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National Conference: Gender-based violence key stakeholders to renew commitments to EndVAW

Kabul, 4 December 2016 – Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), UNFPA-the United Nations Population Fund in Kabul came together to renew commitments to End Violence against Women and Girls in Afghanistan as part of the campaign for the 16-days-of-activism in Afghanistan, under the local theme of “Meaningful and Comprehensive Actions by Every Member of the Society to End Violence against Women”.

Gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent human rights abuses. Worldwide, an estimated 1 in 3 women will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Violence against women and girls is more prevalent in Afghanistan, where 4 in 5 women will experience at least one form of violence in their life time.

Elimination of violence against women and girls requires action at all levels, including the enforcement and reformation of national laws and policies on gender-based violence. Health Sector is considered as the most appropriate entry point in the context of Afghanistan to respond to GBV cases.  On the other hand men and boys have a vital role to play in addressing violence against women and girls.

MoPH and UNFPA organized this one day conference to renew their commitments towards working and investing in elimination of all forms of gender based violence.

The conference also aimed to bring together national GBV stakeholders, including Ministry of Women Affairs, the donor community in Kabul, civil society organizations and the media fraternity in an effort to enhance coordination efforts and renew commitments at all levels.

National Media Role in Addressing GBV - Globally, media has played a vital role in shaping attitudes and behaviors, in Afghanistan too, the role of media is vital to help enhance public awareness on the adverse consequences of gender based violence on the Afghan women and girls, on the family and nation as a whole. In most cases the problem is silence. GBV survivors don’t tell anyone about the violence they suffer, media should be their voice.

Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals - The global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals, has Gender Equality (Goal 5) as one of its goals. That is a promising gesture, however, without available and sufficient funds such efforts are partial.

Afghanistan currently has half a million girls that are 11 years old today by 2030 they will be 25. If we help them fulfill their rights and full potential they will be productive adults who will help drag Afghanistan out of poverty. The life trajectories of these girls will be true indicator of the success of the SDGs or the failure thereof.