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Eliminate, prevent violence against women to facilitate civic engagement, role in development

Given that one of every three women in the world has been subjected to physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse in her lifetime, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) leadership has reasserted that the organization will continue to further the multisectoral partnerships in eliminating and preventing such violence in a bid to facilitate women and girls’ civic engagement and role in development.

UNFPA West and Central Africa Regional Director, Mr. Benoit Kalasa, averred that “the mentality of accepting violence against women as a norm is something that needs to change”.

“The contribution of women in the development of a country can never be overemphasized. How can we want development while we subject women and girls to such acts which derail or hamper their physical and emotional wellbeing? We should never overlook the fact that half of the population subjected to such treatments is the one that gives birth to the other half,” he added.

The West and Central Africa region is prone to man-made or natural disasters such as the recent wars in Mali or Central African Republic, during which violence against women and girls are exacerbated as risks are compounded by displacement, breakdowns in social norms and lack of access to services.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, said in his message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that “violence against women and girls is a violation of their fundamental human rights, an affront to human dignity and a serious threat to their health and well-being. It impedes their civic engagement and role in development; it generates instability and makes peace harder to achieve.”

The 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence began on 25th November on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10th December, on the International Human Rights Day.