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UNFPA urges governments to enable elimination of women abuse

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Governments have been urged to excise their responsibility to protect vulnerable groups, especially women and children, through the formulation and adoption of laws that will enable the apprehension of those guilty of abusing and perpetrating violence against them with a view to arraign the culprits before the courts.

To this end, the right of every woman to live in dignity and free of fear, coercion and violence as well as discrimination was highlighted.

Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Thoraya Obaid pointed out that every woman has the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health. She added, “Yet, for hundreds of millions of girls and women worldwide, these human rights are denied.”

Thus, the sixteen days of activism against gender based violence was viewed as an opportunity to speak out forcefully for zero tolerance of all forms of violence against women and girls.

In a statement from the UNFPA office in Geneva, containing her speech on the International day of the elimination of violence and discrimination against women and children, Obaid, made the point that due cognizance should be given to the fact that these were not just women’s issues, but rather everyone’s business.

Families and communities, she said can and actually have the muscle to change social norms and attitudes.

So that in the same vein societies can guarantee the right to sexual and reproductive health, which includes services for family planning, maternal health and HIV prevention, and the ability to make free and informed choices about reproduction.

Khin ÔÇôSandi Lwin, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Botswana, said at the Gender Pitso in held Gaborone this week that 60% 0f all adults living with HIV are women, while for Botswana HIV prevalence is almost double for females in the age groups 15-39.

Regarding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), “…of the 8 MDGs, MDG 3 on women’s empowerment and gender equality is showing the slowest level of progress,” said Lwin.

Lwin expressed concern that, that was despite the fact that it was not only a goal in itself but its achievement was supposed to be a means to the achievement of yet other goals on poverty, universal primary education environment and maternal health as well as child health and HIV and AIDS.

In conclusion, the UNFPA Executive Director posited, “We are working to promote the right to sexual and reproductive health and carry forward the recommendations in Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. And we are proud to be a key partner of the UN Secretary-General’s Campaign, ‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women, and the United Nations Task Force on Violence against Women.”

We are convinced that a coordinated and comprehensive approach will move us closer to a world where women and girls can live free from fear, violence and discrimination, reach their full potential, and enjoy equal opportunity and mutual respect and confidence with men.