Source: The Daily Observer
The West Africa Network for Peace Building, WANEP-Gambia chapter has revealed that women are still victims of Gender Based Violence, manifested in the forms of rape, human trafficking, domestic violence and forced marriage amongst others which results to psychological and emotional trauma and abuse of their fundamental human rights.

This was disclosed in a press release, which also stated that these abuses have interrupted their development and continue to rob them of the potentials to make meaningful contributions in the society. The WANEP-Gambia chapter has joined other organizations to speak on the occasion of International Women's Day, which is celebrated every 8th day of March. The theme for this year's celebration was "Equality for women is progress for all", which resonates with the work of WANEP through the Women in Peace building Programme, (WIPNET).

This programme for the last 13 years, has been raising a critical mass of women to play more visible and active roles in addressing policies on women, peace and security with a view to promoting gender equality. The release further stated that although much progress has been made in advancing the plight of women and in recognizing the important role they play in peace processes, more still needs to be done. The United Nations Resolution 1325, UNSCR on women, peace and security, clearly stipulates the active involvement of women in all stages of peace processes, including mediation efforts as a cornerstone to achieve sustainable solutions in conflict situations.

"Despite this provision, women signatories to peace agreements account for less than 2.4% in 21 peace processes reviewed since 1992 and no woman has ever been appointed as a lead mediator by the United Nations," the release added. WANEP has been championing the advancement of women by working with key local, national and international actors such as ECOWAS and the African Union in using the UNSCR1325 platform and other regional and continental frameworks to promote women's issues and advance their effective participation in policy discussions.

WANEP is also utilizing the peace huts in Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire to address issues of gender-based violence, as part of efforts to provide space for women's voices to be heard and their needs addressed in post war communities. As we commemorate this day, we wish to draw particular attention to the proliferation of harmful objects on our streets as toys for children including guns, bullets, machetes and swords and the growing popularity of home videos with story lines which eulogize and perpetuate violence against women.

WANEP called on governments and the relevant authorities to provide a safe space for women and children by formulating strong policies, procedures and mechanisms to change the long-standing and deep-seated ways of thinking that make daily acts of violence and discrimination in all its ramifications against women "acceptable". "We believe that ending such acts is very critical in enabling women and indeed all marginalized people to realize their full potentials and play greater roles in improving their lives and that of their families and communities," the release concluded.

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