Mrs. Obiano Advocates For Effective Reforms To End Violence Against Women

By Emeka Ozumba

The wife of the Anambra State governor Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano has advocated the adoption of drastic measures and institution of reforms to bring about an end to the spate of human rights violation, and violence against women and girls.

Speaking on the occasion of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women organized by the International Association of World Peace Advocates at Women Development Centre (WDC), Awka, Chief (Mrs.) Obiano, regretted that violent and abusive practices against women have continued over the years. She noted that often, violence against women is fuelled by discriminatory practices, such that across the world, women are beaten, raped, mutilated, and killed with impunity.

The governor's wife said that notwithstanding the fact that the State has the obligation to prevent, protect and punish violence against women whether perpetrated by private or public actors, obvious gaps still exist in the mechanism for protection of individuals from human rights abuses, hence such violence is often ignored and rarely punished, and the culprits are not held accountable for the crimes.

“My expectation is that this conference should be able to come up with suggestions for the reforms and proffer some new solutions to how this cycle of violence against women can be eradicated and the perpetrators held responsible.

“I expect that there is need for a second look at the efficacy of the laws in our statute books and how they can be strengthened and where necessary work for a review.

“Training of law-enforcement officials for better enforcement would help in checking rampant abuses and encourage prosecution of culprits.

“Civic education on the rights of the woman and girl-child and the place of culture in checking harmful traditional practices as well as preserving the dignity of women especially widows.

“Institution of comprehensive health services for victims of violence and psychological support etc.

Chief Mrs Obiano disclosed that she is working through her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) “to ensure sustainable empowerment of women (notably widows) and the less privileged. She explained that CAFÉ equally undertake health outreach and provide support to widows who are victims of violence and abuse while imploring the stakeholders to always contribute their quota and impact lives positively.

Also she appreciated the efforts of the International Association of World Peace Advocates, for their interest in the pursuit of cause of global peace, stressing that the occasion touches on the elimination of violence against women which is one of her areas of interest.

The governor's wife drew attention to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that frowns at all forms of harmful traditional practices against women, stressing that one of the fundamental human rights is the right to life and freedom from violence, particularly violence against women.

Mrs. Obiano stated that millions of women and girls still suffer from violence both in times of peace and at war in the hands of individuals, the State, at home, and the larger society, adding that violence against women manifest in various forms physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional.

Noting that whereas violence and abuse of women are global phenomena sustained by misconceptions, governor Obiano's wife revealed that in Nigeria, “our culture has over the years provided a smokescreen for the abuse of our womenfolk especially the widows.

Mrs. Obiano was also presented with the Eminent Peace Ambassador Award as Global Citizens for the United Nations Peace Mission.

Earlier in his speech, the World Peace Vice President, Chief Ambassador Per Staffsen, said that the event helps to enhance the status and rights of women and concluded that Nigeria and Nigerians are gender-friendly with the zeal to end violence against women.

He congratulated the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki- Moon for brining into existence UN Women especially his Unite Campaign to end Violence Against Women, Unite Artist and UN Network of Men Leaders, promising that his association will certainly support his efforts to stand against any form of humiliation against women and promote global peace with much regards to his campaign to end gender-based violence.

Chief Ambassador Staffsen described violence against women as the highest form of injustice and should be discouraged forthrightly, urging men to see women as full human beings and in most times their life partner who deserve their respect, provision, care and protection.

The 2014 celebration of United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women provides opportunity for all people to recommit to preventing and halting all forms of violence against women and girls.