Source: Botswana Daily News

Kanye South MP Dr Lemogang Kwape has underscored the need for all to take part in eliminating all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) as it robbed individuals of their human right.

Dr Kwape, who is the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, said this recently when giving a keynote address at a seminar organised by Peculiar Dreams Organisation aimed at raising awareness on GBV.

Describing GBV as a serious problem that had lasting and harmful effects on individuals, families and communities, he said the goal was for all to take part in preventing it.

"Our efforts should ultimately reduce the occurrence of GBV by promoting healthy, respectful, non-violent relationships and this can only be achieved by addressing change at all levels of our social ecology," he said.

Noting that GBV was most prevalent among women and children, Dr Kwape said there was therefore need for the integration of the perpetrators, mostly men, in prevention and response efforts.

He said government was currently implementing a number of strategies were being with the aim of ending GBV.

As part of those efforts, First Lady Neo Masisi was leading a campaign to ensure the protection of women and children.

"Our first lady has embarked on a countrywide range of activities as she is concerned about the disturbing levels of GBV in the country. The notion is to ensure that all understand that GBV needs to be eliminated," he said.

Dr Kwape pointed out that the Administration of Justice and Botswana Police Service had set up GBV dedicated courts and units respectively.

"Government has also taken a tough stance to ensure that perpetrators of GBV who are found guilty face the full might of the law," he said.

The minister said withdrawal of GBV related cases remained a major concern adding that such action derailed government efforts.

With regard to COVID-19, he said as per the President's recent update, the vaccine was expected later this month.

Echoing the President's words, Dr Kwape stressed that vaccines were not a cure but were important in preventing severe COVID-19 infection as well as in containing and controlling the spread of the pandemic.

For her part, Peculiar Dreams chief executive officer Ms Lenah Mhalelo stressed the need for women empowerment seminars.

"We have decided to also engage and bring men to the table. The need has risen now more than ever due to the increasing cases of GBV in the country, mostly perpetuated by men," she said.

Ms Mhalelo said the intention was to bring in an all-round perspective on the issue.

"Misconception that GBV only happens to women and children is so widespread and rooted in our community and beliefs. We need to take this mentality off our minds and look out for one another," she said.

Abuse in all its forms was a social ill and should never be accepted, said Ms Mhalelo.

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