GBV increasing in conflict zones: Katjavivi

WINDHOEK: In spite of efforts to address gender-based violence (GBV) it has been increasing especially in conflict zones, a Namibian politician said on Tuesday.

Addressing members of the media on the outcome of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict held in London from 10 to 13 June, Professor Peter Katjavivi, who headed the Namibian delegation to that summit, said quite often both national and rebel forces are implicated in GBV, and sadly also at times peacekeeping troops.

Other members of the Namibian delegation were Namibian High Commissioner to London Steve Katjiuanjo, Lieutenant-General Karel Ndjoba and Colonel Fina Amupolo both from the Ministry of Defence.

Katjavivi, the Swapo-Party Chief Whip in the National Assembly, said that the host government should be encouraged by all means to acknowledge its limitations and request an adequate level of support which will enhance the capacity of international interventions to be effective.

“Where the host government’s troops are implicated, it should be ready to bring its troops to account,” he noted, adding that failure to do so should prompt a call for sanctions, with both regional and international backing.

Katjavivi explained that lessons from the summit are that there is a lot more Namibia can do to prevent, investigate and prosecute the culprits who are involved in these crimes.

“We need to commit more financial and human resources, have more proactive laws, as well as ensure a stronger political will to bring the perpetrators to account,” he said.

Another lesson learned by Namibia, he said, is that all personnel involved in conflict zones should have specialised training to enable them to identify and combat sexual violence in their line of duty.

On financial and human resources, Katjavivi noted that financial resources should be adequately mobilised to help GBV-focal point personnel in conflict zones to undertake their responsibilities.

He stressed that nations at their individual level and also globally should collaborate to combat GBV both under normal circumstances and during times of conflict.