Fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) remains one of the main priorities of the European Union (EU), the
EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi has said.
In her remarks during the screening of the “Hear Word Play” in Abuja on Thursday, said: “The fight against SGBV remains one of the main priorities of the EU because we believe that this is a menace that affects so many people around the world. SGBV has contributed to so much strife and under development, as it negatively affects the ability to contribute to society and for society to thrive.”
She revealed that because of this, the EU has committed significant resources in the fight against this scourge through technical and financial support to front line defenders. In Nigeria.
She said: “We continue to collaborate with key stakeholders in supporting adequate legislative instruments, targeted healthcare and responsive policies aimed at addressing the issue.”
According to her, “the EU is a champion of women’s and girls’ rights both within Europe and globally. “Gender equality is a core European value, and has been enshrined in EU law for over 60 years.
“Also, women’s rights and empowerment are key for sustainable development. Any issue that undermines the empowerment of women requires strategic engagement. That is why, in addition to various interventions around the world, the EU also has a gender action plan, which is a holistic plan targeted at reinforcing the rights and well-being of women across the world.”
She lamented that: “1 out of every 3 women has experienced some form of SGBV. This is simply unacceptable and we all need to stand up and speak out.”
She noted that: “The play you are about to watch is a true representation of the realities of so many women across Nigeria and indeed around the world. I hope that as you enjoy the artistic depiction of this sensitive topic by this line up of talented performers, you also pause to reflect on how this has affected so many lives. More importantly, think of how you can get engaged in the fight against SGBV and lend your voice to the cause.”
Isopi said: “In Nigeria, the EU is supporting the response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence through political and policy engagement to encourage government ownership and funding of SGBV services, technical support including the establishment of sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) and support to front line workers such as civil society groups. Public advocacy is also key in addressing negative social norms and culture and this has been apriority for us.
“There are now 32 sexual assault referral centres across Nigeria providing free top to toe services to survivors and their families. These Sexual Assault Referral Centres provide a completely free and CONFIDENTIAL servicefor victims of sexual assault. It is a client-focused service that is driven by the client’s needs and supports what the client decides
“Essentially, they are a one-stop facility offering: Counselling, Medical examination, testing, treatment and drugs, Link to justice services e.g. legal, police and a link to support services/social services.”
She noted that over the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2021, “we would be providing free legal and medical counselling to SGBV survivors.”
Michael Olugbode in Abuja