CSO kicks against s*xual violence, says ‘Women’s bodies are not battlegrounds’

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A civil society organisation, IRIAD-The Electoral Hub, has kicked against the lingering cases of violence against women. The group in a statement Wednesday called on governments, international organisations and CSOs to work toward a world free of sexual violence and ensure support and justice for survivors.

In a statement to mark the international day the elimination of sexual violence in conflict, Princess Hamman-Obels, Director, IRIAD-The Electoral Hub said , “We urge the government, international organizations, and civil society to work together to create a world free from sexual violence and where survivors receive the support and justice. As we commemorate this day, IRIAD – The Electoral Hub calls for a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach to addressing CRSV.”

She added, “On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict June 19, 2024, we at the IRIAD – The Electoral Hub stand in solidarity with survivors and advocate for an end to this crime against humanity. This day serves as a reminder of the suffering faced by individuals worldwide who endure sexual violence in conflict areas.

“Sexual Violence in Conflict (SVC) or Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) has devastating impact on individuals, communities, and societies. As an organization dedicated to promoting democratic values and human rights, we recognize the significance of this day and the need for  collective action to combat sexual violence in conflict areas. The International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is commemorated annually to honor victims and survivors, raise awareness about the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence and acknowledge those who have dedicated their lives to fighting these atrocities.

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Specifically, she said, “Sexual violence is a significant problem in Nigeria. The ongoing violence and conflicts across different geopolitical zones of Nigeria has led to widespread sexual violence, including mass abductions of women and schoolgirls particularly in North East and North West of Nigeria. Many of these victims have been subjected to rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage.

“In 2023, humanitarian service providers registered cases of sexual violence, including sexual slavery, against 296 women, 211 girls, and 4 boys. The UN Security Council report on sexual violence in conflict indicated that non-state armed groups continued to abduct women and girls, subjecting them to rape and sexual slavery as a reward for fighters and an incentive for new recruits. The report also revealed that as compared to last year, the prevalence of conflicts such as banditry, kidnapping, sectionalist activities, etc., has led to an increased level of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). While some progress steps in addressing CRSV have been made, more still needs to be done.

To mark the day the CSO called for “Immediate action by the government to protect health care services in conflict areas and ensure that survivors receive the comprehensive care and justice.

“Multi-stakeholder approach to addressing CRSV, while urging all stakeholders – the government, international organizations, media, and civil society to work together to create a world free from sexual violence, and where survivors receive the support and justice.

“All of us to “spark hope, knowledge and inspiration as we lift our voices to say: #EndRapeInWar” #EndCRSV”

#EliminateSexualViolence #SupportSurvivorsOfCRSV #ProtectionOfWomenAndGirls #GenderAccountability #WomenLivesMatter #WomensRightsMatter

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