By Mustapha S Koli
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and partners on Monday 5th December, 2022 commemorated the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence held at Youth Monument at Westfield. The celebration under the theme: “Unite! ACTIVISM TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS” is a global commitment to accelerate and intensify efforts to end violence against Women and Girls.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that is commemorated yearly from 25th November and runs through 10th December, which is declared as an International Human Rights Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Madam. Fatou Kinteh said that, “I would therefore like to take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements registered in The Gambia and the world at large in curbing sexual and gender-based violence, violence against women and girls, but most importantly the challenges that survivors continue to face on a daily basis “She noted.
She pointed out that with this year’s theme, “UNiTE! Activism To End Violence Against Women and Girls!”, the 16 Days of Activism Campaign calls for strong action through activism to raise awareness against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, strengthen the referral pathways and mechanism for but most importantly to unite as government, civil society, private and public spaces to combat Sexual and Gender-Based Violence both nationally and internationally.
“As Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the government of The Gambia in its commitment to protect the rights and welfares of the Gambian people, whilst ensuring that the fundamental human rights of women and girls are fully protected but also challenged Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector and other stakeholders, to also intensify their effort’s in the campaign against Sexual and Gender Based violence in the Country”, Minister Kinteh stated.
Ms. Seraphine Wakana, UN Resident Coordinator in the Gambia, posited that the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence should be continuous. “I urge you all to get involved, collaborate, support and participate in all national efforts in eradicating Sexual Gender-Based Violence.
“The UN Country Team is committed to, and remains steadfast in uniting with partners and providing relevant support towards fighting against Sexual Gender-Based Violence and Violence Against Women and Girls,” Wakana affirmed.
She noted that the involvement of all stakeholders in the collaborating to fight against Violence Against Women, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic and current economic hardships, is critical.
In her keynote address the First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, Madam Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow dilated on the efforts of the Gambia Government to fight Sexual Gender Based Violence and Violence Against Women in the Country.
She emphasized that, Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world which needs effective collaboration and cooperation to enhance the welfare of Women and Girls in the country.
She finally assured the gathering of her office’s continuous support in the elimination of GBV, noting that unity is critical in the fight against Sexual Gender-Based Violence and thanked the UN Agencies, particularly the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for supporting the cause of the Gambia Government in its national development agenda.