Weekly Highlight of WPS on the African Continent from 21st to 25th September 2020

South African’s new bill to tackle GBV

The consistent advocacy of South African Citizens in the call for justice with regards to the issues of gender-based violence is yielding results. The Government of South Africa recently introduced new bills to parliament that would bring justice for victims of gender-based violence. As with many legislative processes, the hearings and readings present an opportunity for the public to have a say in what can be included in the bill.

Further details available here: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/south-africa-new-laws-gender-violence-what-to-know/

New report shows voices of women are overshadowed in Nigeria with respect to pandemic  

A new report published by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that the voices of women have been drowned out by the voices of men in some countries in Africa like Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. With Nigeria the leading in this report, men are quoted 5 times more than frequently in the news than women. The report showed a strong bias towards men’s perspective of the pandemic. This is important as the pandemic has affected women more in terms of Gender Based Violence, economically, and the sexual reproductive health rights of women in Africa. With this known fact, women are not being given the chance to shape the conversations around a pandemic that affects them.

Further details available here:https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/416650-womens-voices-drowned-out-in-covid-19-reporting-in-nigeria-us-others-report.html

Sex for survival

With the reality of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria leaving many internally displaced in Nigeria, many women and girls are forced to look to the government for protection, shelters, and their daily needs for survival. In most of the government camps, reports have shown sexual assaults for food on the part of the camp officials towards young girls repeatedly. With no were else to go for their basic needs, they are forced to stay with their abusers.

Further details available here:https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/415976-sex-for-survival-how-officials-use-underage-idp-girls-as-objects-of-pleasure.html

More killings after the UN Global Ceasefire Resolution

With more than 20,000 civilians killed in 2019 in 10 conflicts around the world, 5 in the African continent (Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan) In March 2020, the Secretary General of the United Nations reiterated his call for a global ceasefire. This call has had little effect as it was recently reported that over 21,000 people have been killed in conflict as well as from famine.  Additionally, the battle against the COVID pandemic and has made access to affected areas difficult leading to reduced humanitarian support services.

Further details available here:https://allafrica.com/stories/202009250075.html

High Economic Cost of Domestic Violence

The narrative on domestic violence has traditionally measured its effect on the wellbeing on women and children. A new report from the Commonwealth Secretariat explored the financial and economic cost of domestic violence using Lesotho as a case study. The report concludes that the Kingdom of Lesotho spends billions of dollars it cannot afford on tackling domestic violence. In Lesotho, the government has spent ($113 dollars a year) 5.5% of its GDP in tackling this issue as it places a burden on the health care system, police, and judiciary. The report also measures the economic cost of children being absent from school and victims and survivors being absent from their jobs.

Further details available here:https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/domestic-violence-cost-study-lesotho/

African Women and the fight for a better life

Millions of migrant women in search of a better life have faced danger which have left many dead. A report by the Human Rights Watch titled ‘Without Protection’, shows that the Lebanese justice system fails migrant African women workers despite their huge economic importance to their original and host societies. The demeaning lifestyles of most migrant women who work in Lebanon is bundled into an archaic tradition known as the Kafala which allows domestic workers total suppression by their master. This system has been known to give freedom to the so-called masters to treat these non-Lebanese domestic staff in an inhumane manner with some losing their lives in the process.

Further details available here: The Forgotten African Slaves of Lebanon

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