Rivers State Response Team Urges Communities To Shun Traditional Practices That Violates Human Rights
The Rivers State Response Team on Violence Against Women & Children have charged women and young girls in the State to rise up to the task and challenge the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other Harmful Traditional Practices (HTP) that negatively affect their physical and emotional well-being.
The Response Team also cautioned traditional institutions and community leaders to shun and abolish traditional/cultural practices that violates the fundamental human rights of citizens, especially women and children in their communities.
Coordinator, Rivers State Response Team on Violence Against Women & Children; and Chairman, Rivers Indigenous NGOs & Civil Society Network (RINGOCS), Tombari Dumka-Kote, gave the charge while speaking at a community sensitization meeting, to round-up activities to Mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence 2023, organized by Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre with support from Grassroots International, in collaboration with OLEGH Centre for Community Development,
held at Rumuji Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Dumka-Kote while expressing shock, that despite the existence of FGM abolition law, the Prohibition of the Curtailment of Women’s Right to Share in Family Property Law and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) laws in the State the people of Rumuji and Rumuekpe in Emohua, and some other communities in the State are still neck-deep into these inhuman practices challenged the women to put an end to it, as women have always been the once leading in perpetrating this forms of violence that violate the rights of survivors.
‘We shall not hesitate to join efforts with you to curb this obnoxious practices wherever they exist, if you can only raise the alarm and let us know when the perpetrators are at their game again’, Dumka-kote stated.
He called on community leaders to always have respect for, and promote cultures that supports rights of women and children without which no community will exist.
In his speech, Henry Eferebo, Executive Director, OLEGH Centre for Community Development, said his organization is concerned about issues of HTP in the communities, and will continue to partner with other organizations that promotes the rights of women and girls in carrying out sensitization and public education programmes aimed at enlightening rural people on the laws that prohibits violence and harmful traditional practices.
On her part, Blessing Orijos, a survivor of Harmful Traditional Practice at Rumuekpe Community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, said female circumcision and denial of female children to share in family property is still in practice in Emohua.
Blessing who called for a change for the better in traditional practices by communities, stated that female children of even up to 15years where still forced to undergo the painful circumcision process. She lamented that after the death of her husband, his family denied her access to his properties and she and her children are denied farmlands by Rumuekpe people just because she gave birth to only female children.
Programme Officer at Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Linda Etitinwo said the programme themed: “Empowering Communities to Combat Gender Based Violence”, is part of activities lined up by her organization to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
According to Etitinwo, women and girls inrural areas suffer more from gender based violence and all forms of abuse due to ignorance of prohibition laws and what stands as their right as women.
She said the choice of Rumuji is influence by the core mandate of the organization to take every woman along irrespective of their been resident in the very hard to reach communities, especially as it concerns upholding the right of women to participate and take front row in decisions that affect them, as well as helping women get libation from harsh traditional and cultural practices that infringe on their rights.
Acting Head, Child Protection/Communications