The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has identified cumbersome judicial processes as the major hindrance to prosecution and getting justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence in Anambra.
The NHRC Coordinator in Anambra, Mrs Nkechi Ugwuanyi, made the disclosure at a news conference to announce the 16 Days of Activism Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Awka, on Wednesday.
The 16 Days activism is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls, which runs every year from Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to Dec.10, International Human Rights Day.
Ugwuanyi said that 80 per cent of complaints of human rights abuse received in Anambra were cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
“The cases rang from domestic violence, rape to female genital mutilation, female disinheritance, widowhood practice, threat to life and sexual abuse.
“The cases of sexual and gender-based violence continue to increase in the state in spite of the existing laws and the efforts of the commission because perpetrators are increasingly not being held to account.
“Cumbersome process of prosecuting offenders and judicial process make victims and families resort to settling out of court, and the perpetrator will go free.
“This is because the perpetrators understand these challenge, they continue to commit the crime,” she said.
Ugwuanyi, also identified ignorance of the law, poverty, lack of evidence, stigma, illiteracy, cultural issues and lack of sensitisation as some other issues driving violence against women and girls.
She said that the 16 Days activism would be carried out in collaboration with the civil society organisations and would feature road show, advocacy visits to traditional and religious leaders.
“From tomorrow (Thursday), we will start taking the campaign on violence against women and girls and the need to respect human rights, to the communities and schools.
“We urge the media to help publicise these problems so that the government and other stakeholders can do the needful to curb the trend of violence against women and girls,” she said.
The coordinator said that the commission would continue to pursue human rights protection with all vigour, describing it as the bedrock of human dignity.(NAN)