Lilongwe, The Vice President of Malawi Saulosi Chilima says government will continue to put in place mechanisms in all sectors to ensure that legal and strategic frameworks on gender based violence related laws are effectively implemented.
Chilima was speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday during the launch of end violence against women and girls campaign organised by Oxfam Malawi in Lilongwe.
He said government is committed to increasing access to justice as well as ensuring availability and accessibility of services such as mobile courts and one stop centres in health facilities for quality services in the mitigation of violence.
Chilima observed that there is need to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls that includes trafficking, sexual abuse and other types of exploitation.
The prevalence rate of violence against women and girls in Malawi is very high a development which is very worrisome hence the need to stop the malpractice, pointed Chilima
He revealed that recent statistics show that 42 percent of women in Malawi have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence in their life time and that one in every two girls is married before the age of 18.
Chilima appealed to all Malawians to desist from getting involved in the evil malpractices and encourage women economic empowerment in all sectors.
He commended civil society organisations like Oxfam in supporting government efforts in ending violence and accomplishing development goals.
Speaking earlier Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalirani said government has enhanced capacity building for the police to handle reported cases of GBV professionally with the provision of victim support unit to bring the issues on spotlight
She noted that 2013 survey estimated that girls aged 13 to 24 years experienced physical and emotional violence before the age of 18 with a few reported cases.
He assured Malawians that government in collaboration with nongovernmental organisations, traditional leaders, faith community and media are working hand in hand to ensure that harmful cultural practices which contribute a lot to issues of GBV are completely eliminated in all forms.
In his remarks Oxfam Country Director for Malawi, John Makina called for everyone to report perpetrators of GBV who go unpunished and support the campaign of ending violence against women and girls.
He said his organisation is launching the campaign to respond to increasing incidences of violence against women and girls which are being recorded everyday globally and particularly in Malawi.
Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, a major obstacle to women and girls development and the most barriers to our mission to ending poverty, stressed Makina.
Makina further said there is need for collaborated efforts to sufficiently invest in improving quality and availability support and essential services for people that are affected by gender based violence especially women and girls.
He pointed out that Oxfam is committed to protecting women and girls’ rights and believes that through the ongoing awareness campaign a message will be sent to all and that everyone would take action to end violence against women and girls.
He appealed to traditional and faith leaders as well as all men to transform the socio norms that make women and girls suffer in silence.
Speaking at the same function a gender based violence victim, Jessie Mchekeni who hails from Traditional Authority Zulu in Mchinji appealed to government to put women rights at the centre of its policies.
She said she is a victim of gender based violence when he lost her husband in 1996 and went through hell to raise her children when all the property was grabbed by the members of her late husband’s family.
Women have to be respected and women are not sex objects that can be used and damped anyhow, lamented Mchekeni.
Mchekeni added that there is need to consolidate and intensify efforts and initiatives for women and girls prevention from gender based violence.
The launch drew participants from all sectors that included government, nongovernmental organisations, traditional leaders, political parties, and youths in the country and has been suppotted by Irish Aid through Oxfam Ireland and Oxfam Great Britain.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA