Wednesday, April 24, 2024

United Nations boosts war against Gender-Based Violence in Vihiga

The war against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Vihiga County has received a boost from the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

The commission on February 16, donated a laptop, cell phone, furniture and a printer to the Gender Desk at Mbale Police Station in what it termed escalating access to justice in GBV cases.

The donation was delivered by Li Fung, Senior Human Rights Advisor in the office of the UN Resident Coordinator, office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

We are impressed by the trust and collaboration between the police and the community in the fight against Sexual and Gender-based Violence

UN Human Rights Commission’s Li Fung

According to Ms Li, the support was necessitated by the great commitment by stakeholders in the area put an end to the cases of GBV.

“We are impressed by the trust and collaboration between the police and the community in the fight against Sexual and Gender-based Violence,” said Li.

She noted that the commission has previously supported training and capacity building of the various stakeholders in the fight against the vice, with the donations coming in to scale up the work of the stakeholders.

Due to the sensitivity of the GBV cases, Li said the donations will now bridge the privacy gaps which have been witnessed before.

Privacy in reporting GBV cases

She noted that with the computer dedicated to documentation of GBV cases, privacy is improved as previously the officers shared the computer used by the other officers to report the other general cases.

“With the printer here, those reporting GBV cases will not need to go to the cyber cafes where their privacy may be compromised,” added Li, adding that he mobile handset will also help with follow-up of GBV cases.

We have four officers trained and working at the gender desk, and with this support we will have to train more so as to escalate service delivery

Vihiga Sub County Police Commander Joseph Muturi

Vihiga Sub County Police Commander Joseph Muturi noted that the support will make the gender desk vibrant, as lack of equipment has seen it remain in a lull for a long time.

“We have four officers trained and working at the gender desk, and with this support we will have to train more so as to escalate service delivery,” said Muturi.

“GBV is a huge challenge in this community and must be fought from all directions. I am glad that the collaboration between the various stakeholders is bearing fruits,” he added.

He called on stakeholders to help support provision of bedding at the gender centre, where survivors can be hosted during emergencies while their cases are being processed, in a bid to boost their protection.

Li Fung, Senior Human Rights Advisor in the office of the UN Resident Coordinator, office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights addresses stakeholders at Mbale Police Station when she delivered the donations. (PHOTO: Kevine Omollo, LRB)

The county Office of Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) noted that GBV cases form the largest number of prosecutions in the area, hence the support was timely.

ODPP County Manager Maurine Odumbe said case reporting is one of the critical stages in the fight against GBV.

“This is a huge step towards shedding off shame and fears which come with reporting GBV cases, and now we can expect more cases being reported due to the investments in the privacy and protection of those reporting the cases,” she said.

Stakeholder engagements

Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Network’s Betty Okero said the entity has been pushing for escalated stakeholder engagements and capacity building so as to avoid overlap, duplication and competition among stakeholders.

“The pathway for dealing with GBV cases is now clear, and we continuously utilize forums such as the Court Users Committees and Gender Technical Working Group to ensure that the cases are handled in a seamless manner,” she said.

Euphresher Ageyo and Tom Onzere who represented the Human Right Defenders in the area noted that the full operationalization of the gender desk was a huge sigh of relief to them.

“We do not take this support for granted as it is a huge boost to us who can now encourage the community to report these cases as we can guarantee their privacy,” said Ms Ageyo.

“We face a lot of challenges in the community when dealing with GBV cases and we appreciate the steps being made in this journey,” said Onzere.

Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email: komollo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke omollokevine@gmail.com

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