November 25 is the day for commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and it’s on the same day that the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence kicked off in the country.
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director, in a statement on the commemoration day, said that violence against women persists as an all too common violation of human rights and human dignity.
“Violence against women is the most prevalent and least punished crime in the world. It is also a grave threat to health and well-being. Together with the global financial crisis and climate change, it constitutes a major challenge of our time,” Obaid said.
She called on people and leaders of the world to join forces to make violence against women history and to reaffirm their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women.
“Let us raise our voices and intensify efforts for zero tolerance of violence against girls and women. And let us salute those who are working hard on this important issue. The women, men and young people who actively challenge discrimination and violence against women deserve increased support,” Obaid urged.
“Something must be done about this violence against women.
It’s the biggest problem that we women face in Africa. The men who commit the crime feel that we are inferior to them, making the violence a day to day thing,” said Claire Nyinawumuntu, a vendor in the city center. Some were of the view that the violence persists because of the ignorance of human rights by both the culprits and victims.
“It is common of men to beat and abuse women as if it is their right to do so. Some do it because they are ignorant of the crime they are committing. There is need to create more awareness about people’s human rights,” said Rosine Kizza working with Star Africa Media, Kigali. Many men are however against this violence and are in support of its end.
“Women need to be treated with respect and those that commit violence against them should be brought to justice. Women should be empowered and there should be gender equality and reproductive health and rights for women,” said Protaise Mugabo, working in Kigali.
Core to these efforts is addressing violence against women and girls, both as a human rights violation and a public health priority.