GENDER AND HUMAN RIGHTS
One of the most proactive and engaged areas of feminist and women's activism in African contexts is gender and human rights. There are diverse layers of this activism - legal advocacy and reform, the establishment of organizations offering support, resources, and education, the establishment of shelters for abused women and children, educational campaigns, trainings. Across the continent, this activism forms one of the richest resources of experience on what it means to tackle patriarchies, social and economic injustice, and on how to describe and analyse daily realities of brutality, state indifference, and community-based tolerances for particular forms of abuse, usually targeted at women and girls. The advancement of women’s rights is the core of our work in executing all projects. Women undergo all forms of violations of their rights and discrimination in every aspect(employment, health care, land and property, harmful traditional practices,political representation, decision making, education).The gender approach is distinct in that it focuses on women and men and highlights the differences between men and women’s interest. Gender and human rights are complementary and mutually reinforcing instruments towards development. MDGs are built on International human rights treaties International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). As part of the process of development, human rights focus attention on the empowerment of people to claim their rights. Gender equality like human rights is part of this process to achieve development. Gender mainstreaming is vital in the process of achieving development because it is necessary to the achievement of development objectives, generate policies that promote women’s empowerment and ensures attention on women’s specific needs. CEDAWS core obligation’s contains guarantees of equality between men and women and the pursuance to eliminate discrimination, BPFA shares these obligations as it offers analysis of the issues on eliminating discrimination against women. ICESCR, CEDAW, BPFA offer a conceptual framework for understanding MDGs as human rights obligations. GeED has a special responsibility to make the link between gender and human rights, in lobbying and advocacy and to also undertake training and sensitization programmes aimed at integrating gender and building capacity for gender analysis from a human rights perspective for staff, community women groups, church women’s groups, Youth groups, men’s groups and School clubs.
VOILENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Violence against women and girls is recognized as the most prevalent violations of human rights that manifest affecting millions of women and girls of all cultures, religions, socio-economic strata, educational levels and other diversity. It is recognized as a human rights issue that manifests itself in physical, psychological, sexual, social and cultural forms. Violence is the result of the complex interplay of individual, relational, social, cultural and environmental factors.
The root cause of violence in most societies is the unequal power relations between females and males, which makes violence a critical gender issue. Violence Against Women (VAW) has serious consequences which are far reaching and include the erosion of self-esteem, self worth, physical, mental and psychological health, loss of productivity, costs of health care, unwanted pregnancies, HIV /AIDS and other STDs, legal and judicial costs for women.
Violence against women and girls is highly prevalent, in particular within the family, and remains widely socially tolerated. Marital rape is not criminal offence. The government has not established shelters or legal aid clinics and victims generally suffer from a culture of silence and
The broad persistence of customary law infringes upon the human rights of women though Civil law offers more equal standard than customary laws which has discriminatory provisions against women. Also the distance between law and justice discourages victims who suffer in silence.
International and regional legal instruments have clarified obligations of States to prevent, eradicate and punish violence against women and girls. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. (CEDAW) requires that countries party to the Convention take all appropriate steps to end violence. However, the continued prevalence of violence against women and girls demonstrates that this global pandemic of alarming proportions is yet to be tackled with all the necessary political commitment and resources.
It is quite true that countries have made some progress in addressing violence against women and girls yet so many lapses left to be filled.
GeED’s several gender mainstreamed projects are geared towards eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. Several sensitizations are done to address this as GeED has been identifying different types of violence as well as emerging types of violence and its victims. GeED works in collaboration with other partners to end violence against women through capacity building workshops, sensitizations, rehabilitation of victims, advocacy and lobbying to ensure the promotion and protection of women’s rights.
GeED’s several gender mainstreamed projects are geared towards eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls
GeED is working to develop the capacities required for equitable participatory development towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
GeED works to build the capacities of women to claim their rights and also participate actively in the development of their local communities.
Human rights and gender are conceptually and analytically interlinked frameworks that crosscut all development issues and so GeED focuses on promoting gender mainstreaming and the use of a human rights-based approach to programming as prerequisites to sustainable development. Although gender and human rights are mainstreamed in all GeED’s work as approaches and as framework of action, different projects and components of projects are being implemented to achieve the improvement of gender and human rights mainstreaming in development work. At the same time, GeED has undertaken human rights obligations to combat gender inequalities binding with the key international agreement on women’s human rights is the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Under these international human rights instruments, GeED is working to eliminate the many different forms of gender-based discrimination women confront, not only by making sure that there are no existing laws that directly discriminate women, but also by ensuring that all necessary arrangements are put in place that will allow women to actually experience equality in their lives.
GeED continues to play a vital role in lobbying and advocacy for monitoring and evaluating the formulation/planning and implementation of her policies and programs from a human rights and genderperspective.