IWD: UNODC Expresses Concern Over High Risk of Gender-related Killings in Africa
In commemorating the 2019 International Women’s Day, the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), Nigeria, has warned against gender-related killings in Africa.
Mr Sylvester Atere, Outreach and Communications Officer, UNODC Nigeria, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
According to Atere, the UNODC is giving the warning following reports of women and girls falling victims of homicide by intimate partners and family members.
He said that the UNODC Nigeria office was using this year’s celebration to draw attention to the disproportionally high risk of women and girls in Africa to fall victim to gender-related homicide and that a recent UNODC report on gender-related killing of women and girls found that globally a staggering 87,000 women were intentionally killed in 2017.
Atere said that in the report, it was more worrisome that 60 per cent of these killings were perpetrated by intimate partners or family members including parents, children or any other member of their family.
He said UNODC’s Executive Director, Yori Fedotov, at the launch of the report in late 2018, said that women continue to pay the highest prices of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes.
“While the vast majority of homicide victims are men, women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes. They are also the most likely to be killed by intimate partners and family. This is particularly true for African women and girls who are not only more likely to become victims of homicide than their peers in other regions of the world”.
“As they are also most likely to suffer death from the hands of an intimate partner or a family member. Out of the total of 50,000 women killed in 2017 by their current or former partners or by any family member, 19,000 were Africans. This makes Africa the region where women run the greatest risk of being killed by people they normally should be able to trust the most, they are vulnerable to sorcery and witchcraft related killings”.
“The lack of reliable data on homicides in Africa is a strong obstacle to fully understand the trends and scope of gender-related killings as well as the links with other forms of violence.’’
Quoting the UNODC further, Atere said implementing the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS) constitutes a step for States to better collect and analyze data on gender-related killings.
He added that the UNODC also urges that states ratify and implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as well as its protocols and other international treaties protecting women’s rights.
Atere said that the office also calls for the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC).
He said that to assist Member States in the effective implementation of these treaties, UNODC supported the development of the Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
He explained that this was done in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
According to Atere, the UNODC also provides assistance to countries in strengthening women and girls’ access to justice by supporting the development of domestic legislation that protects the rights of women and girls.
He listed other UNODC assistance to countries to include training criminal justice practitioners in the application of relevant laws and building the capacity of women to serve at all levels of the criminal justice system.
Atere quoted António Guterres, UN Secretary General, saying “not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free from fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world”. (NAN)