The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, Soyata Maiga, declared Tuesday that gender-based violence has taken a criminal dimension in Northern Mali.
Maiga made the remark at the ongoing 53rd Ordinary Session of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi, Gambia.
According to Maiga, the MUJAO terrorists and other jihadist movements had imposed Islam on the population in Northern Mali, where women are subjected to public beatings, gang rape, and stoning of unmarried couples found to be in love with each other.
The session, from 9-23 April, 2013, Tuesday, through a panel discussion, discussed the plight of women in times of conflicts.
According to Maiga, the panel discussion was meant to share the concerns and needs of women in Mali, Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a view to preventing and protecting the women folk as well as participating in the ongoing peace negotiation efforts in those countries.
She urged the Malian, CAR and DRC governments to involve women in peace negotiation efforts, protect women’s rights and end impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence.
She also called on the three governments to provide the necessary financial resources for the economic, social and psychological support of women victims of rape and other forms of violence.
Maiga said member states of the African Union (AU) should accelerate the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa.
She challenged states to ratify the Maputo Protocol which will expedite efforts in ensuring the protection of women’s right through greater access to justice by providing judicial assistance and community legal services.