Friday, March 8, 2013

Gambia to impose harsher penalties for sexual, domestic violence

Gambia's Vice President Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy says bills are being prepared to impose harsher penalties for crimes of domestic violence, and sexual offences (Photo Credit: M.E. Njie/Jan2013)
In The Gambia, two bills are being formulated by the government meant to imposing harsher penalties for crimes of domestic violence, and sexual offences especially rape.

The preparation of the Domestic Violence, and Sexual Offences Bills 2012 are currently being discuss at the cabinet and the national assembly – in an attempt to address violence against women’s and girls in the tiny west African country. 
Women at work – Gambia
Women at work – Gambia (Photo credit: dw_globalideas)

Ahead of the March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day, Gambia’s Vice President, Dr Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy said the purposes of the bills are to combat domestic violence, provide protection for the victims of domestic violence, and to amend related laws and procedures related to the trial of rape and other sexual offences.

In her televised statement on Wednesday aired over the state television ahead of the International Women’s Day on 8 March

The international theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “The gender agenda: gaining momentum”’, however, on Wednesday March 6, Dr Njie-Saidy announces Gambia’s theme for the celebration is “The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”.


UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet ...
UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet meets Vice President of Gambia (Photo credit: UN Women Gallery)

The local theme is relevant and timely as many studies had reveled that gender based violence is real and widespread phenomenon in many countries within and among all social groupings and geographical locations as well, she said.


“Cognizance to the devastating effects of the violence on the health, social as well economical advancement of women and girls and its consequences on the national economy at large, series of international conventions, protocols and agreements had been ratified by The Gambia government,” she added.


She said various national laws and policies are developed to ensure effective gender mainstreaming and the protection of women and girls and their rights. 


English: Photo taken for public use
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is a strong advocate for Women's Rights, she condemns violations against women and girls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She noted that The Gambia has set up broad-based mechanism for addressing violence against women and girls through domestication the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Right of Women in Africa, and the Beijing Platform of Action. 


According to her, The Gambia has also fulfilled its obligations on the implementation of the CEDAW and other international and regional conventions and treaties such as the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, and the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020.  


Written by Modou S. Joof

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