EU-UN Spotlight Initiative express commitment to protection of women, children from SGBV

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

The UNDP and EU have reiterated their commitment to the ongoing implementation of Spotlight Initiative to ensure a better protection of the rights of women and children, which have needlessly been violated over the years in Nigeria.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

The UNDP Country Representative, Mr. Mohammed Yahaya who stated this in Abuja at a High-Level workshop for human rights defenders in support for victims of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the FCT and spotlight focal states, commended the efforts of the National Human Rights Commission in tackling SGBV and associated rights violations.

Yahaya said that the High-Level workshop is part of the activities lined up to commemorate the “16 Days of Activism”, against SGBV which started on 25th of November, 2020, explaining that the workshop is to brainstorm and point the way forward by all access to justice and human rights partners who support interventions for women and girls in Nigeria.

Besides, he said the UNDP and EU are ready to support any initiative that will ensure the protection of SGBV victims which he noted have become even more vulnerable with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, thus necessitating urgent support from all stakeholders including the human rights defenders.

Continuing, he restated the need to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders in order for them to adequately address the plights of victims and survivors of SGBV,

He also stated that the Spotlight Initiative is a response to all forms of violence against women and girls, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings, and sexual and economic(labour) exploitation etc.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, OJukwu said that a number of “innovative measures” had been taken to tackle the challenges of human rights violations, particularly SGBV.

He said, “Faced by the challenge of restricted movement, the commission in partnership with other stakeholders adopted the use of technology to scale up response and protection for victims/survivors. In this regard, we up-scaled the usage of our social media channels, developed cutting edge applications such as and UNSUB, amongst others.

In addition, the NHRC boss stated, “The Special Investigation Panel on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, upgrading the commission’s call centre with specific SGBV toll free lines, inter-ministerial committee on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, state of human rights on AIT (television enlightenment programme) as well as the ongoing 16 Days of Activism on SGBV amongst others.

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