Binta Jammeh-Sidibeh was speaking on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the International Day for the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women at the Kanifing Municipal Council headquarters where a 16-day nationwide activism was also launched.
She said: “The Gambia has done very well in ensuring that laws are in place such as the enactment of the Children’s Act 2005, Women’s Act 2010, Trafficking in Person’s Act 2007, Domestic Violence Act 2013 and Sexual Offences Act 2013. Indeed these are clear manifestations of government’s drive to protect the rights of women and children in The Gambia. The 16 days of activism starts from November 25 to December10. During this period, important days and events will be recognized. It was on the same 10th December 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations. The importance of the 16 days of activism cannot be over-emphasised as it is about human rights which caters for women’s rights as well. The global theme continues to be ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World, Let’s Change Militarism and End Gender Based Violence’ while the local theme is; ‘Multi-Sectoral Approach in Ending Child Marriage and Sexual Violence’. This is based on the statistics of the number of sexual violence and child and forced marriages that have been reported by victims and survivors. This is evidenced by the number of cases recorded at the One Stop Centre at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital from January to June 2014. According to the records of the Ministry of Justice and Police Child Welfare Unit, 20 sexual violence cases have been recorded, 13 rape cases, 5 defilement cases and 2 attempted rape cases. Nineteen of these cases involve children below 18 years while some out of that number are below 11 years. During the same period, the Department of Social Welfare reported 6 physical violence, 8 emotional and psychological violence and 6 cases of forced and early marriages.”
The country director of the Action Aid International, The Gambia, Omar Badji said: “This theme remains relevant as it focuses on militarism as a creation and normalisation of a culture of fear that is supported by the use or threat of violence, aggression, as well as military intervention in response to political and social disputes or to enforce economic and political interests. The campaign advocates for awareness and action on the multi-faceted intersections of gender-based violence and militarism, while highlighting the connection between the struggle for economic and social rights and ending gender-based violence. It emphasises that women’s rights are human rights and acknowledges the role of patriarchal systems that entrench harmful traditional practices that normalise violence against women, and deny women their rights to a life of dignity.”]]>