The United Nations has called for collective action and escalated interventions to end Violence against Women and Girls.
The call was made at a high-level Orange the World Ceremony and the Lighting of the UN House to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism for the year, in Abuja
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is an annual international campaign that commences on 25th November while is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The event climaxes on 10th December (Human Rights Day), indicating that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide.
The global theme of the 16 Days of Activism for 2022 is; “ UNiTE! Activism To End Violence Against Women and Girls!”
The United Nations leverages the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign to draw attention to the need for concerted action towards preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls.
The event was aimed to strengthen partnerships to end violence against women and girls among UN agencies, and partners, while increasing visibility and public support for the local efforts to end violence against women and girls.
UN report revealed that by April 2020, cases of gender-based violence increased by 56 per cent after only two weeks of lockdown.
While UNICEF reports that “six out of every ten children experience some form of violence – one in four girls and 10 per cent of boys have been victims of sexual violence”.
UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong, while explaining the official orange lighting of the UN Building, said that violence against women in the home usually involves the abuse of children and other household members, which needs collaborative efforts to end the menace.
“The light initiative is integral to the UN Women and the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign and is used to “symbolize a brighter future without violence.” The “orange” comes from the fire ignited by the many women’s groups dedicated to combating violence against women around the world. We call on our partners to join us in promoting the orange campaign throughout the 16 days and beyond so as to galvanize more support to end violence against women and girls. We must sustain the momentum for a brighter future where men and women, girls and boys enjoy equal rights, devoid of discrimination and all forms of violence.”
Mrs, Eyong, added that “We appreciate the generous contributions from our donors, government partners and implementing partners for the continuous support to UN Women and other UN agencies in designing and implementing several strategic and result-oriented programmes and projects, which have in many ways contributed in dealing with menace of Gender-Based Violence. These include strengthening the capacity of institutions and individuals, at both formal and informal settings to prevent and effectively respond to all forms of gender-based violence. This period provides a chance to shine a spotlight on the global scourge of violence against women and girls, our commitment to ending gender-based violence should be continuous, year-round”.
Most cases of sexual violence are not reported to the authorities. Fewer than 40 per cent of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort while most women who seek help look to family and friends, and very few look to formal institutions such as the police and health services.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, called for more partnership and coordination to address the menace.
“The United Nations believes there is a need for deliberate action by government and security agencies to improve response to gender-based violence, prosecution, and redress for survivors. We are calling for an increased spotlight on the many forms that this violence can take and the culture of silence that often surrounds its victims. Much progress has been made recently with the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition Act which has been passed into law by 34 out of the 36 states. This has been made possible by the collective efforts of government, civil society, development partners, UN agencies, and the donor community. Finally, with the upcoming 2023 elections, we need greater efforts towards ensuring that women in politics are protected against all forms of violence and discrimination. We need women participating in political life and making decisions for themselves and others”.
The Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Samuela Isopi, noted that candidate and political parties should be encouraged to prioritized gender equality and the fight against gender based violence
“The EU, UN Spotlight initiative has develop and will launched the first GBV accountability Tracker. This is the moment to take stock of the progress towards ahead. Sustainability and consolidation result and sustained high level commitment will be the key word, especially as Nigeria will be transitioning towards a new administration. As we go towards the general election, it is important that we engage with candidate and political parties and that we encouraged candidate and political parties to continue to prioritized gender equality and the fight against GBV. EU will continue to support the government and all stakeholders that are committed in the fight against GBV. A new programme will be on the lessons of spotlight, focusing on supporting the key gaps on GBV response, the support will be part of the wider EU Commitment to Genders equality in all its expenditures. While the EU gender priority will include women’s political empowerment and participation to gender equality programmes. Let’s all unite to say no to GBV, but lets do it not only toady but during the 16 days. This the fight that we have to continue every single day of the year”.
According to Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline K. Tallen- who was represented by Ministrys Director for Women Development, Mrs. Funke Oladipo noted that “Despite the Nigerians authorities’ declaration of state emergency on sexual and gender based violence, rape has persisted at crises level, with survivors denied justice, rapists avoiding prosecution and 100 cases of rape going unreported due to stigma and victim blames. the cases are unending with one form of abuse and violence are perpetrated against women every second in Nigeria. The tim to at is now, we need to step up with more intervention and support, we need to increase finances to gender quality towards ending violence against women in Nigeria”.
According to a UN report, in Nigeria, 30 per cent of girls and women aged between 15 and 49 reported having experienced sexual abuse.
The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey shows that 14 per cent of women in Nigeria have experienced physical violence as cases of violence against women increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Source: Voice of Nigeria