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Joint Statement to the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, Banjul(The Gambia) by AFA, IHRDA and WTF on the harassment of Women in Nigeria

By June 6, 2014 September 16th, 2019 No Comments

Submitted under Activity Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa

By

NWTFihrda logoalliance for Africa

 Alliances for Africa (AfA), Institute for Human Rights in Development in Africa (IHRDA) and the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (WTF)

 Madam Chairperson, Honourable Commissioners, State dignitaries, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

We wish to bring to the attention of the Commission the precarious human rights situation women in Nigeria are exposed to. In the last 3 years, women in Abuja have suffered attacks on their person and dignity by persons purported to be agents of a government agency, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) as well as security agents who have taken liberty to harass, threaten, indecently assault and physically abuse women under the pretext of controlling women’s dressing and movements. In particular, vulnerable and poor women are at greater risk of being harassed. These acts of violence against women are discriminatory as women are specifically targeted and also violate Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and Articles 2, 3, 4, 8 and 24 of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa.

Many victims of these acts of sexual and gender based violence have reported to law enforcement agencies. However, only a few (less than 5) have seen their cases progress while most victims are still waiting for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. The bureaucratic and slow enforcement process and the unwillingness of some law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute these crimes and human rights abuses violates the obligation of the State to protect women from violence and uphold women’s human rights as provided for under Article 4(2) of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa. The limited response to these cases is leading to a situation of impunity and further exposes more women and girls to human rights abuses.

We therefore request the Commission through the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa to carry out a fact-finding mission to Nigeria to address the issues of violence against women in both private and public spheres, and to examine the current situation and the protective mechanisms in place.

In addition, we further request the Commission through the Special Rapporteur for Women Rights, to call on the Nigerian Government to pass into law the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill that will provide effective legislation to combat sexual and gender based violence and punish perpetrators of such violence as well as provide support for victims and survivors of such violence.

Madam Chairperson, Honourable Commissioners, State dignitaries, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

We thank the commission for their consideration.

 

22 October 2013

Alliances for Africa (AfA)

Institute for Human Rights in Development in Africa (IHRDA)

The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (WTF)