First Lady calls for one-stop centre for GBV issues

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—–First Lady, Christine Kaseba-Sata, has called for establishment of one-stop centres to handle and deal with issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Dr Kaseba also called for critical investment in the clinical care and judicial services to mitigate the impact of Gender Based Violence, especially in developing countries to mitigate the implications of Gender Based Violence on women and girls.

Speaking when she addressed the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held at the United Nations headquarters yesterday, the First Lady observed that unfavourable policies and delayed procedure perpetrated the negative impact and suffering of GBV victims.

Dr Kaseba, who is the World Health Organisation (WHO) Good Will Ambassador of Gender Based Violence, said GBV is a silent epidemic and has a lot of challenges that hinder its fight and total elimination due to high levels of poverty resulting into women being vulnerable at various levels.

The First Lady said some of the challenges are cultural related as many communities shy away from speaking about GBV, a situation which she said has greatly contributed in perpetrating the vice in many poor African countries.

Dr Kaseba, who shared an experience of a nine-month old baby who was raped and later died due to parents hiding the real cause of its sickness due to traditional beliefs and values, also called for improved infrastructural set up if GBV cases were to be dealt with confidentially, expeditiously and in a dignified manner.

She also said financial constraints and lack of forensic equipment in poor countries also adds misery to GBV victims as their cases either delay or get thrown out due to inadequate or lost data in the long, expensive and tedious process.

Dr Kaseba further called on UN member states to domesticate the many agreements and charters that were already in place and strengthen mechanisms that empower women with knowledge so that they slowly become economically independent and slide away from poverty and GBV vulnerability.

And Norwegian State Secretary and Deputy Minister of International Development, Avinn Gadgil, described the First Lady’s address as the most touching and inspiring at the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Mr Gadgil also called the judicial systems not only to concentrate on punishing perpetrators of GBV but also to be looking at preventive measures against the vice.

He observed that the judiciary world over has little to do in GBV prevention, adding that the vice undermines the integrity of women and society as a whole and should not only be punishable but also preventable by the judicial systems.

The 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women is expected to provide the necessary guidance and direction to further promote gender equity, equality and the empowerment of women.

The Session, which commenced sitting last Monday, is being held under the theme, “Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls” is expected to end on March 15th.