The regional component of the United Nations Secretary Global UNiTE campaign - Africa UNiTE, was launched on 30 January 2010 by the UN Secretary General and the African Union Commission Chairman, in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The campaign builds on the African Union’s (AU) policy commitments on ending violence against women and girls, as in the spirit of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the AU Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa. The overall objective of the campaign is to address all forms of violence against women and girls in Africa through prevention, adequate response, policy development, implementation, and ending impunity.
With the ultimate goal of reducing the prevalence of violence against women and girls, the Africa UNiTE campaign aims to create a favorable and supportive environment for governments, in partnership with civil society experts, to be able to fulfill existing policy commitments. Its objectives, as outlined in the Africa UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls Framework and Work plan, are as follows:
To raise awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls in Africa
To create a favorable and supportive environment for governments, in partnership with civil society, experts, entities of the United Nations systems and other stakeholders to fulfill existing policy commitments
WHY THE CAMPAIGN?
One of the major achievements of the 20th century has been the development of a rich body of international, regional and national laws affirming the equal rights of all human beings. This is more so in the field of women’s rights as the problems associated with violence against women have gained increasing recognition. Many international, regional and national legal instruments dealing with human rights include the protection of women from violence. However, in spite of the many legal structures that presently exist to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence in general, African communities are yet to stamp out or significantly reduce cases of violence against women. The victims of this vice in Africa, like in most other societies in the world are mostly women. Its ugly face spans from physical abuse and sexual violence, to subtle violations such as verbal abuse and deprivation of their entitlements within the family. The above sentiments are mirrored in the article by Marren Akatsa, also published in this special issue of Pambazuka News.
The causes of these abuses are well known and documented. They range from: the low status society accords to women, to poor policy and legal frameworks that condone or ignore the prevalence and perpetuation of violence against women and girls coupled with inadequate state action to mobilize different stakeholders, to commit adequate resources to prevent, investigate, punish perpetrators of violence against women or to provide redress for women survivors which has contributed to impunity.
The implications of the impunity with which society and governments treat gender-based violence dehumanizes women, whose concerns are trivialized by the very society in which they play significant social and economic roles for the better of these societies.
For more information visit http://www.africaunitecampaign.org/