Press release to mark beginning of 16 days activism on elimination of violence against women and girls
As the world marks international day for the elimination of violence against women on November 25 2023, the Human Rights Institute of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-HRI) calls on federal and state governments to adopt and fully implement the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015, with the aim to punishing and preventing all forms of violence against women and children.
NBA-HRI also calls on the National Assembly to urgently pass into law the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, which aims to domesticate the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
The VAPP Act was passed into law as a means to preventing and curbing gender- based violence, including domestic or spousal violence, traditional harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child or early marriages, rape and other forms of sexual assaults, sexual harassment at workplace and schools, gender discrimination in employment, renumeration and in public space, harmful widowhood practices, among others.
Though the VAPP Act was passed 8 years ago, only a few states have adopted its provisions, and none of the states have set up the necessary infrastructure for its full implementation. NBA-HRI believes that such important law should be the priority of all governments and law enforcement and prosecution agencies at federal and state levels.
The international day for the elimination of violence against women marks the start of 16 days activism against all forms of gender-based violence, which will culminate at the International human rights day of December 10, 2023. For these 16 days of activism, the NBA-HRI will daily remind the government institutions and officials on the dangers of violence against women especially sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on the economic and social development of the country. The continued exclusion of women from political and economic space are serious forms of gender discrimination, which hinder Nigeria’s growth. In the 2023 elections, less number of women were elected or appointed into offices than in previous election cycles, and Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of women in public life in Africa.
The governments in Nigeria must make deliberate effort to curb and prevent violence against women, and indeed, all forms of discrimination against women in Nigeria.
NBA-HRI calls on all ministries of justice at federal and state levels to establish specialised departments for the prosecutions of sexual and gender based crimes. All the police divisions should establish specialised desks for the investigation of SGBV as well as the judiciary as federal and state levels to establish specialised courts for handling SGBV cases in order to ensure that cases of violence against women are speedily and effectively dealt with
The NBA-HRI is available to provide the necessary support required to the state institutions in ensuring that impunity in the area of SGBV is reduced and that violence against women and girls are eliminated in Nigeria
Dated 25th November 2023
Chino Obiagwu SAN