Agnes Guillaud said: “The Gambia, even though it is a small country, is filled with exceptionally brave women and men who advocate women’s rights and fight every day to eliminate violence against women.
“The National Assembly passed the Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Acts in December 2013. These two Acts are of high importance in addressing violence against women and girls in The Gambia.”
However, the EU diplomat who was speaking last week at the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women celebrations called for strong political and institutional support for a proper implementation of the laws.
She continued: “A woman who is beaten by her husband must have somewhere to go with her children to enjoy safety and shelter. A victim of violence must have confidence that when she files a police report, she will receive justice and the perpetrator will be punished. We can all contribute to the elimination of violence against women. Every single one of us! It is important to break the silence and open up the space for discussion at all levels.
“Violence against women and children has tremendous costs to communities, nations and societies. Moreover, it negatively affects public well-being, school achievement, productivity and thereby the overall performance of a country. If left unaddressed, such human rights violations pose serious consequences for current and future generations and for our efforts to ensure peace and security, and to reduce poverty in the world. I am pleased to see how progress has been made in this field in The Gambia.”
She added: “Violence against women is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights in the world. It is also one of the least prosecuted crimes, and among the greatest threats to lasting peace and development in the world. It is a violation that claims millions of victims every year and causes terrible physical and emotional pain. If we want our societies to prosper, it is an absolute necessity to foster the opportunities of all women because if women prosper, societies will also prosper. Women’s social and economic contribution is much needed in any country in order for growth rates to increase and development to flourish. Violence and degrading treatment of women impedes economic development all over the world. Therefore, we must not only help prevent violence but we must also work to empower women and provide them with access to economic opportunities, to ensure their equal participation in public life, repeal laws and practices discriminating against women, and ensure that homes, offices, streets and schools are safe for women and girls.”]]>