The launching of the 16 days of activism against violence on women and children campaign is a clear indication that government does not condone gender based violence (GBV), says the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Edwin Batshu.
Mr Batshu said President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama indicated in the State-of-the-Nation Address that government was developing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to combat GBV.
"Government has reviewed laws aimed at protecting women and girls against all forms of violence. Penalties for rape and other offences have been reviewed and by this, we want to send a clear message to all perpetrators that their behavior will not be tolerated from," he said.
Minister Batshu said government also issued an annual subvention of P30 million to Botswana council for the disabled to support NGOs. This, he said, followed the 2012 GBV indicator study which revealed 67 per cent prevalence rate of violated women and 44 per cent of men as perpetrators.
He noted that his ministry, which was responsible for gender and development, sought to promote gender equality and the rights of women in Botswana.
Mr Batshu said government also recognised the need for inclusion of women with disabilities for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms as set out in the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Furthermore, the minister said the government had provided facilities such as Cheshire foundation, Rankoromane where people with all types of disability are provided with technical and vocational skills.
For his part, the USAID Country representative, Mr Blake Crystal said GBV was a global pandemic as it affected both the developed and under developed countries.
He said acts of violence could be stamped out through education, empowerment, equality, justice and security and acknowledged that just like the USA the government of Botswana recognises the problem at the highest levels, and was taking important steps to address it.
Mr Crystal said for that reason his government was committed to assisting Botswana to expand comprehensive, equality GBV services to survivors, increase awareness, and assist in implementing surveillance and monitoring systems to track GBV events.
He said above all, women need to be consulted equally with men on needs and solutions and empowered in community decision making groups.