GBV Stakeholders Address Finance, Drug Abuse, Hygiene, and Culture as Root Causes of Domestic Violence

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Create Roadmap to Combat Human Rights Violations

By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Stakeholders, including representatives from ministries, agencies, civil society, and women’s rights organizations, expressed concern over the escalating cases of human rights violations, particularly violence against women and girls, in Anambra State. They deemed the trend unfortunate and regrettable.

These sentiments were shared during a breakfast meeting organized by Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) in collaboration with various committees and organizations. The meeting, held on December 12, 2023, at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) office in Awka, aimed to shed light on issues hindering human rights in Anambra State and devise lasting solutions. The theme of the event was “Unite!Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls.”

The gathering marked the conclusion of the 16-day activism campaign, which ran from November 25 to December 10, 2023, internationally dedicated to eliminating gender-based violence against women and girls, culminating in Human Rights Day.

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Barr. Obinna Maduforo, NHRC Coordinator, highlighted that 95 to 98 percent of reported cases in the state pertained to gender-based violence and domestic violence. He emphasized the urgency of developing effective strategies to address this concerning trend. Maduforo identified factors such as financial constraints, drug abuse, background, ignorance of the law, and cultural influences as significant contributors to domestic violence among men. He also mentioned that women’s actions, including a lack of control, poor personal hygiene, legal ignorance, and infidelity, often trigger cases of domestic violence.

Barr. Chuks Ifiora, representing RoLAC, stated that RoLAC has been actively leading the campaign against GBV in the state by advocating for sustainable mechanisms to ensure swift dispensation of justice, protection of human rights, and the decongestion of prisons in Anambra State.

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Barr. Chuks Ezewuzie, Chairman of the Anambra State Disability Rights Commission, expressed gratitude for the programme’s initiation and highlighted the increased vulnerability of persons with disabilities (PWDs) to human rights violations. He urged participants to avoid prejudice and emphasized the importance of listening to all parties involved in conflicts before taking legal action to prevent catastrophic outcomes.

Mr. Udochukwu Ilo, who represented the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Hon. Ify Obinabo, mentioned the establishment of a sexual and gender-based unit by the ministry to address GBV issues. Despite these efforts, the ministry still receives an average of 20 to 25 cases daily. Hon. Obinabo called for basic sex education for girls in schools, grassroots sensitization, and economic empowerment of women to curb GBV.

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Barr. Ginika Olisa, representing the Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Magistrate Genevieve Osakwe, emphasized the deep-rooted nature of GBV despite existing laws and mechanisms. She called for parent sensitization to encourage them to report cases instead of fearing stigmatization. She also advocated against letting culprits go unpunished.

Barr. Akachukwu Okoli, representing the Ministry of Justice, informed participants about the establishment of a specialized court named the Children and Gender-Based Court, aimed at expediting trials.

The event, organized by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) in collaboration with VAPPL Implementation Committee, Child’s Rights Implementation Committee, Child Protection Network, Disability Rights Commission, Legal Aid Committee, and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), concluded with participants signing commitments to end violence against women and girls.

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