News / Africa

UN Denounces 'Privatization' of Violence Against Somali Women

Asha and Muna wait for assistance outside the UNHCR office in Galkayo town. Muna , is sleeping on the floor because she could not withstand the pain in her thigh. She was stabbed by a rapist on Nov. 26 2010.
Asha and Muna wait for assistance outside the UNHCR office in Galkayo town. Muna , is sleeping on the floor because she could not withstand the pain in her thigh. She was stabbed by a rapist on Nov. 26 2010.

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo spoke to reporters in Nairobi Friday about her just-concluded mission to Somalia, where she examined the occurrence of gender-based violence there.  

One of the things that struck Manjoo during her 10-day mission was what she called the “privatization” of violence against women and girls in the wider Somali society.

She noted that a lot of attention has been paid to sexual violence occurring within camps for the internally displaced.

UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo
UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo

“But I also know there is rape going on outside the IDP camps in the host communities," Manjoo said. "There might be a culture of silence and denial about it, but it is going on.  Domestic violence is going on.  I think the challenge is, how do we break silence, how do we move away from denial that there is a problem?”

In the rush to publicize the latest political and military machinations of the 20-year-old civil war, Manjoo said most media, agencies, governments and others ignore the lives of women behind closed doors.

For instance, she cited one study that estimates that 98 percent of Somali girls and women undergo female genital mutilation - a cultural practice being increasingly banned across Africa - in the mistaken belief that it is a religious requirement.

Other cultural and traditional beliefs facilitate or even encourage physical, emotional, and sexual violence against women and girls in homes in Somalia and around the world.

But, Manjoo said, in a volatile country where infrastructure and functioning state institutions basically do not exist, finding out the nature and prevalence of different forms of gender-based violence is daunting.

“The Somali government will need data, will need information in terms of its priorities when it comes to laws and policies and programs," she noted. "In the absence of that, how will they develop laws, policies, and programs?  How will they know what they need?”

She added that Somali authorities have taken some measures, such as a draft law against female genital mutilation in the Puntland region, the creation of a task force on gender-based violence by the transitional government, and the appointment of women as ministers and members of parliament.

She said the government and other national and international agencies have a long way to go in assisting women and girls experiencing violence, or even giving them a safe forum in which to express themselves.

Manjoo said the lack of attention being paid to domestic violence, rape, female genital mutilation, and other forms of gender-based violence occurring in homes has lead to impunity, which only perpetuates the problem.

“Let me stress that the current manifestations of violence against women and girls is a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.  Somalia has the opportunity at this crucial time to promote human rights for all, and importantly to place the issue of violence against women on the national agenda,” she said.

Manjoo's Somalia tour ran from December 9 -16 and included consultations with officials from the transitional government, U.N. agencies, international aid groups, African Union peacekeeping troops, and civil society groups.

She is expected to present her findings in a report set to be released in June 2012 to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid