CALL TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS IN NIGERIA

Presentation1 On the occasion of the celebration of the 2013 International Women’s Day (IWD) The Centre for 21st Century Issue s(C21st), West African Network For Peace building Nigeria (WANEP) and Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) celebrate with all Nigerian women and indeed all women all over the world.
With the theme “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” we collectively use this as a clarion call to all stakeholders to recommit and redouble efforts to stop violence being experienced by women and girls both in the private, public and in conflict situations.
It is of grave concern that around the world over 70% of women experience violence in their life time. The case of Nigerian women and girls is worse off. The Nigerian woman and girl child experience all forms of violence on a daily bases which has resulted into the following realities;
• One in five women has experienced some form of physical violence. 28% of women have experienced physical violence by age 15.
• One in three Nigerian women and girls aged 15-24 have been the victims of Violence.
• Up to a third of women in Nigeria have been subjected to some form of violence, including battering and verbal abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, marital rape, sexual exploitation, or harassment within the home.
• Most of the physical, sexual and psychological violence experienced by women in Nigeria is reported to be at the hands of family members, especially husbands, partners and fathers. At least 45% of violence against women are perpetrated by their current husbands or parents.
• Over 45% of women who ever experience physical or sexual violence did not seek help from any source or tell anyone about it.
• Women and girls suffer double jeopardy in conflict situations.
• Violence against women and girls is a key driver of HIV Epidemic and other sexually transmitted diseases due to forced sex and inability to negotiate safe sex.
These realities are continually nurtured by the existence of some social cultural norms which condones and encourages violence, insufficient legal mechanisms to prosecute and punish offenders and unwillingness of victims to report cases of violation or seek for help.
Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a serious infraction against the rights of women and girls. It is a wicked act which breeds conflict and destroy peace in the home and in the society. Violence impedes the ability of women and girls to reach their potentials in life and ultimately limit their life chances and optimal development

C21st, WANEP and LASGAT on the occasion of the IWD 2013 herby calls on
Nigerian Government to;
• Declare zero tolerance to VAWG in order to prevent and end all forms of VAWG anywhere including conflict situations.
• Ensure that all the states in Nigeria enact and effectively enforce the Domestic Violence protection and Prohibition Law
• Allocate Adequate funds to end VAWG in public and private spheres
• Work with Civil society organizations and all relevant stakeholders to provide services and support to all women and girls survivor of violence.
• Train all law enforcement agents to handle cases of violence against women and girls in such a way to ensure the protection of their rights
• Raise awareness on VAWG and inspire action to change violent behaviors in our community.
• Ensure that women are involved the response to conflict and peace processes at all levels.
We call on men to shun all acts of violence against women and girls and work with women and all stakeholders to end violence against their mothers, wives, sisters daughters and nieces.
We empathize with all women and girls victims of violence, we salute their resilience and courage in the face of violence. We also remember and celebrate all those who stand on the side of women and girls to advocate and continue to agitate against all forms of violence in our society. We encourage Nigerian women and girls to end the culture of silence and speak out against violence.
The fight to end VAWG is our collective responsibility. Together we can put a stop to VAWG.
Happy international women’s Day
Ms Titilope Akosa – Centre for 21st Century Issues
Bridget Osakwe – West African Network for Peace building (WANEP), Nigeria
Dr Keziah Awosika – Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT)

ADDIS ABABA DECLARATION OFAFRICA MINISTERIAL PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE 57TH SESSION OF THE COMMISION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN

Africa Ministerial CSW 57 Preparatory Meeting
From 14 to 16 January 2013, UN Women, in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), convened a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and senior government officials from Africa met to prepare for the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the priority theme “Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls”.

ADDIS ABABA DECLARATION OFAFRICA MINISTERIAL PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE 57TH SESSION OF THE COMMISION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN

ON

PRIORITY THEME: ELIMINATION AND PREVENTION OF ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

Preamble

We, Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and senior government officials from Africa, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 14-16 January, 2013 to prepare for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, on the priority theme “Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls”.

The meeting was attended by 39 Member States and a total number of 225 delegates comprising also members of the diplomatic corps in Ethiopia, experts, representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), Inter-Governmental Organisations, representatives of the Africa Union and the United Nations system.

The meeting was organized by UN Women in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC).

The meeting objectives were:

(i) to reflect on and propose strategies to end Violence Against Women (VAW) in preparation for the 57th session of the CSW to be held in New York from 4 – 15 March 2013,

(ii) to forge a common understanding of the mandate, role and significance of the CSW, and how Africa can better utilize the CSW outcomes to hold governments accountable on their commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment – and in particular on eliminating and preventing violence against women,

(iii) to exchange knowledge, and best practices emanating from regional and national experiences,

(iv) to propose recommendations, priorities and key messages on how best to accelerate global, regional and national action to end VAW,

(v) to develop a strategy for engaging actors to participate in and substantively contribute to the CSW57 Outcome Document and its follow up, to propose modalities for implementation of CSW57 Outcome Document at country level.

Recognizing that Violence Against Women (VAW) is a global human rights and development phenomenon, that is

pervasive, persistent and insidious in nature, manifesting in multiple intersecting forms- including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), rape, trafficking, forced marriage, early marriages, domestic violence;

Acknowledging that Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) occurs in conflict and in times of peace;

Deeply concerned about the use of rape as a weapon of war in conflict affected countries such as Mali and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC);

Recognizing that VAWG has regional and country specifics and is deeply rooted in systemic gender inequality linked to some harmful cultural practices that perpetuate bias, discrimination and victimization;

Acknowledging existence of some positive cultural, religious and traditional values on the African continent;

Reaffirming the significant commitments by African Member States, governments and people through the ratification of international standards, and regional frameworks to end VAW including-The Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1880, 1890; UN General Assembly Resolution on intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women; General Assembly Resolution (2012) on Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM);

Further acknowledging; The Protocol to the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Human Rights of Women in Africa; The AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children; ICGLR Heads of State’s Kampala Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV); and The Africa UNiTE Campaign on ending VAW;

Noting in particular Article 14 on Health and Reproductive Rights, of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which calls on “State Parties to ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health is respected and promoted” and “to protect the reproductive rights of women” (Maputo Protocol, 2003);

Cognisant of the Africa Union Commission’s exemplary leadership on gender equality commitments;

Appreciating the platform provided to voice Africa’s determination, commitment and greater action to end VAWG and in that regard UN Women’s vision and leadership and UNECA’s strategic partnership in organizing the Africa Ministerial preparatory meeting for the 57th Session of CSW; ;

Noting the gap between commitments and action; and reaffirming zero tolerance to VAWG;

WE DECLARE that in Africa Ending Violence Against Women IS NOT AN OPTION but a priority for development, peace and security, human rights, economic and social cohesion;

WE DECLARE ZERO TOLERANCE to all forms of VAWG in Africa;

We RECOMMIT to strengthen laws, policies and implement strategic actions to end VAWG; to take measures to PREVENT VAWG, so that it does not happen in the first place, and to RESPOND appropriately whenever it happens as follows:

I. ON PREVENTION

We Commit to:

1.1 Establish, monitor and assess effectiveness of measures to enforce zero tolerance to end VAWG;

1.2 Strengthen existing positive cultural practices of respect and non-violent relationships in families, schools, communities and public institutions;

1.3 Review education curricula at all levels to incorporate sexual and reproductive health in accordance with Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol;

1.4 Promote awareness raising, sensitization and training of the Police, Prosecutors, Judiciary, Military; religious, cultural, community leaders, and the community at large on women’s rights and ending VAWG;

1.5 Involve and engage traditional leaders, men and boys in VAWG prevention initiatives;

1.6 Document harmful practices that perpetuate VAWG and formulate clear strategies for their elimination;

1.7 Enforce the ICGLR Protocol on prevention and suppression of sexual violence against women and children as a way to end impunity in conflict and post conflict situations;

1.8 Scale up best practices at regional, national and local levels on strengthening families and community initiatives and other preventive strategies;

1.9 Continue empowering women at the grassroots levels so that they can claim their rights;

1.10 Enforce a policy of not granting amnesty to perpetrators of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict;

II. ON RESPONSE

We are determined to:

2.1 Ensure that the elimination of VAWG is a priority area of the post-2015 agenda with clear targets and indicators;

2.2 Enact and enforce laws and policies on VAWG;

2.2 Ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health, is promoted through education and service provision in line with Article 14 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa;

2.3 Domesticate and implement General Assembly Resolution on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) (2012) in countries where the practice exists;

2.4 Implement a multi-sectoral approach including the One Stop Centers to effectively engage all stakeholders in providing services and support to survivors of VAWG;

2.5 Enhance the buy-in of all Ministries to end VAWG, including Ministries responsible for Finance, Economic Planning, Health, Justice, Education, Home Affairs and others;

2.6 Advocate for adequate allocation of resources to end VAWG from public and private sectors and donors;

2.7 Set up special funding mechanisms for ending VAWG in all conflict, humanitarian and development settings;

2.9 Intensify economic empowerment initiatives for women as a means of uplifting the status of women and preventing VAWG;

2.10 Ensure effective representation and participation of women in all peace processes and community peace building and reconstruction initiatives as per UN Resolution 1325;

2.11 Utilize the Africa UNiTE Campaign and the Africa Women’s Decade as advocacy platforms for Zero Tolerance throughout Africa;

2.12 Make provisions, at national and community levels to fast track investigations and prosecution of perpetrators of VAWG including but not limited to special courts;

2.13 Establish regular mechanisms to collect, analyse and disseminate data on VAWG, monitor and assess effectiveness of ZERO TOLERANCE to end VAWG;

2.14 Increase men and boys participation/engagement in programmes to end VAWG;

2.15 Include civil society in regional and national norm setting, programming as well as in government delegations for a more holistic representation of regional and national concerns;

2.16 Put in place a monitoring framework for the implementation of the 57th CSW session outcomes at national, regional and global level.

ADOPTED ON this sixteenth day of January 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.