Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SHAME: Violence Against Women Gross Human Rights Violations, Poses Serious Threats To…

MoBSE Minister Fatou Lamin Faye

Violence against women does not only constitute a gross violation of human rights but also has enormous social and economic costs, and undercuts the contribution of women to development, peace and security, said MoBSE Fatou Lamin Faye.
The minister of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education also known as MoBSE was speaking at the just- concluded ‘Training of Trainers Workshop’ organised by the Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG).
The workshop dubbed “ Ending Violence in Society with Special Focus on Women and Girls.”
She further stated that violence against women also poses a serious threat to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.
Achieving the Millennium development goals, she noted, “cannot be achieved if the gross violation against women continues to take place in The Gambia, Africa and the world at large,” she said.
She pointed out that campaign to end violence against women are indeed reflective of the situation of violence against women and girls at the global level.
Giving account of figures, she said one in three women are beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetimes.
She stated that one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted raped in her lifetime noting that “half of the women who die from homicides are killed by their current or former husbands or partners,”
Minister Lamin Faye continued, for women aged 15-44 years, violence is a major cause of death and disability saying that more that 80 percent of trafficking victims are women. 
According to the minister, more than 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). 
On the basis of data collected from 24,000 women in 10 countries between 55 per cent and 95 percent of women who have been physically abused by their partners have never contacted appropriate authorities for help, she stated.
In recognition of the need to reverse the above trends, she told participants that the United Nations calls all women and men to action by shining a spotlight on the issue of violence against women and the goals of the Secretary General’s campaign.
Stretching from 2008 to 2015, she went on to stated that the campaign calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. 
Hear her: “it builds on existing theme of Women and Men United to End Violence against Women and girls.
“I do understand and appreciate that there is no blanket approach to fighting violence against women because what works in one country may not lead to desired results in another.
She lamented that there is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities and this is: ‘VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE, NEVER EXCUSABLE AND NEVER OLERABLE.’
Responding to this clarion call to action, MoBSE said the government of The Gambia remains committed to alleviating the suffering of all vulnerable groups in society, particularly women and children. 
At the policy level, she stressed that the Gender and Women Empowerment Policy, the successor to the National Policy for The Advancement of Gambian Women, clearly lays emphasis on fighting and addressing, amongst other things all forms of gender-based violence in The Gambia. 
The Children’s Act 2005 also prohibits the abuse of children and all other forms of violence especially those perpetrated against the girl child.
In 2010, the National Assembly made a giant history in enacting the women’s Act.  The Act seeks to domesticate all our international conventions relating to the promotion, protection and enforcement of the rights of women.
This, she pointed out is indeed a clear testimony of Government’s awareness of the societal menace of violence against women and girls and its cascading impact on society as a whole. 
Hence, the Government of The Gambia under the dynamic leadership of President Yahya A J J Jammeh is resolved more than ever before to leave no stone unturned for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence.
In order to support this resolution, she told her audience that sectoral policies have been promulgated.
This support has been greatly enabled by the introduction and implementation of a Life Skills Education Program saying that the program emphasises the need to curb gender based violence in and around schools.
 Another enabler in this endeavour is the sexual harassment policy which is aimed at creating a harassment-free school environment where girls can now pursue their education with reduced prevalent rates of teenage pregnancy, under performance and above all, sexual abuses.
All of these, minister said have resulted in the attainment of gender parity in enrolment at the basic education level while the senior secondary level is short of this parity by three percentage points. 
In terms of performance, she revealed that girls have in recent years been featuring prominently at the top of the merit list of performing students in The Gambia Basic Education Examination (Grade 9) and the West African School Certificate Examination (Grade 12).
On recognition of the urgent need to consolidate the gains registered thus far as well as address all existing forms of violence against women and girls, both women and men together with boys and girls must unite to end such violence in our society.
Using teachers as principal actors of change in this campaign is by no means accidental, she says.
“ This is because teachers of this country are the strongest medium of socialisation and with the use of education as an instrumentality, the speed at which awareness creation is implemented is indeed beyond measure,” she cautioned.
She finally called on participants of the workshop to measure up to expectations so that in concert, “we end, once and for all, gender-based violence in this country,” she concluded.

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