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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid