COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE TO COMMEMORATE THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY AND OUTCOMES OF THE 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

COMMUNIQUÉ FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE TO COMMEMORATE THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY AND OUTCOMES OF THE 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE, ORGANISED BY THE RIVERS STATE MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS IN COLLABORATION WITH GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ACTION UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE WOMEN IN PEACE AND SECURITY NETWORK (WPSN), RIVERS STATE, WITH SUPPORT FROM THE NIGERIAN STABILITY AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAMME (NSRP)

Venue: The South-South Women’s Political Empowerment office, Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs, Eastern Bypass Marine-Base, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Date: 10thDecember 2014

PREAMBLE

The Women Peace and Security Network (WPSN), as part of its activities to mark the 16 days of  activism against Gender based Violence held a press conference to commemorate the International Human Rights day and present the outcome of the 16 days mock Safe Space for reporting, documentation, counselling, referrals and mediation of cases of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Rivers State on 10th Dec 2014.

 The Rivers State Ministry of Women Affairs was represented by the Permanent Secretary and its Directors. Also present were the representatives of the National Human Right Commission, Security Agencies, NAWOJ Rivers State Chapter, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Rivers State Youth Federation, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Gender and Development Action.

ISSUES HIGHLIGHTED

  1. The increased prevalence of Violence Against Women and Girls in Rivers State that stands against the equality of Rights for Women, the faith in fundamental Human Rights, dignity and worth of persons.
  1. The domestication and implementation the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) that Protects and strengthens the rights of women and girls. Re-enforce the application of International, Regional and National legal frameworks that ensures the elimination of all acts of discrimination and Violence against Women and Girls by persons, organizations or enterprise.
  1. The recognition of the Rivers State Abolition of Female Circumcision Law (2001), Rivers State Reproductive Health Service Law (2003) and Rivers State Dehumanizing and Harmful Traditional Practices Law (2003), passed in 2001 and 2003 and the need to domesticate and implement more gender sensitive laws in Rivers State.
  1. Strengthen relevant Government agencies to tackle cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse/molestation of female children, incest, threat to life and widowhood right abuses that were reported to the mock safe space during the 16 days activism.
  1. Lack of funding for relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) in Rivers State to prevent VAWG, high litigation cost, bureaucracy/bottlenecks in the Justice systems, the non-establishment of the Family Court, lack of awareness of the economic, socio- psychological and developmental implication of VAWG in the society.
  1. Economic empowerment and skills training for survivors of Gender based Violence and the establishment of ‘half- way’ homes and shelters for survivors of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
  1. WPSN agreed on the need for the Rivers State Government, CSOs, Faith Based Organizations, Men, Women and Youth groups, educational institutions, MDAs, private and public institutions, the media and all citizens to make contributions to a trust fund for survivors of Violence Against Women and Girls in Rivers State.
  1. Sequel to the above, WPSN stated the need for the Rivers State Government, CSOs, Faith Based Organizations, Men, Women and Youth groups, educational institutions, Rivers State MDAs, private and public institutions, the media and all citizens to contribute to the fight to end Violence Against Women and Girls in Rivers State.

RESOLUTIONS

  1. Violence against Women and Girls should be seen as a human rights abuse punishable by law and identified as a security threat to the Peace, Security and development of Rivers State and its citizens.
  1. The Women in Peace and Security Network strongly recommend that Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) be addressed as a human right abuse and security issue as enshrined in chapter 20of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Child Right Law (2003), the Rivers State Action Plan for the implementation of the National Action Plan for the UNSCR 1325 and other International and National legal frameworks and conventions.
  1. The Rivers State Government should take proactive action to reduce VAWG through the domestication and implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill (2010) and other State laws that addresses the specific nuances of VAWG and strengthen government institutions to proactively respond to VAWG.
  1. WPSN strongly advocates for the sustainability and proper establishment of a safe space for reporting, documentation, counselling, mediation and referral of cases of VAWG with  multi-stakeholder collaboration in Rivers State,
  1. Adequate funding of the Rivers State Ministry Of Women Affairs, Social Welfare, Health, Education, Local Government Affairs, other relevant MDAs and CSOs targeted at reducing the vulnerability of women and girls to GBV, prevention of VAWG, response and rehabilitation for survivors of VAWG, make justice accessible and affordable for survivors of VAWG by strengthening the Judiciary to be more efficient and effective in presiding over cases of VAWG through the establishment of the family court in Rivers state and sustained public awareness campaigns via the media on the implication of VAWG to the security and development of Rivers State
  1. The provision of resources for  sustainable economic empowerment programs and educational empowerment schemes  for women and girls to reduce vulnerability to economic abuse and exploitation and the establishment of a state run half way home or temporary shelters for survivors of VAWG.
  1. Network recommends that Rivers State institute a trust fund set aside for survivors of VAWG to reduce the financial cost implication on survivors
  1. Women in Peace and Security Network is a veritable platform for advocacy for Gender based violence and will promote collaborative efforts with stake holders towards reducing Violence Against Women and Girls in Rivers State.

Issued this day, Wednesday 10th Dec. 2014

Susan Bassey-Duke, Program Director Gender and Development Action (GADA)

Lillian Okonkwo Chairperson, National Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ)

Inyingi Irimagha, Project Officer, Women in Peace and Security Network (WPSN)

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