Domestic Violence is a Crime: Make Lagos State Domestic Violence Free!

Being the Text of The Press Statement issued by Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) on the occasion of the Week of Action against Domestic Violence in Lagos State -October 13-17, 2014

Gentleman of the Press,
I welcome you all to this important occasion of the week of action against domestic violence that will be celebrated throughout Lagos state this week, 13-17th of October, 2014. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria, where collectively as Civil society, government and the private sector we are working to achieve the common goal of ensuring lasting cohesion and peace in our homes, communities, state and nation.

The week of action is very timely; it is coinciding with the celebration of the international day of the girl child whose theme “ending the circle of violence against the girl child” connects with the focus of the week of action. This succinctly calls to mind the criminal abduction of the Chibok girls and the general state of insecurity which pervades our land as a result of violent attacks unleashed by Boko Haram. The abduction of chibok girls is akin to crime against humanity of which domestic violence is no less.

The impacts of domestic violence and sexual assault on girls, women, youths, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups is a cause for concern. It is commendable that the state has responded as far back as 2007 to enact the Protection against Domestic Violence Law to protect everyone regardless of sex, age or marital status. This is a signal that government and all stakeholders can no longer accept the adornment of domestic violence in the garb of “family affair” but an offence punishable under the law.
This week of action is aimed at raising awareness about the criminal aspect of domestic violence, providing information about support services and encouraging citizens to break the culture of silence by reporting cases of violations and pursuing criminal litigation to punish offenders.

The Lagos state domestic violence law though did not criminalize domestic violence in absolute terms but it made adequate provisions for the granting of protection orders to prevent and protect victims from violence. Notwithstanding the existence of the law, low level of awareness about the law and the culture of condoning domestic violence as family affair not deserving to be reported as a crime, limits the enforcement of the law on perpetrators.

Overcoming the challenge of enforcing the law on perpetrators will mean commitment to massive awareness and working with the populace to break the mind-set that nurtures the culture of silence. Therefore, the challenge of changing mind-sets and encouraging survivors to take domestic violence as a criminal offence rest on our shoulders as game changers and agents of change. It is our collective responsibility to let the populace know that silence in the face of domestic violence or any form of violence at all is not accepted as virtue in any civilised society rather it is a vice which must be discouraged.

In the same vein, it must be recognized that the power in speaking out and changing mind-sets can only be realised when survivors are aware of preventive measures and accessible support services that are in place to protect them.
We commend the innovative approaches which Lagos state has so far adopted in addressing the issues of domestic violence, especially the training of policemen in handling cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, the setting up of the model police stations and family support unit; and the recent establishment of the Domestic Violence and sexual Assault response team. These are laudable initiatives that can strengthen the effective enforcement of the law and give victims the confidence to report violations.

While we acknowledge the enormous work that has already been done by Lagos state, a lot still needs to be done in sharing information to the public especially about the new approach in handling domestic violent cases at the family support unit now in existence in Adeniji Adele, Isokoko, Ilupeju and Panti Police stations. Of equal importance are the services of Mirabel centre in providing forensic tests required in substantiating criminal cases.

On the part of LASGAT and its partners, we will be raising awareness and encouraging the people of Lagos during this week of action to take full advantage of the law and support services provided by government and other stakeholders to prevent and protect people against domestic violence. Significantly, we will be unveiling our awareness stickers for the week and the Directory of institutions and organizations rendering support services on domestic violence in Lagos state.

We will continue to reiterate the responsibility of the state to fulfil the rights of citizens to life and bodily integrity and ensure that their rights are not violated by calling on the government to step up action to strengthen the enforcement of domestic violence Law through;
-Adopting and passing into law the sexual offences bill which is currently before the National Assembly. The sexual offences bill criminalizes all forms of violence including domestic violence in absolute terms. The bill is comprehensive, detailed and responds to almost all issues relating to sexual offences and domestic violence.

-Gathering data to enable the quantification of the economic and non- economic cost of domestic violence in the state to enable budgetary allocation needed to fight the scourge. We must not allow the damaging impacts of domestic violence to impede the ability of the resourceful population of Lagos state to contribute to the economic growth of the state.

-Developing policy guidelines that will ensure zero tolerance for trivializing the offence and letting perpetrators go free.

-Giving legal backing to the week of action against domestic violence as annual event to be celebrated throughout Lagos state.

We use this occasion to remember our chibok girls who are still suffering all manner of violence in the hands of their captors. We call on Nigerian government to step up action to get them released and reunited with their families.

We appreciate the support of our partners in making this week of action a reality. We particularly appreciate the continued support of the Department of International Development / State Accountability and voice Initiative (DFID/SAVI), Ministry of women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Office of the Attorney General of Lagos state, Iyaolojo General of Nigeria Mrs Folashade Tinubu Ojo, office of the Public Defender (OPD), SOS Children Villages, Save the children, Lagos state Civil Society Partnership (LASCOP),Laudable support for Women, Youth and community, The Canopy Organization, The group of 8 on violence against women comprising of; Partnership for Justice, Baobab for women’s Right, Women’s Right and Health Project (WP), Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)., our media partners; Leadership Newspapers, Traffic Radio, LTV , Eko FM , Metro FM, UnilagFM, The News, Asha Initiative, Simonateba.com and of course the dynamic members of LASGAT.
Thank you for your support. Eko oni baje o!
Titilope Ngozi Akosa
Executive Director,
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) and
Coordinator, Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team

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LAGOS CLIMATE MARCH

People's climate march
Civil society organization’s march for climate Justice

STATEMENT BY CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS IN NIGERIA ON THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH IN LAGOS

 

 

The civil society march for climate justice in Lagos, Nigeria.
The civil society march for climate justice in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

PREAMBLE

On Sunday 21st September, 2014, we witnessed the swell of global support for climate justice as people from different corners of the globe gathered in New York City to march for climate justice.

Today, Monday 22nd of September, 2014, the good people of Nigeria stand in solidarity with the peoples of the world to demand climate justice from world leaders that will gather at the United Nations climate summit on 23rd September, 2014.

We are concerned that climate related disasters have claimed thousands of lives, wiped out resources and sunk many into deeper poverty. Africa remains on the frontlines of climate change and continues to be vulnerable to its impacts.

We are disturbed that climate challenges are rooted in the global patterns of injustice, discrimination and inequalities which can only be reversed through profound transformative systems change at all levels of governance.

OUR DEMANDS

• We reiterate the calls and demands made by various civil society organizations, women’s groups, indigenous groups and social movements from all over the world by calling on world leaders to take urgent action to secure the lives and livelihoods of the poor, vulnerable and the disadvantaged who are also deprived of the means to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
• We call on world leaders, to make bold commitments to deep emission cuts that are targeted towards limiting temperatures to well below1.5 degrees Celsius at United Nations climate summit on 23rd September 2014. These commitments should not be watered down under the “pledge and review system”- a system which is subject to whims and caprices of developed nations- but should be activated to translate into legally binding commitments under the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) policy space.
• We demand for a climate change deal that is rooted in science, equity, justice and based on historical responsibility.
• We call for legally binding solutions that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with scientific recommendations that prevent the worst impacts of human induced climate change
• We reiterate call on world leaders to mobilize effective political will for a meaningful legally binding agreement in post 2015 development agenda
• We call for an economic system that works for people and the planet; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities
• In the context of Nigeria, we demand an immediate end to gas flaring and call for the implementation of the UNEP Ogoni report.
• We call on federal government and all relevant stakeholders in the power sector to speed up power sector reforms and ensure access to regular and affordable power supply to all Nigerians
• We demand access to affordable, renewable and efficient energy services for all.
• We reiterate the calls for the immediate passage of climate change bill by the National Assembly
• We request that efforts should be intensified in the implementation of the necessary framework for combating climate change in Nigeria
• We demand that states and local government should give adequate attention to the issues of adaptation and mitigation of climate change including tree planting and the creation of green jobs
• We call for the creation of a future with clean air, a healthy environment, good jobs, and resilience in the face of a changing climate for our children and people of Nigeria
• We demand for the promotion intergenerational equity and meaning youth participation in all the design and implementation of climate change adaptation and migration programmes
• Legally binding solutions that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with scientific recommendations that prevent the worst impacts of human induced climate change

To change everything we need everyone.

Signed

• Climate Aid International
• Nigerian Conservation Foundation
• Centre for 21st Century Issues
• Climate Wednesday
• Centre for Grassroots and Environmental Concern
• Foresthwyse
• Enough is Enough
• HEDA Resources
• Climate Change Network
• My Nigeria Online
• Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition
• Earthlight
• Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development
• Initiative for Nature and Human Development
• Centre for Climate Leadership
• Ansar-u-deen Youth Movement
• Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT) Youth
• Young Volunteers for the Environment
• Saving Lives Nigeria
• Nature Cares
• Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Youth Fellowship
• Freedom Network
• National Association of Nigerian Students

Statement from Participating Civil Society Organisations in the Intergovernmental Commitee of Experts on Sustainable Develoment Financing Outreach Event on Co-Creating New Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development, Espoo, 3-4 April 2014

Ambassador Pertti Majanen
Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts
on Sustainable Development Financing
Cc: Sari Alander

Ref: Statement from Participating Civil Society Organisations in the Intergovernmental Commitee of Experts on Sustainable Develoment Financing Outreach Event on Co-Creating New Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development, Espoo, 3-4 April 2014

Helsinki, April 10 2014
Dear Ambassador Pertti Majanen,

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the multi-stakeholder consultation “Co-Creating new Partnerships for Financing Sustainable Development”, that took place in Espoo, April 3-4. After two days of interesting and challenging conversations, we, the civil society representatives who participated, want to share with you some of the key shared understandings among us.

A few people are wealthier than ever, while at the same time every eight of us go to bed hungry at night and too many, especially women and the most marginalized people, are left behind. Inequality is rising both between and within countries. Climate change and environmental degradation pose a threat to our whole existence. We need to act now. The costs of inaction are higher than the costs of action. Waiting costs money and human lives. These global issues will not be solved by charity or profit-seeking partnerships and finance do not exist in isolation of the
policy choices. To put the world on track for a sustainable future, all actors have to contribute to sustainable development. We need financing of good quality and quantity, sustainable use of our natural resources and crucial policy changes, which works in favor of those currently left behind.

The starting point is to create an enabling environment for the society as a whole: Finance for sustainable development should aim at protecting and fulfilling human rights, addressing inequalities both between and in countries and preserving global commons such as clean air and water, protecting global biodiversity and combating climate change as well as ensuring sustainable use of natural resources.

Understanding the different roles of different actors is crucial. Partnerships or private sector cannot replace the role of the public sector. States have a duty to protect human rights, to provide public goods, to preserve global commons and to ensure that the private sector takes the responsibility to respect human rights and environment. These duties cannot be outsourced to the private sector.

Instead of taking donor driven approach, we have to focus on democratic ownership and domestic resource mobilization. We have to change policies that hinder the domestic resource mobilization in low-income countries and the development of the local private sector.

Policies and rules are crucial: An enabling environment for sustainable development requires not only money, but international and domestic policies and rules that serve people rather than business. The critical policy areas include:

• Corporate accountability: agreeing on binding international corporate accountability norms, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and promoting the harmonization and implementation of existing guidelines.
• Climate change: mitigation requires regulation and incentives, carbon pricing and cutting environmentally harmful subsidies like those for fossil fuels, and also allocating resources to climate change adaptation and disaster risk funding.
• Domestic resource mobilization and illicit outflows: re-directing existing funds by building up progressive tax systems and stopping illicit outflows through agreeing on international transparency regulation: enforcing country-by-country reporting for companies, developing further a system of multilateral automatic exchange of tax information, setting an international standard for public beneficial ownership registries and strengthening the UN Tax Committee. Stopping illicit flows also includes promoting a responsible lending and debt work out mechanisms.

• The financial sector: addressing transparency and volatility problems in the current financial system at the global and national level, by for example imposing the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).
• Trade and investment policies: including sustainable development policies and clauses for human rights protection in multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.

Partnerships between public and private sectors and catalyzing private investment with public money can only be complementary to public finance. The focus should be on the quality and not only on the quantity of finance. Public-private partnerships are usually a costly way to finance public services and investments. There is also little evidence on the real additionally and development effects of using public finance to mobilize private investment.

Private sector can and has to contribute to sustainable development but there is also strong evidence that it has contributed to unsustainable development. Human rights violations of extractive industries, tax evasion and financial and climate crises represent one of biggest market failures ever. Strong accountability and regulatory frameworks are needed to ensure private sector´s contribution to sustainable development.

If public development or climate finance is allocated to the private sector or public finance is used to leverage private investments for development, countries need to ensure that; 1) there are clear criteria which are applied ex-ante, to determine whether a specific private sector actor is fit for partnership, 2) development effects are evaluated before and after, 3) sound risk assessments, including social and environmental considerations, are carried out, 4) democratic ownership, transparency and accountability, focus on results and other aid effectiveness principles are realized, 5) supporting the development of developing countries’ local private sector is considered a primary objective, 6) tax avoidance is prevented, 7) strong fiscal and debt safeguards are required 8) binding corporate accountability standards are used and 9) environmental sustainability is taken into account.

The importance of introducing new public financing sources that are predictable, additional and fair. The discussion on innovative financing should be focused on introducing new public financing sources like cutting environmentally harmful subsidies, adopting FTT, allocations of special drawing rights, carbon taxes and taxes for aviation and marine transport.

The focus of ODA to finance public services. ODA has a unique mandate to directly target development and it remains an important resource for countries with the highest levels of poverty and the lowest levels of domestic resources. Limited ODA resources should be channeled primarily to support public sector’s capability to provide public services ensuring fulfilment of human rights and democratic ownership. Donors should meet their 0,7/GNI target and continue to improve aid effectiveness by addressing bad practices that undermine effectiveness, such as tying aid as well as ignoring country-owned systems. The fragmentation of ODA needs to be stopped. Finally, new and additional funds for climate financing need to be ensured.

The task that has been given to the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing is crucial for our common future, and we as civil society representatives stand here to support you. We look forward to a continued consultative process, where we are invited to provide input and expertise in a fully participatory way.

Yours sincerely,

Jesse Griffiths, Director, Eurodad

Aldo Caliari, Director, Rethinking Bretton Woods Project, Center of Concern

Jean Saldanha, Senior Policy Advisor, CIDSE.

Timo Lappalainen, Executive Director, Kepa

Rilli Lappalainen, Secretary General, Kehys – The Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU

Hanna Hansson, Beyond 2015 Swedish Coordinator, Director, CONCORD
Sweden

Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo, Manager, Development Finance Program, IBON International

Sally Nicholson,Manager, Development Policy & Finance, WWF

Javier Pereira, Europe Advocacy Coordinator, ActionAid International

Farooq Ullah, Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum for a sustainable future

Tobias Hauschild, Policy Advisor, Oxfam Germany

Grace Balawag, Project Assistant, Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Education)

Akhteruzzaman Sano, Management Advisor, Save the Earth Cambodia

Klaus Schilder, Development Finance Officer, MISEREOR Germany

Jouni Nissinen, Head of environmental policy unit, The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) and European Environmental Bureau.

Titilope Ngozi Akosa, Executive Director, Centre for 21st Century Issues

Michelle Beckett, Independent International Development Researcher & member of the European Task Force at Beyond 2015

Anja Malm, Programme Director, FIDIDA (Finnish Disability and development Partnership)

Ossi Heinänen, Secretary General, Plan Finland

Tiina Saukko, Executive Director, World Vision Finland