09 Sep 2014 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 09 SEP (NAMPA) Women Speakers of Parliament from 16 countries have called for urgent action and commitment towards ending violence against women and girls in conflict situations.
This is part of a Declaration issued after the two-day 9th Women Speakers Parliament meeting which took place on 04 and 05 September 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The meeting was organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
A statement containing the Declaration issued by the IPU on Monday said participants were appalled by the vicious crimes being perpetrated against women and girls.
Citing the rape, kidnapping, forced marriage or enslavement for sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls in conflict situations that include the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq and Syria, the Speakers appealed to governments and parliaments the world over to make ending such violence a fixed and urgent priority.
They highlighted the abduction of 273 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram radicals earlier this year. Most of them are still being held captive.
Inaction on such crimes is unacceptable, the Declaration read.
The women called for the Nigerian government and parliament not to forget the Nigerian schoolgirls and abandon them to their fate.
All efforts to find and rescue the kidnapped schoolgirls must be pursued with full vigour and determination. The momentum for action must not be lost, the Declaration urged.
The participating women reiterated that children in all countries need to have their security and protection guaranteed, and that education remains the most powerful tool to end violence, poverty and to bring change.
Violence against women and girls is a key impediment to their economic empowerment.
The meeting held at the IPU headquarters focused on ways womens economic empowerment can be enhanced and supported, and the role of women Speakers of Parliament in those efforts.
They highlighted the need for a strong and effective legal framework which addressed all forms of discrimination and which supported womens economic empowerment through land ownership, financing, technology, training and employment.
The participants identified means to facilitate and promote womens entrepreneurship, and acknowledged the weak representation of women economic leadership as a challenge to overcome through concrete measures such as affirmative action.
As the most senior parliament figures in their countries, the female Speakers underlined their responsibility to lead efforts on womens economic empowerment by being effective role models, taking bold decisions and helping shape public opinion on the issue.
Boko Haram is an Islamic sect which believes politics in northern Nigeria has been seized by a group of corrupt, false Muslims. It wants to wage a war against them, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria generally, to create a pure Islamic state ruled by Sharia Law.