To mark the 16 Days of Activism, We Lead Nigeria has tasked relevant authorities on policies to protect and promote the rights of women and girls in the country.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November.
We Lead Nigeria, in a position paper on Friday in Abuja, noted that globally and in Nigeria, the Covid-19 pandemic led to a drastic increase in gender-based violence and rolled back the gains towards achieving gender equality, adding that the pandemic has increased the urgency of taking the right
actions to end violence against women and girls.
It further stated that the experiences of female sex workers, women with disabilities, women affected by displacement, and women living with
HIV and their voices deserve just as much attention.
The group therefore, called for an end to misinterpretation of the criminal and penal codes to oppress female sex workers by Law Enforcement agencies, calling for recognision of the full humanity of female sex workers and hold perpetrators of violence against them accountable while also calling on the Federal Ministry of Health and Education to recognise bodily autonomy and integrate reproductive services for female sex workers into existing National and Sub-national policies to increase access to evidence informed Sexual and Reproduction Health (SRH) programming.
On Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the group lamented that this group of persons are confronted with greater risk than other affected populations as they face loss of livelihoods and basic social services needed for daily life.
“They tend to have less access to assistance and struggle to access education, healthcare, training and sources of livelihood. They are more
susceptible to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and are likely to face
difficulties in exercising rights to housing, land and property, and are often excluded from decision-making processes. These human rights violations are compounded by
insecurity and humanitarian crisis, which exacerbates pre-crisis patterns of
discrimination,” the group explained.
It therefore, tasked the Federal Ministries of Health and Women Affairs on improvement of the quality, safety and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in the country.
It also demanded the immediate repeal of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act 2014 from the Nigerian Government to effect swift legal actions for cases of
violence against LBTQI persons whose rights are often violated as a result
of the discriminatory law.
“The legislative arm of the Nigerian government must integrate a nondiscriminative law that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and
expression and sex characteristics diversity, and protects the rights of LBTQI women.
“The Federal Ministry of Health and related Departments and Agencies must
improve comprehensive SRHR services which will signal a commitment to
equality and fairness in the treatment of all individuals regardless of their
Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Gender Expression Sex Characteristics.
“Parents, healthcare workers and other non-state actors must put an end to nonconsensual Intersex genital mutilation and surgeries on intersex children and adolescents, which most times leaves them in traumatic and painful,” the group stressed.
We Lead Nigeria is a new, inspiring, innovative and far-reaching program aiming to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRH-R) of young women.