GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO ADOPT ‘ANTI VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT’

Anti Violence Against Women Act (AVAWA)


Anti Violence Against Women Act (AVAWA) is a comprehensive national anti violence against women policies and procedures. It is essentially an ‘Act’ of accountability on the need to respect and meet the national mandate already stated within a country’s own constitution to protect and empower women within its borders. The AVAWA serves as an impetus for developing a comprehensive national strategy as well as updating judicial, legislative, enforcement and budgetary policies to address complex challenges of violence against women and other specific needs for healing with emphasis on rehabilitation of victims, and advancing gender equality measures on annual basis.


Petition at Change.Org


Petition To Endorse Anti Violence Against Women Act (AVAWA)

Violence against women (VAW) is recognized as a problem that continues to disenfranchise women everywhere at the grassroots level in every region, country, culture, and religion. Gender-based violence violates human rights, hampers productivity, reduces human capital, and undermines economic growth. The global campaign for ending violence against women and the demand for recognition that “women’s rights are human rights” has been defined and interpreted in the broadest term to include not only physical, but psychological, emotional and systemic violence --bringing women advocates together to promote an understanding of VAW and seeking an end to it everywhere in the world.

The United Nations (UN) and the broader international community have recognized and identified this problem and as a result, launched the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on 18 December 1979 to advance the status of women. The campaign resulted in a multilateral treaty devised to ensure that most countries have measures to curb the prevalence of violence against women and ensure the advancement of women. Although many countries ratified the CEDAW treaty, they often have no means to implement it domestically. Activists and a number of civil society groups had argued that the problem was not only increasing, but reaching epidemic proportion in many societies. Many people are beginning to worry that the Convention serves nothing more than being a diplomatic good faith document to appease the League of Nations on human right concerns but without substantive efforts to end VAW and advance women.

“A Global Call to Action” hearing revisited the United States’ hesitation to ratify the CEDAW, and failure to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). Supporters of ratification hold that the Convention is a valuable mechanism for fighting women’s discrimination worldwide. They argue that U.S. ratification will give CEDAW added legitimacy and empower women who fight discrimination in their own countries. Opponents of the Convention maintain that it is not an effective mechanism for addressing discrimination against women internationally or domestically, emphasizing countries widely believed to have poor women’s rights records have ratified the treaty and that the U.S. Constitution has been a far better protector of women's rights in America than has any international treaty.

The US is right. According to the UN Charter, PART I, Article 1 “1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Both IVAWA and CEDAW are considered to be based on radical interventionist development of feminist agenda. This statement holds true particularly for countries with colonial heritage whose sovereign agenda has been set on the right to self-determination course. In fact most of all African countries too, are in this category. Nevertheless, VAW is still a real concern. Many African societies are still grappling with the concept of gender inequality while some are in utterly denial about VAW. A global study by the World Health Organization found Sub-Saharan Africa rates for intimate partner violence to be above the world average of 6.4%. The highest prevalence is in the Central African sub-region (65.6%) and in the West African sub-region (41.8%). Rates of non-partner sexual violence are also much higher than the global average of 7%, with the highest prevalence recorded in the central African sub-region (21.1%) and in the southern African sub-region (17.4%). Recent cases include grim reports from Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Egypt, Somalia, and even South Africa on issues of rape, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), IDP, access to or control over and ownership of resources including land, credit, politics, energy, information, and technology. A severe example of VAW concern is the reminder of the abducted girls in Chibok town of Borno State in Northern Nigeria by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. Systemic intimidation to keep education out of women’s reach persists. A new UNESCO Institute of Statistics report shows that women still make up two-thirds of the global illiterate population, and almost half of that is from sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Although CEDAW has brought unprecedented awareness and progress to Gender Inequality and VAW around the world,It is important to understand that the fact that a country has ratified an agreement does not necessarily mean that it is observed, implemented, or respected. The grim report on Africa are coming from countries that have not only accepted or ratified CEDAW but also ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol, which guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality with men, to control of their reproductive health, and an end to female genital mutilation. It is clear that there are limitations to treaties especially when they are targeting domestic paradigm. An international treaty seldom stipulates how the States should implement its provisions, leaving it to each State to decide how that obligation will be executed on the domestic plane. There is no rule of general international law that all treaties must have effect in domestic law. States incorporate treaties and norms into their domestic laws by specific "transformational" devices, which often require legislation in order to give treaties domestic effect.

Instead of relying on treaties that have no effect, we are considering another approach that can mobilize the society through a more effective awareness and effectuating attitudinal and behavioral changes from within. In order for the vision for ending violence against women to become a reality, countries must be morally as well as legally committed to control violence against women within their own domestic laws. The Anti Violence Against Women Act (AVAWA) provides a solution that some people have interpreted as the missing link, and have agreed to support because they see it also as an effective and sustainable strategy for effective localization of the universal agenda on gender equality in Africa.

Anti Violence Against Women Act (AVAWA) provides an opportunity for a country to reveal a detail plan on how it will implement the existing legal provision for women in its constitution. AVAWA is therefore a comprehensive national action plan that includes programs, policies, and procedures for fulfilling a country’s mandate to protect and empower women as written in its constitution. For example, the Constitution of Egypt states: “The state commits to the protection of women against all forms of violence, and ensures women empowerment to reconcile the duties of a woman toward her family and her work requirements.” In this case, Egypt’s Anti Violence Against Women Act will be Egypt’s national action plan, guiding policies, procedures, budget, and institutions responsible for meeting this constitutional mandate. The AVAWA also serves as an impetus for developing a comprehensive national strategy as well as for updating judicial, legislative, enforcement and budgetary policies to address complex challenges of violence against women and other specific needs for healing with emphasis on rehabilitation of victims, and advancing gender equality measures.This detailed action plan is published for domestic and international review and updated annually.

AVAWA is essentially an ‘Act’ of accountability on the need to respect a country’s obligation to the contract with its society. AVAWA is complementary to CEDAW, Maputo Protocol, I-VAWA, DEVAW, and AWAVA. Its self-determination procedure makes it easily embraced in developing societies. AVAWA is original, nonintrusive initiative and adopting the process will improve women’s condition dramatically without compromising the integrity of the country within the international community of nations.

Moreover, the constitutionality of every law and every act of the Government is one of the most important political principles of democracies and universally accepted rule of law norms.Because Constitutions are understood to be supreme law of the land, they must be carried out and their implementation must be prioritized as primary needs of the country. The parliamentary or congressional approval requirement and the harmonization of the regulation process of AVAWA with executing institutions are not as complicated as if it were a bilateral or multilateral interventionist ratification agenda.

The very essence of civil liberty consists of the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws, whenever one receives an injury; one of the main duties of government is to protect the rights of all persons. The fact that the country provides a well-articulated procedure such as the AVAWA can attract more democratic inclusion and stimulate improvement in governance. The international community will have legitimate measure to hold a country accountable for its failure to deliver on its constitutional obligation or choose to reward its proven success for improving the welfare of women in its sovereignty. The case for violence against women and detail information about arriving at AVAWA, how to implement, monitor and how to promote its awareness was presented on March 13th, 2015 at the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York as a parallel session to the United Nations’ 59th Convention on the Status of Women. The presentation provided on the link below gives a detail insight to history of VAW, including the difference between VAW (Violence Against Women) and VAM (Violence Against Men) and the feasibility of AVAWA:

http://bit.ly/AVAWA-petition

Please sign the petition to endorse the AVAWA initiative as a non-intrusive diplomatic strategy to mitigate as well as make ending violence against women and girls a top priority for African States. AVAWA suggests that the African States government implement a comprehensive, multi-sectorial strategy to reduce and end violence. Endorsing will make the AVAWA report a legal tender of nations’ accountability act.

Thank you,

Dr. Wale Idris Ajibade

Executive Director, African Views Organization

Banner Art by Leni Charles (Kids of the Diaspora)


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African Views technical, scientific, and cultural research, analysis, reports, and public engagement on AVAWA (Anti Violence Against Women Act)

[Youth Initiatives] The Future of Female African Leadership TOPIC: Finding the Future of Female African Leadership We're delighted to be past the 10-show milestone at Youth Initiatives. Your host Tully McLoughlin is on the air every week at 4pm GMT / 12pm EST with a new show, broadcast live, that seeks to connect the world to Africa through the lens of youth leadership, youth programs, and youth-centered change. Have a comment about the show? Tully would love to hear from you. Email him at tully.mcloughlin@africanviews.org and he'll read your comment on the air! DATE: Friday, October 26th, 2012 TIME: 12:00-1:00pm EST / 4:00-5:00pm GMT TO PARTICIPATE BY PHONE: Call this number - 760-283-0850 in the U.S. TO LISTEN ON SKYPE: Call 'africanviews' HOST: Tully McLoughlin Also broadcast live on WYBC Yale Radio (http://wybc.com/listen) About this show The future of Africa relies on the strong leadership of African women. We're privileged to have as our guest a young woman who encapsulates the spirit of young African leadership: Ann Moatshe. After graduating from the Malaysia Campus of Nottingham University with an Honours degree in Electronic and Communications Engineering, Ann was a MILEAD Fellow at the University of Ghana in Accra. The Moremi Initiative Leadership Empowerment and Development (MILEAD) Program identifies and invites young African women and girls to take part in a year-long development program. A world traveler, Ann has done research to develop solutions for Africa, counseled students from different backgrounds in the basics of Christianity, and worked closely with survivors of breast cancer. And in the future she wants to devote herself to improving inter-cultural relations within Africa and between Africa and the world.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights: Declaration of Human Rights Women's Rights are Human Rights: A Celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights December 10th honors the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration sets forth the fundamental freedoms and alienable rights that every person has. It is essential for all us to educate ourselves about our rights; as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "the destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens in all our communities." Hillary Clinton declared at the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China on September 5, 1995: ?I believe that, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break our silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights.? This program focuses on different aspects of women's rights, from childhood to adulthood. What do Women's rights mean to you? Join us this week as we discuss Women's Rights in the spirit of Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was declared on December 10th, 1948. If you are interested in joining our discussion, please send an email to Helena@africanviews.org to schedule and announce your participation on the show, otherwise mark your calendar and call in during the show to participate. HOST: DR. SURENDRA KAUSHIK CO-HOST: DR. SOROSH ROSHAN AFRICAN VIEWS
Responding to Violence Against Women in Diverse Cultures II According to global research by experts, reports by WHO, Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (UNCEDAW), Human Rights and UN Women, women from various cultures or nations today have experienced one from of violence or the other. These violence's are embedded into the norms and values of culture and traditions. For Instance, In Sudan women are sentenced to stoning for adultery, In South Africa, women are forced to rape by the family if she opposes a marital choice for her, In Somalia, women face corporate punishment such as lashing or stoning if the conduct of her daily business is contradicts the ruling political or strategic objectives. In Ghana and in situations of marital conflict and divorce, women lose out on land she farmed with her husband during marriage. Juliana Nkrumah, the founder of African Women Australia, said domestic violence did not discriminate. "We should not excuse cultural practices that are damaging,'', ''but nor should we use culture as an excuse for damaging behavior. Some of the violence traditions that women have to face are life-threatening. There are for example customs such sati, which forces many Hindu women to immolate themselves on top of the funeral pyres created for their deceased husbands (there's no sati for males of course), or women in some African countries being subjected to violent exorcism rites or even being killed after being accused of witchcraft. Many of these culturally sanctioned crimes are financially motivated, eliminating the wife as the inheritress of her husband's estate and having it being transferred instead to the couple's sons or the father's family.
Religion and Violence against Women Religion as we all understand is a personal and institutional reality in people's lives. Religion provides significant context in its teaching in the lives of women as well as convey messages on religious values and beliefs to the particular members. Religion serves as resources to assist in support services, counseling, guidance and in assistance to those in one negative situation or the other depending on the belief system. Rev Dr. Marie Fortune and Rabbi Cindy Enger explained that Religion can also be misused to excuse or condone abusive behaviors and in the context of violence against women, religious communities play significant role and will never want to be neutral. The modalities of such acts rest upon the diversities of beliefs, teachings and traditions that exist among the many religions of the world. Stating further, Dr.Fortune and Rabbi Enger informed that the task for religion is of two folds; first is to recognize that religious beliefs and teaching can serve as a roadblocks and resources for victims of violence and secondly Religious belief can explore new interpretations that minimize the roadblocks and maximize the resources for women. Women should not be compelled to choose between safety and religion rather women should be able to access the resources of both community-based advocacy and shelter support counsel. To achieve this women need the resources of roadblocks and exploration of new interpretation to work collaboratively in achieving advocacy and support for victims of violence.