Post by Katie Rosenthal

This week positive news in ending violence against women comes from the East Caribbean. At a recent ceremony in Washington, Chile and the Organization of American States (OAS) signed a letter of intent to capacity build in the region in the area of violence against women. The ceremony took place at the residence of Felipe Bulnes, Ambassador of Chile to the United States. OAS member states including Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis will benefit from the pledge.

José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS, affirmed that ending violence against women is one of his organisation’s priorities, noting that “the problem still exists, but we are working very hard to reduce it. It is very important that we continue providing technical assistance to countries to improve their legislation”. Regional bodies such as the OAS play a vital role in social causes, and set a precedent for and influence national legislative bodies. Deborah-Mae Lovell, the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the OAS publically thanked Chile for their social development assistance, recognising the value of the country’s continuing partnership with the Caribbean.

Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno explained the importance of events such as this: “The ability of Caribbean countries to act together with the international community and create a common market of 16 million people is a lesson to us all. His words follow Chile’s recent contribution of $1 million for social development in Caribbean countries, with $113,000 specifically targeting violence against women.

The letter of intent is an encouraging sign for men and women in the region, national governments and activists working on the cause. It demonstrates the importance of forging international links and unity in ending violence against women.