The Vice President who is also the Minister for Women’s Affairs led The Gambia’s delegation to the global convergence and arrived in New York City on Saturday. The event brings together delegates from around the world to discuss issues affecting women and map out the way forward for women’s advancement. At press time, Njie-Saidy was expected to deliver a speech on behalf of the Gambia government on its stance in empowering women’s participation in decision making, among other gender-related issues.
UN chief scribe backs end to FGM, others
Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General has said his institution will back the campaign to end the various forms of violation of the rights of women including female genital mutilation.
Ban Ki Moon who spoke through a message as part of activities marking the International Women’s Day said, “Even in societies at peace, too many girls and women are still targets of domestic abuse, female genital mutilation and other forms of violence.”
The UN chief scribe’s message reads in part: “Twenty years ago, when the world convened a landmark conference on women’s human rights, the devastating conflict in the former Yugoslavia prompted deserved attention to rape and other war crimes there against civilians. Two decades later, with girls as young as seven not only targeted but used as weapons by violent extremists, it would be easy to lose heart about the value of international gatherings. But while we have a long way to go to achieve full equality – with ending gender-based violence a central goal – progress over the past two decades has proven the enduring value of the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women.
“Since the adoption of its Declaration and Platform for Action, more girls have attained more access to more education than ever before. The number of women dying in childbirth has been almost halved. More women are leading businesses, governments and global organisations. I welcome these advances. At the same time, on this International Women’s Day, we must acknowledge that the gains have been too slow and uneven, and that we must do far more to accelerate progress everywhere.
“The world must come together in response to the targeting of women and girls by violent extremists. From Nigeria and Somalia to Syria and Iraq, the bodies of women have been transformed into battlegrounds for warriors carrying out specific and systematic strategies, often on the basis of ethnicity or religion. Women have been attacked for trying to exercise their right to education and basic services; they have been raped and turned into sex slaves; they have been given as prizes to fighters, or traded among extremist groups in trafficking networks. Doctors, nurses and others have been assassinated for trying to operate in their professional capacity. The women human rights defenders brave enough to challenge such atrocities risk – and sometimes lose – their lives for the cause.”]]>