Monday, March 30, 2015

West Region: British High Commission, MAHSRA, Administration, Traditional Rulers Agree to Stop Violence Against Women

Actors in the fight posed for pictures
By Ndemen JB
The project launching and signing of protocol agreements took place on Friday, March 27, 2015, in the Bafoussam City Council Hall, between the NGO, MAHSRA and a dozen traditional rulers of the Western Region. The project code names “The advocacy campaign against sexual violence” is expected to reduce and stop violence against women. The ceremony was chaired by the Secretary General at the Governor’s office, Simon Emile Mooh.  Speaking at the launching, Simon Emile Mooh said that he expects a strong involvement of the administrative and traditional authority in the eradication of all forms of violence against women.
For his majesty Soukoudjou Jean Philippe Rameau, the Paramount ruler of Bamendjou, it is not enough to sign the agreement for the sake of it. The initiative of this NGO is commendable. Fight against violence against women, is a good thing, but it has to become a reality. I am willing to communicate about the issue, and educate my community provided it is practically implemented, he concluded.
It is nevertheless recognized that these days, women are still exposed to all forms of violence, like genital mutilation, beatings in homes, rape, enforced prostitution, humiliation or including early or forced marriage. To the Secretary General, it is all about raising awareness about the dangers of these retrograde practices that relegates women and dehumanizes them. Simon Emile Nooh reminded traditional rulers of the relevant provisions of the Cameroonian contribution that advocates gender equality, both human rights in general and the rights of women in particular.
Paramount fon signing the agreement
 It should be noted that MAHSRA is recognized by Cameroon law and the Office of the United Nations Economic Council.  Hence the strong presence of all the paramount rulers of the MiFi, Bamboutos, the Kung-chi and others was indicative. Dr. Kelly Ngyah, CEO of the MAHSRA NGO created in 2006, recognizes that traditional rulers have a lot of influences on their populations. "Through them, the message will quickly pass and thus the lives of abused women will change. The rulers will defend the rights of women. Their commitment would just say that if people violate the rights of women, they will take legal action,” he said.
Under the initiative titled: Enhancing Local Leaders’ Capacities in Preventing Sexual Violence Against Women, the official public presentation ceremony that held on Friday the 27th of March 2015 at the city council hall in Bafoussam, once more proved the organization’s commitment in transforming high level policy prerequisites into locally understood contexts and easily enforced measures. Under the distinguished patronage of the governor of the West Region, the occasion was graced by the presence of the deputy British High Commissioner to Cameroon Mme HALIMEH Allison Marriott, the senior divisional officers of Mifi, Bamboutos, Koung-Khi and Hauts Plateaux divisions, and over 14 paramount chiefs from the localities of Bafoussam, Bamougoum, Baleng, Balacthi, Bamessingue, Babadjou, Bagang, Baham, Bamendjou, Bameka, Bahouan; Bayangam, Bandjoun and Batoufam.
Citing the Cameroon government’s will as duly transcribed through its ratification of several international conventions such as: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Declaration on the Right to Development, the CEO reminded the audiences and authorities present that as a legally registered entity both nationally and internationally and with a consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, MAHSRA had a duty to ensure that global growth objectives are transpired through experience-based interactive sessions between the targeted beneficiary victims and the responsibilities of their governing authorities.
Following the enumeration of gender violence acts such as rape, child abuse, defilement, incest, sexual abuse and exploitation, forced prostitution, sexual harassment, humiliation and confinement, female genital mutilation, underage and early marriages, the CEO pinpointed to the local leaders that with their leadership influence over their people, they have a duty to enlighten and ensure such people and women do not continue to suffer in ignorance meanwhile retarding the local development expectations of their communities. In so doing, he reminded them that they had a duty to uphold and enforce due legal accountability measures against the perpetrators of sexual violence acts against women and other illegal gender discriminatory practices.
On the part of the deputy British High Commissioner, she congratulated the efforts of MAHSRA and appreciated the local government and traditional authorities to have taken out time and engaged their voluntary consent to come together in unity to combat the sexual violence practices that are faced by the community women in their localities.

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