Malawi has vowed to punish all perpetrators of Violence against women and girls. The remarks were made by the Minister Jean Kalilani during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender Based Violence Launch at Police Ground in Mzimba.
“You should all be aware that those engaged in acts of violence against women and children shall be punished by the laws of the country,” she said.
The Minister said that acts of GBV are detrimental to development and a violation of human rights. She further stated that often times, these violent acts negatively affect victims, their dependents, family and community members and the entire nation.
The Minister further called upon all survivors and witnesses of GBV incidences to report them to appropriate authorities. She said that recently there has been an increase in reported cases of violence against women in the country through the media and service providers. Kalilani further called upon all service providers including Legislators, councilors, religious leaders, chiefs and political leaders to assist the victims of GBV.
In her remarks, UN Women Resident Representative Clara Anyangwe said that although tremendous progress has been made in the fight against GBV in the country, there still is a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected. She said that in 2017 there has been an increase in the reported cases of violence against marginalised groups.
“It is also alarming for example that 42% of women in Malawi experience physical, sexual or emotional violence by an intimate partner as reported by the Malawi Demographic Health Survey of (2015-2016). Such cases demonstrate that gender inequality and discrimination are at the core of forms of physical and sexual violence and harmful cultural practices,” she said.
Chairperson for NGO-GCN in Malawi Emma Kaliya urged communities to be vigilant in the fight against GBV. She said that although there has been awareness on GBV across the country, it is sad to note that the malpractice is still ongoing. She bemoaned cultural practices that put women at risk of GBV and called upon society to treat each other with dignity and respect.
The 16 Days of Activism Against GBV are commemorated from 25th November to 10th December annually.