Mozambique: Civil Society Steps Up Fight Against Domestic Violence


Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

1 July 2008
Posted to the web 1 July 2008


Mozambican civil society organizations are planning to intensify their actions to prevent violence against women and children by increasing the period of advocacy for such cases from a mere 16 day campaign to 365 days a year.

This intention was advanced on Monday during a meeting organized by the Mozambican chapter of the Gender and Media Southern Africa NGO (GEMSA) and it flows from a decision that the issue must be worked upon constantly, urging citizens that violence against women and children is unacceptable and must be eradicated from Mozambican culture.

So far, organizations working in this field have been operating an advocacy campaign for just 16 days, between 25 November, International Non-Violence Day, to 10 December, World Human Rights Day.

"During those 16 days we commemorate all special dates for women's rights. Then we carry out a strong campaign for no domestic violence, we go to the districts, to localities, villages, and neighbourhoods to tell people how bad it is to use violence against women and children", said Madalena Domingos, the coordinator of the Association of Victims of Domestic Violence (AVVD).

By extending the duration of this campaign for the entire year, civil society intends to pay permanent attention to this problem. "We want concrete actions to fight against this evil, which puts at risk the lives of women and children", said Clementina Comate, of GEMSA -Mocambique.

These organizations are drawing public attention to the need for the government to meet the commitments it made when it signed the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s declaration on Gender and Development at the Blantyre Summit in 1998.

In that declaration, SADC member states committed themselves to take urgent measures against domestic violence.

These organizations argue that existing measures have proved inadequate, inefficient and biased against the victims - which is why domestic violence is on the increase in Mozambique.

They recommend that the necessary legislative and administrative measures should be taken at all levels, to ensure prevention and eradication of all forms of violence against women and children. The NGOs are also calling for social and administrative services free of charge to help empower women and children who have survived to violence.

The two day meeting will be an opportunity for the organizations to harmonise their positions to enrich the national plan fro the fight against domestic violence, which is being designed by the government.

The proposals are to be presented on Wednesday, during a consultative meeting organized by the government, through the Ministry of Women's Affairs and Social Welfare.

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