Global campaigners urge action on gender-based violence amid spike

Danish Minister for Development Rasmas Prehn (L) addresses the opening session of the ICPD25 International Conference on Population and Development on November 12, 2019 in Nairobi. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP) (Photo by SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)
Women from various informal settlements in Nairobi call for empowerment of women and girls in the grass-roots as they welcome the 25th International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 13, 2019. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP) (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

There is need for governments to enact punitive legislation and invest in grassroots sensitization to eradicate violence against women and girls that is on the rise, international campaigners said on Wednesday.

The campaigners told a high-level forum on ending gender-based violence at the ongoing International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi that robust interventions were urgent to end the harmful practice by 2030.

Margaret Kobia, Kenya’s cabinet secretary of gender and youth said that ending gender-based violence is a prerequisite for a stable, prosperous and inclusive world.

“The urgency to end all forms of violence against women and girls has gained currency now as the vice mutate and threaten to reverse gains we have made in gender equality,” said Kobia.

She said that governments should leverage on affirmative action, education for the girl child, robust prosecution of offenders and awareness creation targeting cultural leaders in order to win the war against gender-based violence.

Kenya is hosting the Nov. 12-14 global population summit that is discussing innovative strategies to achieve universal access to contraceptives among women of reproductive age alongside eradication of harmful practices like gender-based violence and female genital mutilation.

Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the empowerment of women through education, skills, employment and access to reproductive health services will revitalize efforts to end gender-based violence.

“We need to empower women continuously, ensure that laws protect them from violation even as we engage men to condemn gender-based violence which is a gross human rights violation,” said Bachelet Jeria.

Kate Hampton, chief executive officer of London-based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) said that a robust ecosystem that includes community vigilance, law enforcement and awareness campaigns is required to strengthen response to gender-based violence.

“The police and courts must be enlightened on gender-based violence to inform speedy prosecution of offenders,” said Hampton.

“We must also engage boys and men and challenge them to disavow toxic masculinity which perpetuates violence against women,” she added.

Kakenya Ntaiya, a Kenyan anti-female genital mutilation campaigner said that holistic empowerment of women and girls that incorporate education, health, nutrition and jobs, will boost efforts to eradicate all forms of abuse against the female gender.

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