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Letter from Antigua and Barbuda

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Dear Global Community, 

I’ve just returned from the island of Antigua and Barbuda where I attended the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), hosted by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, our champion nation and one of the core nations leading the State-initiative for a new Optional Protocol to CEDAW. 

SIDS — a group of 57 island states and territories — are receiving the brunt of the effects of climate change, with drought, tropical cyclones and other events that damage communities and economies and increase incidents of violence directed at women and girls. 

I was heartened to learn how these countries and territories are leading regional and global efforts on climate change. I was there to ask all present to further their leadership by supporting the creation of a new Optional Protocol to CEDAW to end violence against women and girls. 

I’m pleased to report that I had very positive meetings with multiple officials, including the representatives from the Cook Islands and the Minister for Health and Social Development of the British Virgin Islands Mr. Vincent O. Wheatley. Both countries showed keen interest in supporting the Protocol and we’re grateful for their consideration.

During my conversation with the Prime Minister of Samoa Islands Ms. Afioga Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, I was impressed with her powerful leadership and look forward to further dialogue. 

Hats off to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the Honorable Samantha Marshall, Minister of State responsible for Gender Affairs. What a beautiful country with kind, helpful and genuine people. 

It’s a profound and humbling experience to meet with world leaders working hard to solve the world’s problems. I’m headed to Geneva next for the 56th Session of the Human Rights Council to further diplomacy for a new Optional Protocol to CEDAW to make the world safer for women and girls. I’ll keep you posted on activities and outcomes.

In solidarity,

Patricia Elias
Chief of Global Diplomatic Campaign