No Place for GBV in Namibia

SWAPO Party Chief Whip, Professor Peter Katjavivi, says there should be no hiding place for perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) and those who commit such crimes should be held accountable and prosecuted.

Katjavivi returned from London, U.K where, together with representatives of various countries, attended a ‘Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’ with a special focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that took place from 10 to 13 June.

The summit also drew attention to countries like South Sudan, Somalia, Kosovo and Colombia where sexual and GBV atrocities have been committed in conflict zones. He said Namibia needs to implement concrete actions, commit specialised human resources and employ proactive laws to combat GBV, while a ger political will and specialised training to identify and combat sexual violence is also needed to fight GBV.

“Why should victims continue to suffer?” asked Katjavivi, adding that in some cases own families and community reject victims of GBV.

A Namibian delegation comprised of Katjavivi, Namibian High Commissioner to the UK Steve Katjiuanjo, and officials from the Ministry of Defence Brigadier General Karel Ndjoba and Colonel Fina Amupolo also attended the summit in London. Katjavivi placed specific emphasis on improved accountability on sexual violence related matters during conflicts through the deployment of sexual and gender–based violence expertise, as well as the role of regional organisations in supporting states to address sexual violence in conflict.

“Namibia like many other countries is confronted by various forms of sexual and gender-based violence and therefore attached great importance to this global summit and further looked forward to concrete actions emanating from this summit,” he said.

He said they have formulated a detailed ‘Statement of Action’ to be followed.

Ahead of the global summit in London, British High Commissioner to Namibia, Marianne Young, said during a United Nations’ Model simulation debate on the topic of Preventing Sexual Violence at UNAM that in Namibia, gender based violence is a human rights challenge of endemic proportions. “It is estimated that one third of Namibian women have experienced or will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. It requires all the ingenuity and persistence that diplomacy can bring to bear to tackle such matter and it should be part of the mission of each ambassador in every embassy of all nations around the globe to address such issues,” she said.

In May 2012, William Hague and Honorary Namibian citizen, UN Special Envoy for Refugees, Angelina Jolie launched the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) which aims to strengthen and support international efforts to respond to sexual violence in conflict – including by enhancing the capacity of countries, institutions and communities to support survivors and end impunity for perpetrators. “Sexual violence is often one of the first things that happens as soon as conflict or instability take hold. Yet it is usually the last thing to be taken into account by those ending wars or rebuilding nations,” said Young. The summit hopes to improve accountability at the national and international level, including through increased documentation and investigations provide greater support and protection to survivors of sexual violence, including children ensure sexual and gender based violence responses and the promotion of gender equality are fully integrated in all peace and security efforts, including security and justice sector reform and improve international strategic co-operation. The Namibian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Gender Equality and Family Affairs also resolved that vigorous country wide campaigns against (GBV) be initiated involving government leaders, Members of Parliament, religious leaders, traditional leaders, community leaders, civic organizations, regional councils, local authority councils and the community as a whole. “As a committee, we have already started working with traditional leaders but the relationship should be strengthened and ongoing,” announced Alexia Manombe-Ncube, chairperson of the parliamentary committee a few months ago.

She said it was important that government and all other public leaders should speak out against GBV at all given opportunities and set an example to the people.

The committee further resolved that the Ministry of Education should introduce a curricula in schools that should include education on GBV related matters and introduce programs on anger control and anger management. “The assumption is that by exposing children to non-violent alternatives, providing them with conflict resolution and anger management skills alongside a respect for others and tolerance of diversity, violent behaviour in adults can be prevented,” said Manombe-Ncube.

Source : New Era