GBV: NGO calls for adoption of human rights approaches

GBV: NGO calls for adoption of human rights approaches

By Funmilayo Adeyemi, Abuja.

 

The Women Aid Collective (WACOL), a non-governmental organisation, has called on stakeholders to rise up and prioritise the adoption of human rights and survivor-centred approaches in responding to cases of violence against women.

 

The Founder of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, made the call in a statement to celebrate the 2022 International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women in Abuja on Saturday.

 

The statement is also to mark the onset of Global 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

 

 

She said that 2022 theme of the event: “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG)” provided stakeholders with the opportunity to reflect, take stock and commit to partnership and cooperation that would bring about a desired change.

 

Ezeilo also urged government and non-governmental actors, including the international donor communities, to invest in actions that would not only amplify the voices of women but also empower them to participate in governance and decision-making positions at all levels.

 

She stressed that in Nigeria, factors such as harmful traditional/cultural practices, poverty, ignorance, poor implementation of relevant laws/policies and corruption had continued to exacerbate existing impunity and inequality.

 

“Inadequate data on the exact number of violations in the country can easily be attributed to low reportage, due to fear of stigmatisation, victim blaming and reprisal attacks.

 

“Lack of political and economic will by relevant governmental agencies to implement laws and policies that affect women continues to undermine women’s progress and gender equality agenda.

 

“Despite these barricades over the years, women have recorded huge victories and attained milestones in the struggle to take charge of their lives and maximise their potential.

 

“Daily, WACOL handles approximately 20 cases of violence against women and girls; the forms of violence encompass physical, psychological, socio-economic and sexual violence, including harmful practices and sexual and reproductive health rights,” she said.

 

Ezeilo also underscored the need to prioritise effective adherence to court rules, as well as advocacy at all levels on the importance of reporting GBV, especially at the local/grassroots level.

 

She said this would help to end all forms of violence against women and girls in Nigeria, while ensuring the empowerment of all women and girls, as adumbrated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

 

She said: “The process of investigation to court trial should not re-traumatise the victim.

 

“For trust to be built in the process and to encourage more victims/survivors to break the silence and speak up, then SGBV trained experts should be engaged to ensure strict adherence to the principle of confidentiality and do no harm.

 

“Hence, WACOL’s unrelenting demand for establishing specialised SGBV courts in all states in Nigeria and adopting practice directions and guidelines for effective implementation of Protection Order, under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Laws.

 

“Deliberate steps must be taken to dismantle stereotypes and disrupt patriarchal superstructures and social milieu that reinforce and exacerbates sex stereotypes, discrimination and VAWG.

 

“It is imperative for all actors to harmonise actions to avoid duplication of efforts to spotlight women’s rights successes and understand unique challenges.”

 

Ezeilo said that unity was the only way to achieve a violence-free society, while calling on stakeholders to act now to end violence against women and girls.

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