The Gambia government has formulated two bills that are imposing harsher penalties and severe punishments for domestic violence, and sexual offences particularly rape.
The formulation of the Domestic Violence, and Sexual Offences bills 2012, both of which are being discussed at the National Assembly, is geared toward addressing violence against women’s and girls.
In her statement on Wednesday aired over the state television ahead of the International Women’s Day, Gambian Vice President, Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, said the main purposes of both 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.
The international theme for this year’s Day is "The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum" while Gambia’s national theme is "The Elimination and Prevention of all forms of Violence against Women’s and Girls".
VP Njie-Saidy noted that the local theme is relevant and timely as many studies revealed that gender based violence is real and a widespread phenomenon in many countries within and among all social groupings and geographical locations as well.
"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 said.
The VP, who is also the minister of Women’s Affairs, pointed out that the government has set up broad based mechanism for addressing violence against women and girls through domestication of international conventions such as Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the protocol of the African Charter on Humans and Peoples Right on the Right of Women in Africa as well as the Beijing Platform of Action.
She claimed that the country has also fulfilled its obligation on the implementation of the CEDAW and other international and regional conventions and treaties such as the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, African Women’s Decade 2010 – 2020.
Source African Press Agency
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