As the 16 Days of Activism Campaign on No Violence against Women and Children reaches its half-way mark, Government calls on all stakeholders to intensify efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and child abuse including the shocking incident of rape of a 7-year-old girl at a primary school in Soweto on Monday.
Police should ensure that culprit(s) involved in this incident is brought to book and support is provided to the girl and her family to deal with the trauma.
The 16 Days Campaign was launched on November 25 (International Day of No Violence Against Women) and runs up to December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Government congratulates Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Mr Dean Peacock of Sonke Gender Justice Network for being selected into the Network of Leaders to support the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign. Government supports the call by the campaign for drawing up of multi stakeholder action plans for ending gender violence.
Since the Campaign marks its 10th anniversary this year, the activities of Government and stakeholders have focused on reviewing the campaign, finding measures to enhance impact and extending interventions over the 365 days of the year.
Review processes have highlighted significant progress in increasing public awareness but equally acknowledged that much effort is still needed to reduce the unacceptably high incidents of violence.
A National Stakeholder Summit on 25 November attended by delegates from Government and more than 100 non-governmental organizations agreed that there was a need to further strengthen partnerships between government and civil society.
The Summit further resolved that more effort is needed to ensure that existing pieces of legislation, policies and strategies relating to violence against women and children are fully implemented, progress monitored and there should be accountability for performance. There is a need for allocation of adequate resources for effective implementation of programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and child abuse.
Government reaffirms its commitment to an inclusive review of the National Action Plan to End Gender Violence and further calls on all partners to join hands in extending the Sixteen Day campaign to a 365 day programme.
Government representatives have met with civil society representatives that had expressed concern about the location of the campaign within government, the consultation process regarding the 365 Days Action Plan and the activities of the National Gender Machinery.
The Ministry and Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is the lead agency within Government on issues pertaining to the protection and promotion of rights of women, children and persons with disabilities.
In the implementation of this year’s 16 Days Campaign, the Department collaborated with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs where the 16 Days Project office was allocated before the establishment of the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities. This internal organizational arrangement of Government was communicated at least in three consultative meetings held with stakeholders to prepare for the campaign.
Following its initial consultative meeting with gender organizations on 31 July 2009, the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is inviting all stakeholders to a National Gender Machinery meeting to be held on December 14. At this meeting, the Ministry will report back on the progress made in the development of its organizational structure, discuss the programme of action for the Ministry and agree on an inclusive process for a review the 365 Days National Action Plan.
Government reaffirms its commitment to strengthening partnerships and encourage participation of all stakeholders in a coordinated multi-sectoral response to the scourge of violence against women and children.
The observation of the World AIDS Day addressed by President Jacob Zuma on December 01 once again highlighted the link between gender-based violence and the spread of HIV infection and government’s resolve to respond to HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The observation of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities today will also highlight the challenges of gender-based violence and abuse faced by people with disabilities. The national event to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be addressed by the Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and it takes place at DF Malan Hall in Stellenbosch, Western Cape today.
For more information contact:
Spokespersons for the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities
Cell: 082 772 0161
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)