the Fiji Woman’s Rights Movement (FWRM), issued as a response to the 2006 Leader’s Forum.
[…”During the nationally televised Leaders Forum, where seven male leaders, a man was narrator and no questions were take from the audience. Not one topic concerned violence against women.”…] (Sound familiar?)
Nabulivou gets credit for defending women’s rights
17 Arrested In Suva Protesting Tibet Abuses
Friday: April 11, 2008
I Own My Vote, PUMA, The Denver Group, Just Say No Deal