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29.07.2004 Regional News

Address violence against women holistically -Govt urged

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Accra, July 29, GNA - Ms Susan Apochie, Women Activist, on Thursday said though the creation of a Women's Ministry and a Women and Juvenile Unit of the Police by the Government was laudable, there was much more that it could do to control the occurrence of violence against women. "We will want to see the sate getting more involved in the area of organising legal literacy programmes and information campaigns on women's human rights and set aside a budget for the purpose of training the Judiciary and the Police among other interventions".

It was necessary to adopt a holistic and effective public measures to address the issue of violence against women, which has mainly be noted to stem from the low status accorded them.

Speaking on: "The State's Responsibility Towards Violence Against Women" at the Second Annual Young Women's Leadership Conference and Public Event in Accra, Ms Apochie said "the low status of women, which is reinforced by ignorance, lack of laws to prohibit violence against women, inadequate efforts by public authorities to enforce existing laws and the absence of educational and other means of addressing violence, called for the State's timely interventions.

Ms Apochie, who is the Project Officer of Crisis Response Centre, Ark Foundation, Ghana, a local nongovernmental organisation (NGO), said the rate of violence being perpetrated by people on women had left most of them traumatised and maimed with others having developed psychiatry problems and some losing their lives.

About 200 participants from community based and civil society organisations, NGOs and other young women, who have been trained by the Foundation under its Women's Law and Human Rights project, are attending the two-day national conference.

Participants are to interact and deliberate on national issues concerning women as well as draft a communiqu=E9 to the Government on current critical gender and developmental issues.

Ms Apochie urged participants to play a part in the campaign against violence by embarking on talk programmes to educate the public on such issues in their communities, organise fundraising activities to solicit funds for the needs of survivors and also to avoid being perpetrators of violence on their fellow women.

Mrs Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, Executive Director of the Foundation, said the Conference would also feature a public event to expose its alumnae to broader networking with a cross-section of policy makers, legislators and other civil society actors interested in advocacy, gender equality and women's human right.

Other speakers, who addressed the conference, including Ms Joyce Aryee, Chairperson of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Nana Asantewa Afadzinu, Coordinator of the Coalition on the Domestic Violence Bill and Dr Rosemary King, a Law Lecturer at the Queens University, Canada, urged women to move out of barriers created around them by society and live fulfilling lives.

They advised women to overcome their fears, learn hard to improve upon themselves, set goals, manage their time effectively and to be self-disciplined and dependent on God. 29 July 04

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