Africa: A Loud and Clear "No" to Violence against Women
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 1:10 AM

Representatives from UN agencies and the governments and civil societies of 14 Southern African countries met at a regional consultation held May 11-12 for a Southern African strategy to support the Africa-UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls campaign.

The UNiTE campaign, a multi-year effort to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence, was launched in 2008 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Heads of states and ministers from 69 countries and more than 700 parliamentarians have since added their signatures to "Say NO - UNiTE," a web platform developed by UNIFEM to showcase actions by individuals, organizations, and governments to address gender-based violence. UNiTE aims to achieve five goals by 2015:

  • Adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls
  • Adopt and implement multi-sectoral national action plans
  • Strengthen data collection on the prevalence of violence against women and girls
  • Increase public awareness and social mobilization
  • Address sexual violence in conflict

When the Africa component of the UNiTE campaign was launched in January, 17 African countries committed themselves to enforcing existing agreements and commitments to end violence against women, including the Convention on the Elimination of Discimination against Women (CEDAW), the Rome Statute, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender and Development Protocol. Each SADC country has drafted or enacted a national action plan to end violence against women.

Compiled from: Paula Fray, A Loud and Clear No to Violence Against Women, Inter Press Service News Agency (12 May 2010).