News / Africa

UN Urges African Nations to Protect Sexual Rights

FILE - A volunteer from Simelela, an organization dealing with sexual violence, uses a doll to teach children about inappropriate touching and sexual abuse, at a pre-school in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township.
FILE - A volunteer from Simelela, an organization dealing with sexual violence, uses a doll to teach children about inappropriate touching and sexual abuse, at a pre-school in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township.
African countries have been called upon to accept "sexual rights" as an integral and inalienable part of basic human rights and remove all barriers preventing women and girls from claiming such rights. 

The youth sing songs during the Sixth Africa Conference on Sexual Health in Cameroon to draw the attention of the continent's leaders to the need to eliminate violence against women, girls and boys.

Among them is 18-year-old University of Yaounde 1 student Mbassi Antoinette who says she was sexually harassed by her lecturer.

She said it started with the lecturer promising to help her.  After that he started harassing me and asking for sex, intimidatingly saying that if I refuse, he will make sure that he gives me a fail mark in my exam, she said.

Gender-based violence, rape and sexual harassment appear to be increasing in many parts of Africa.  Professor Ahmadou Bouba told VOA a study he conducted shows alarming violence in Cameroon as one of the main hindrances to quality education in Africa.

He said cases of sexual harassment have increased in universities, as male lectures harass female students and in some cases, female lecturers harass male students.

The U.N. Population Fund said Africa has more people under age 20 than any place in the world, and the continent's population is set to double to two billion by 2050.

The youth's share of the population makes them integral to the continent's economic take-off.  But Christine Boutegwa from Ghana said this is compromised by inadequate laws when it comes to sexual and reproductive issues. "They do not see adolescents as sexual beings.  The policies that are there are not right for boys and girls," she explained.

Uganda conference representative Sarah Mokossa said there is a culture of silence around sex and sexuality on the continent.  "We still practice child marriage, we still practice female genital mutilation, we still view it as acceptable that young women and young men should not be educated on their sexual and reproductive health and rights even though we know that they are sexually active and usually that sexual activity is not by choice," she stated. "It is one in which they are forced by older men in the case of young girls."

A similar situation in Zimbabwe is enabled by the absence of strong legislation to punish those who carry out abuses, said Ndana Tawamba who represented the country at the conference. "The justice systems in the countries we are coming from are pretty much lacking behind in terms of  what it is that they can do in terms of seeing to it that those girls that are being married at early ages get the kind of recourse that they deserve," she said. "Getting the justice that they deserve after being raped particularly."

The conference ended with a call from U.N. Population Fund Deputy Director Kate Gilmore for African leaders to end all barriers that prevent women and girls from attaining their sexual and reproductive health capacities.

"We need every leader in Africa to insist that human rights for, with and by Africa be at the heart of the next development agenda, which the international community will define this year," she stated. "We have to reprioritize health and education as the magic formula for realizing young people's potential."

About 550 people representing 55 countries took part last week in the Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid