Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland KC and The Gambia’s First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow launched the Gambia’s Chapter of the “Commonwealth No More Global Campaign on Violence against Women and Children in The Gambia” on Friday.
The Commonwealth No More Global Campaign on Violence against Women and Children initiative is dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence by increasing awareness, inspiring action, and encouraging a culture of change.
Joining the Commonwealth Secretary General and the First Lady are the British High Commissioner to The Gambia, The Gambia’s High Commissioner to the U.K., UNFPA Country Representative, a representative of the U.S. Embassy, The Gambia’s Minister for Basic and Secondary Education, and the Permanent Secretary, Office of the First Lady.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland KC, who also joined in the bicentenary celebration of Janjanbureh, said the launch is a sign of leadership and commitment of the First Lady to the welfare of women and girls.
She said the desired change would only be delivered with collaboration and action.
Ndey Rose Sarr, UNFPA Country Representative, welcomed the launch of this initiative as timely and relevant to the current realities relating to domestic violence.
She said her office supports the government in implementing measures to fight societal acts, including setting up a special court to deal with GBV cases.
Claudia Cole, The Gambia’s Minister for Basic and Secondary Education, is disappointed that with all the work being done, gender-based violence persists in schools and vows to take all it takes to deal with every reported case.
As part of its commitment to gender equality, the Government of The Gambia has enacted several laws for the protection of women and girls against all forms of violence.
Despite these progresses, First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow said Gender-based violence remains a challenge as data reveals that about ten percent of women aged 15 to 49 years have reported physical and sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner.
Crimes of gender-based violence in The Gambia remain largely unreported or underreported, therefore leading perpetrators to get away with their unlawful acts. On the other hand, most of the reported cases in the media result in victims being ridiculed and shamed, as evidenced by the reactions to the sexual and gender-based violence testimonies at the TRRC Hearings.