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Ombudsman urges openness on gender-based violence

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The Ombudsman has weighed in on the issue of gender-based violence (GBV), urging girls and women to come out when subjected to emotional and physical abuse.

Ombudsman Grace Malera said this as Malawi continues to commemorate 16 Days of Activism against GBV.

Speaking at a GIZ-organised event, where she was the guest of honour, she said time had come for Malawi to address problems related to GBV for it to meet its socio-economic development goals.

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“Let’s end violence! Let’s speak up! Let’s act now! Women’s rights are human rights,” Malera said.

She said, as a female ombudsman, she was willing to help women fight for their rights.

Embassy of Germany in Malawi chargé d’affaires Sabine Lindemann said the event was organised to demonstrate GIZ’s solidarity with 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaigners.

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“We also wanted to demonstrate our commitment towards the cause of addressing problems associated with gender-based violence.

“Gender-based violence is not only counter-productive but also an infringement on human rights,” Lindemann said.

She said GIZ Malawi had a gender strategy premised on promoting gender equality.

She cited sexual harassment policies and child safeguarding principles as some of the tools for ending GBV cases.

The global theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against GBV is ‘Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!’

However, the localised theme for Malawi is ‘Orange Malawi: End Violence against Women and Girls, Act Now!’

It is an annual international campaign that kicked off on November 25, set aside as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10.

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