Dr Afisah Zakaria

The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MoGCSP), has launched a ‘16-day activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence with a call to desist from perpetrating violence against women and girls.

It said from January to October 2020, data from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service revealed that a total of 4,407 assault cases, 870 defilement cases, and 257 rape cases were recorded in the country.

Threat of harm cases numbered 1,002, threat of death 966, indecent assault 182 and 786 emotional abuse cases were also recorded during the same period.

Dr Afisah Zakaria, the Chief Director, MoGCSP, who made the call noted that violence against women and girls was perpetrated for far too long thus, the need to accelerate action to curb and protect them.

“By doing that, you will be fighting the course of the vulnerable, who may not be able to fight for themselves,” she said.

The global theme for this year is: “Fund, Respond, Prevent and Collect” however, Ghana is embarking on the campaign on the theme; “Accelerate Action to Prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the wake of COVID-19: The Role of Sustainable Funding”.

She said investing to create safe spaces for women and girls could not wait any longer as violence against them had was compounded especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Zakaria said to accelerate action to prevent and respond to the needs of survivors, the Ministry in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has renovated the Domestic Violence Shelter which would be handed over soon.

She said within the campaign period, the Ministry would also engage the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance Scheme to discuss the long-standing issue of medical bills for survivors.

“We are aware that government alone cannot do it all therefore, we call on corporate bodies and individuals as well as religious organizations to contribute to the fund,” she said.

The Chief Director encouraged the media to use their platforms to educate the public on the negative implications of sexual and gender-based violence on the survivor, their families and society at large.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is an annual international Campaign that runs between the November 25 which marks the International Day for the Elimination of violence against women to December 10 Human Rights Day.

The campaign affords individuals, groups and organizations to step up their activities and consider best strategies as well as create new partnerships while strengthening existing ones.

Mrs Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, Director and Representative, UNOPS and Chair UN Gender Team, pledged the UN System support to Ghana in its efforts to address SGBV in the country.

She said though Ghana had robust policies and signatory to many international as well as human rights frameworks, the needed progress was yet to be realized.

She urged stakeholders to rally around the global theme to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
Mrs Charles-Monwuba called for the need to organize, brainstorm, build synergies, to ensure that government stood with SGBV survivors, increase resource allocation for addressing these issues, improve services of survivors, prosecute offenders and perpetrators of violence among others.

These, among others she said would aid the fight against SGBV in the country. Ms Malonin Asibi, the Head of Domestic Violence Secretariat, MoGCSP, said Gender-Based Violence was one of the most heinous human rights violations that targeted women and girls in all spheres of their lives.

She noted that this deprived women and girls of their dignity, rights, and livelihoods and cut short their dreams of great future that they envisaged for themselves and families.

Ms Asibi outlined that after the launch there would be TV and radio talk shows across the regions on SGBV as well as a What Do You Know quiz competition to climax the campaign.

She expressed gratitude to the UNFPA, Women in Law and Development Africa Ghana (WiLDAF), Oxfam in Ghana and other development partners for their support.

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