The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) have emphasised the need to take firm action against the persistent abuse of women on the African continent.
Rwanda hosted a two-day meeting of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians from East Africa sub-region on July 21-22, which focused on sharing information and best practices towards elimination of violence committed against African women.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the forum on Friday, Lindiwe Maseko, a member of CWP from South Africa called on African leaders and policy makers to be firmer in ensuring policy implementation measures that advocate for the empowerment and protection of gender.
“African women have suffered a lot from crazy, harmful African culture and traditional malpractices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and domestic violence among others. Together we must put an end to this,” she emphasised.
The Commonwealth Women Parliamentary (CWP) Association was formed to discuss ways to increase female representation in Parliament and work towards the mainstreaming of gender considerations in all Commonwealth Parliament Association (CPA) activities and programmes.
Maseko’s words were echoed by Donatille Mukabalisa, speaker of Rwanda parliament who emphasised the need to end the impunity that allows women rights violations to continue.
“We appreciate valuable initiatives carried out by the African nations to eradicate all forms of negative practices and discrimination that are harmful to women, but now is the time for stronger action,” she added.
Mukabalisa stated that violence against women has negative consequences to communities, nations and societies and if left unaddressed, they can pose serious threat to current and future generations.
Fifty-three countries are members of the Commonwealth spanning from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific.