Nigeria - World - Women - Violence

Nigeria: Activists trigger urgency in war against GBV

APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

Nigerian and UN women campaigners have sounded a wary note of “urgency to act” against Gender-based violence (GBV) in all corners of the world.

By special correspondent: Fatoumata Ndiaye Loum 

In Abuja, the Nigerian capital, orange was the most dominant colour last Thursday 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

 The dress code was perfectly respected down to the smallest detail - from the flower brooch pinned on the jacket of Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to the scarf of the Resident Representative of UNFPA's Nigeria office, to the headscarf of the Nigerian Women's Affairs minister, Pauline K. Tallen.

“Orange has been adopted as a colour for anti-violence and equality because of its optimistic and bright nature. It combines yellow and red to radiate that alluring and energetic feeling in giving hope to victims and survivors of violence,” Pauline K. Tallen explained, inviting the diverse audience to wear orange or a touch of orange in solidarity with this cause throughout the 16 days of activism to heighten advocacy against the phenomenon.

“Please join me to remember today as always those who have lost their lives to one form of violence or the other,” the Nigerian Minister of Women’s Affairs said. 

This was followed by a minute’s silence in memory of women who have died under torture of all kinds.

 With the support of UNFPA, the campaign entitled “Orange the world; end violence against women now” is being launched by activists from the Women’s Global Leadership Institute.

 GBV without borders

 The choice of Nigeria to host this event is not accidental.

The West African country, hit for several years by insecurity, particularly jihadism, is facing a myriad of cases of gender-based violence. 

Among them are the abduction of young girls, who are often sexually abused by their captors.

“Violence against women and girls, as we have heard, is one of the most common crimes affecting human society. It is a violation of human rights that knows no borders, no state and no nation. It is in fact a global scourge. And yet, one in three women or girls around the world will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and there are no exceptions. We know that we aspire to a world of full gender equality, that is the Africa we want by 2063 and that is what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have promised to achieve by 2030,” said Dr Natalia Kanem, UNFPA's Executive Director.

She prayed fervently “for peace in our homes and hearts.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has upset the balance in a host of households where people do not hesitate to take their frustrations out on girls or women. 

Commissioned surveys suggest an increase in violence during this period. 

However, the speakers believe that it is “the commitment of all actors and partners” that will make it possible to eliminate violence against women.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, UNFPA’s Executive Director presided over a graduation ceremony for twelve young women victims of gender-based violence. 

They had benefited from six months of training on entrepreneurship and life skills, initiated by UNFPA and its partners, with the aim of empowering them.

 


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