- A new campaign in Zambia backed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has kicked off, calling for an end to gender-based violence, the second biggest scourge in the nation, following HIV and AIDS, according to the country's leader.
President Rupiah Bwezani Banda launched the campaign - whose theme is “Abuse, Just Stop It” - yesterday in the capital, Lusaka, declaring zero tolerance for perpetrators of sexual- and gender-based violence.
UNICEF expressed its support to ensure that women and children are protected from violence.
“This requires action and commitment from all levels of Zambian society,” said Elspeth Erickson, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in the country.
Dual Owusu-Sarfo, acting UN Resident Coordinator, hailed Zambia’s commitment to tackle gender imbalances and to “accord women and men equal rights and opportunities in development.”
This commitment, he said, is evidenced by the nation’s signing of international and regional treaties including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The campaign will include road shows held in five districts, school debates, drama shows and a mobile video van that will show films and documentaries on gender-based violence.
Earlier this year, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, called for an end to the routine violence suffered by women and girls around the world.
In some countries, as many as one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime, Mr Ban said in his message for the International Day for Women, whose theme this year is “Women and Men: United to End Violence Against Women.”
“We must stop the habitual and socially ingrained violence that mars lives, destroys health, perpetuates poverty and prevents us from achieving women's equality and empowerment,” he stressed.
Last year the Secretary-General also launched a global campaign “Unite to End Violence Against Women” ending in 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of internationally agreed objectives which include eradicating poverty, achieving universal gender equality in education and reversing the rate of HIV/AIDS incidence.
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