28 November 2012

Gambia: EU-UN Celebrate Elimination of Violence Against Women

The European Union delegation and the United Nations system in the Gambia with their development partners, including women's rights advocates, media and other stakeholders to commemorate the international day for elimination of violence against women. This important event took place at the Kariaba Beach Hotel on 27 November 2012.

The high table Ms Pamela Cole, WANEP far right, Dr. Isatou Touray, GAMCOTRAP; Dr. Dike, UN resident Coordinator, EU charge de' affairs Ms Guillaud, Mr. Sonko, WB and Ms Cham, FLAG

Speaking at the event, Madam Agnes Guillaud,Charge D'Affaires of the European Union delegation to the Gambia, said this is a joint EU-UN event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. "This Day was originally set aside as a tribute to three Dominican sisters, political activists known as the Hermanas Mirabal, who were brutally assassinated by the Trujillo dictatorship on 25 November 1960. The sisters, referred to as the "unforgettable butterflies", worked tirelessly for the freedom and respect for human rights of all, in the face of constant persecution." Said Madam Guillaud.

She stated that they have become the symbol of both popular and feminist resistance.

EU charge d'affaires said the importance of this Day in raising awareness of the appalling suffering that millions of women and girls face everyday cannot be overstated. No country is immune to the scourge of violence against women - it is present in every country, and cuts across boundaries of culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age.

The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in the Gambia Ms Chenwe Dike said on 17th December 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25th November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Resolution 54/134). Since that time, the UN, National Governments, NGOs and Civil Society have observed this important day alike.

She stated that the United Nations defines violence against women as "Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life."

Ms Dike noted that Violence against Women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, subsequently leading to domination over and discrimination against women and girls by men and retarding the full advancement of women. Men, women, boys and girls may all be subjected to violence but women and girls are the most affected, she said.

The full report of the event will be published in our subsequent issues including the presentations by panellists from GAMCOTRAP, FLAG, WANEP and women's bureau etc.

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